Why You Need A Mission Statement

what is your mission question - chalk handwriting on blackboard

Six steps to writing yours!

Pastor Matt Anderson


I recently asked Geraldine, a member of our congregation from Cameroon, to compare American life with that of her native country.


Back home, she told me, people have time to live slowly, help each other out, play games, rest, pray, laugh, and lead more fulfilled lives. But here, we live at a frantic pace and don’t even know our neighbors. Always in a rush, we overfill our calendars, budgets and bellies, and we multitask every moment while multiplying stress.


“I don’t know how you do it,” Geraldine preached. “I solute you for being able to live here.”


The solution to busyness and overload, however, isn’t simply to avoid doing things. We can’t merely guilt people into working less, turning off their screens, or to stop wasting time.  The problem goes deeper than that. You can’t eliminate busyness by saying “no” to things, until we find something to say “yes” to.


In other words, the secret sauce to breaking busyness is mission.  


At our deepest core, we were created for specific good works (Eph 2 8-10), which means that each of us was hardwired with a mission. Human beings in our culture will flounder from one fruitless activity to another until we identify the specific things that we were created and gifted to do.  We need a centerpoint, a gravitational hub around which the 86,400 seconds of each day can orbit with meaning and purpose. We need a mission like the Earth needs the sun.  And by mission, I don’t mean some generic, internal ambition to accomplish things, but an actual, carefully articulated statement that keeps our life on course.  We need a mission statement.


To illustrate, Google’s mission statement is to “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”  Unless you live in a cave, you’ve noticed the uncluttered appeal of Google’s homepage. Just a search bar, with no clutter, ads, apps, news, articles, or links. Why? Because organized information, not flair, is their mission.


Contrast that with msn.com, a page packed with noise. In the book Simple Church, Reiner and Geiger assert that companies like MSN simply can’t simplify, because they’ve committed their space and resources to various factions and interest groups, each of which aim to keep or expand their space on the page. Many companies and individuals spread themselves too thin to be able to simplify around a mission (I couldn’t even find a mission statement for MSN, by the way). Realizing this, msn.com endeavored in 2014 to redesign their webpage in order to make it simpler. You decide how they did. (msn.com)


In Matthew 28, Jesus sends His followers out with a simple mission—to enable the world to re-discover and follow its Creator. Yet many churches and individual Christians look more like MSN than Google, overloaded and overextended by competing priorities to the point that this mission has been replace by survival.


This is normal in our culture. But with some effort, it’s completely reversible.  Here are six simple steps you can take to write a mission statement worth living for:

  1. Identify your God-given passions. What cause or people group do you uniquely connect with or care about?  This should include the people you live and work with, but may also relate to homelessness, single parents, abuse, an ethnic group, or a neighborhood. What cause could get you out of bed in the morning if you could somehow apply God’s Good News there? At Surprise, we have our people take a “Passions Audit” in order to help in this area, but it also helps to engage in journaling reflection and candid conversation with someone you trust.
  1. Identify how you are uniquely gifted to serve.  What specific abilities and strengths can God use to impact the above cause? When you engage in these activities, it feels easy and time flies by. You’re energized when you finish. They don’t deplete you, because you were made to do them.
  1. Partner up.  Don’t try to go it alone. Your gifts were meant to operate in tandem with differently-gifted people, with whom you can band together for impact. So you’ll need people around you who share your passions and compliment your gifts. In our congregation, we’re forming “missional communities,” comprised of people who covenant to do life together and engage a specific cause. So find a local church or non-profit that can help you develop personally, build a team, and keep you focused.
  1. Write a mission statement. Now the fun begins. Put pen to paper to write a 140-character or less mission that you can get excited about.  Don’t use fluff language, and don’t include something that would please someone else but mean little to you. Ruthlessly stick to what makes you tick and gets your juices flowing.  As a simple formula, focus on 1) what you aim to do or accomplish in life 2) for whom, and 3) how.  

Here’s what I came up with:


To celebrate Jesus’ victory with my family, church, and community through creative leadership, gracious speech, and a repentant heart.

  1. Share your mission statement.  Private mission statements are useless. You need to tell people what you’re about so that they can know your priorities, cheer you on, or maybe even partner with you. Memorize it, talk about it, and write it down for future reference. Put it on your fridge, mirror, dashboard, and shower door. Think and pray about it often, asking God to make it happen! This is contagious, by the way. You’ll probably inspire others to do the same thing!
  1. Finally, start using your mission statement. Begin filtering your decisions and priorities through your statement like it’s a salad strainer. Let your budget, calendar, and relationships begin to reflect your mission. You’ll still be “busy,” but not too busy to revolve your 86,400 seconds around what matters most.   

I challenge you to write your own mission statement. Have fun, think deeply, tweak it whenever you need to, and share it with people who matter to you.  Feel free to post your statement below or Surprise’s Facebook page.  


Did you hear that?  It was the sound of mission, breaking busyness into a thousand pieces.