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When to Change Your Church’s Mission Statement

4. When you have discovered your Kingdom Concept and can be more contextual with your language.

We have worked with churches that have good statements of mission that become less meaningful on the backside of our Kingdom Concept discovery work at Auxano. The Kingdom Concept is a tool we use to further discern your church’s unique strength by examining more thoughtfully, the unique place the church is located (local predicament) the unique people God has gathered (collective potential) and the unique passion of the leadership team(apostolic spirit). It answers the question, “What can your church do better than 10,000 others?” Church leaders love to refresh their mission after this experience.

EXAMPLE: The Elders at Northwest Bible Church, led by Neil Tomba, were excited to land the plane on their Kingdom Concept, that unpacked how the church was called to “Make Jesus real in a make-believe world.” They discussed how their local area is filled with worldly and religious pretense. They discussed their passion to embrace and reinterpret brokenness. Afterwards, their existing mission, albeit good, didn’t feel great. It was, “Equipping people to passionately pursue Christ to do whatever he asks of us in the world.” Now their mission is “Inviting people into the unexpected joy of desperate dependance on Jesus.” Can you feel the difference?

5. When you borrowed the language of another church model to get started and now you have “grown up.”

Yes, many great leaders planted churches in the ’80s, ’90s and ’00s by looking to great models like Willow Creek, Saddleback, NorthPoint, LifeChurch.tv, to name a few. These model churches also created vocabulary that leaders were inspired to adopt. This borrowing of language works fine in the early years. The problem is, God is always doing something unique and new. That means at some point in the church’s history and the leader’s core, a hunger emerges to express that something new; that something one-of-a-kind that God is doing. If this is happening, you should name it by re-articulating your mission.

EXAMPLE: David Saathoff at Bandera Road City Church has seen God do amazing things at their church in San Antonio. In the early days, David was proud to take many cues from Bill Hybels. In fact, BRCC was a poster child seeker church. The church’s mission in its first chapter of ministry was, “Helping people far from God become fully devoted followers of Christ.” The mission was meaningful and strong in the beginning. But a leader always knows where they get their words. David never forgot that his words were really articulated from the heart of Bill Hybels, not his own. Later, through the Vision Pathway, David would find the perfect words for what God was doing uniquely through the people of BRCC. Today their mission is, “Helping people far from God be catalysts of spiritual and social change.”

6. When you are reinventing or reinvigorating a declining church.

If the mission isn’t happening, it isn’t happening. I don’t think I have ever seen a turn-around without some new leadership or leadership tools in place. Remember, the most fundamental tool of leadership is the statement of mission. It answers question zero: the question before all other questions. There are simply times where you need a re-statement to be a part of a congregational reboot.

EXAMPLE: Years ago Crozet BaptistCchurch realized life wasn’t going to get better as a congregation unless they started focusing outward. With 25 deacons in the room. we set out to re-articulate their mission. With many different opinions in the room, there was one thing they could agree on: their town was located in the fastest growing county in the state, and they would see unprecedented opportunity to reach people in  the church’s 100-plus-year history. At the end of the Vision Pathway, they had a brand new day of clarity starting with the mission to encourage people in our ever-expanding community to follow Christ with ever-increasing passion.   

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willmancini@churchleaders.com'
Will Mancini emerged from the trenches of local church leadership to found Auxano, a first-of-kind consulting ministry that focuses on vision clarity. As a “clarity evangelist,” Will has served as vision architect for hundreds of churches across the country, including such notable pastors as Chuck Swindoll and Max Lucado. Will holds a Th.M. in Pastoral Leadership from Dallas Theological Seminary and has authored Church Unique: How Missional Leaders Cast Vision, Capture Culture and Create Movement; he also co-authored Building Leaders with Aubrey Malphurs.