Does Your Ministry Know its Mission?

Have you ever had one of those moments where you completely forgot someone's name? You can remember all sorts of other things about them, but you can't remember their name. Recently, I was in a meeting with clients and we were discussing their mission. We were talking about all the things related to mission, but not the mission itself. The team could describe all kinds of things that had happened within the organization, their hopes and dreams, stories of transformation, but not the mission. Like forgetting a person's name, but remembering everything else about them, the team could not name what the mission was. Even with a good sense of the culture and the fact that they wanted to be about transformation, there still wasn't a unified mission that they could articulate.

This happens often in organizations when it comes to their direction or what many call, their mission. The mission within the ministry is often combined with a unique calling that God has put on the heart. As a church, mission comes down to evangelism and discipleship, almost always derived from Matthew 28. For many nonprofits, the ultimate goal is to be a transformative agent and to make an impact in the world. So, how do you figure out your mission?  Well, it takes time and isn't a one size fits all, but here are some things to evaluate and work on as you navigate creating focus in the direction of your organization.


There’s a difference between a personal calling and the mission of an organization. A personal calling on someone's life is very unique to them. But the mission of an organization needs to be owned and shared by multiple people in order for growth and progress to be seen. This means a shared vision, shared mission, shared culture, shared values, and ultimately shared purpose are critical.


You need to accept that not everyone is heading the same direction that you are. Your job is to bring those who are heading in the same direction together so that a movement can be formed. It’s also your job to take those who don't share in that and do one of two things: either mentor them into a place where they change direction or graciously find a place for them to fit somewhere else. At the end of the day, your job needs to revolve around the direction of your organization and the people around you will make the future a reality.


Aim for clarity. Brene Brown once said, "Clarity is kindness" and it's true. Make things easy for people to remember, including yourself. Conceptual and vague conversations are common in a senior leadership setting, but for people to follow you, all of those big ideas have to be packaged into something that is concise, easy to remember, and inspirational. Don’t just take our word for it. Ask your team members what your ministry’s mission is. Not just your right-hand men, but your volunteers and administrative staff. Don’t let the answers scare you. Let them push you into to creating a clear mission statement your team can celebrate.