We have trouble focusing our church mission statement primarily because we’ve never focused on creating a personal mission statement for ourselves. Creating a personal mission statement defines your ultimate purpose, the piece of salvation, that you’re willing to stake your life on and shape your lifestyle around. Lifestyle adapts to personal mission; personal mission never adapts to lifestyle.
A personal mission statement is like a wedding vow. When you and your spouse repeat those words before God, you’re pledging yourselves to behave in certain ways, prioritize certain things, in sickness and health, for richer and poorer, and so on. You stop living just for yourself, and you live for the beloved. And in this case, the “beloved” are the spiritually yearning people for whom your heart bursts. These are the people who embody Christ. Seeing them is like seeing the face of Jesus. Touching them is like touching the wounds of Christ.
God took the grim reality of the fallen world personally, staking his life on redemption. Each Christian leader takes the grim reality of the suffering world personally, staking his or her life on the same mission.
Steps to Creating a Personal Mission Statement
Immerse yourself in reading the life of Jesus Christ. Get out of the house, the office, and your comfort zones, and observe life as it happens around you. Then answer these questions:
- Creating a Personal Mission Statement Step 1: What is the agony that I see? These are the special people whose particular brand of suffering moves you to tears.
- Creating a Personal Mission Statement Step 2: What is the blessing I yearn to give? This is the miracle of intervention that, if only you shared the power of God, would transform their lives.
- Creating a Personal Mission Statement Step 3: What is the image of hope? This is the mental picture of what happens when you, Christ, and those for whom your heart bursts all come together.
- Creating a Personal Mission Statement Step 4: How would I change my name? This is how your identity will be redefined because of that experience of hope.
The words that result from these four steps will be your personal mission statement. It’s the clarity of that statement that will make you a leader. This in turn will birth a church mission statement that brings vitality and purpose to its members.