What is it that makes an organization successful? Is it the amount of money they have in their bank account? Or the number of members that are in their database? What defines success and how is it evaluated?
A MISSION STATEMENT
A mission statement is a formal statement of an individual, company or organization that expresses their values and goals. Most companies, organizations, and churches have mission statements. But it takes more than just having them, especially when a statement can be written and then forgotten.
Some organizations are more successful than others. If we want to be effective, we should always be asking why that is. There are many ways to measure success, but I believe that all success is attributed to one thing, and that is whether or not there is a clear vision. This is not the same as having a mission. If the mission consists of the values, goals, and purpose that an organization exists, than the vision would be the blueprint or the roadmap of how they plan to get there. You can have the most elaborate mission statement and an impressive list of values, but without a clear outline of what you are trying to build and perhaps even a specific strategy on how to achieve the point of that mission, success is not possible. A vision is not a one and done event. It is a journey that has to be consistently revisited and revised, as the roads being traveled are unpredictable and often changing. The same methods that companies and churches used in the 90’s are not as likely to be effective in the same way today. With the advancement of the Internet and social media, marketing strategies and visions have had to adapt to the culture for them to remain relevant. We see these types of alterations in all of the top Fortune 100 and 500 Companies; business or ministry, that should tell us something.
Luke 14:28 says, “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it?" This applies figuratively regarding our committed decision to follow Christ, but makes logical sense as well. Think about building a new house. There first must be a finished blueprint of what the house will look like and how it needs to function, then details are added and the cost can then be estimated. We must be realistic in this kind of planning. Most of us can’t afford everything that we want, so our strategy should include an appropriate list of priorities in order of importance, that way the things that matter the most are not neglected before we start adding the less necessary things. The same is true for successful companies, organizations, and churches. They must know their mission, but they also have to have a detailed vision of how they will get there.
GOALS AND VALUES
Vision applies to us as individuals also. Most people have a set of goals and values that they feel define the course of their lives, but not everyone is fulfilling their life mission effectively, often times this is where hypocrisy flourishes. It is not enough to have a mission statement that presents what a person believes for their lives, there also needs to be a strategy of how to proactively fulfill these things. James 1:22 challenges the reader to not just listen to God’s word, but to also do what it says. Otherwise, we are just deceiving ourselves. The following verses give other examples, such as in verse 26, it says, “If anyone thinks he is religious without controlling his tongue, then his religion is useless and he deceives himself.”
LIVING OUT OUR PURPOSE
It is too easy to breeze through life and just get by with whatever happens. But I don’t want to live my life or serve in ministry in this way. I want to have a mission and do everything that I can to fulfill it. Some of us are not born visionaries, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t develop a vision and find a way to effectively live out our purpose!