I can remember as a child both the excitement and reality of successive Apollo missions heading to the moon, together with the excitement and fiction of the Star Trek Series. It was from the latter that I first came across the concept of a mission statement. You may remember the words of Captain James Kirk at the beginning of each episode:
“Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the Starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds. To seek out new life and new civilizations. To boldly go where no man (sic) has gone before!”
Today, many companies have mission statements, I wonder if you can guess which company has the following (answers at the bottom):
- Give People the Power to Build Community
- To inspire and nurture the human spirit—one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time. (the US spelling may give a clue!)
- Organize the World’s Information
- To Be the Fastest Sports Brand in the World
- Accelerate the World’s Transition to Sustainable Energy
- To be our customers’ favorite place and way to eat and drink. (note US spelling!)
- To refresh the world in mind, body and spirit. To inspire moments of optimism and happiness through our brands and actions.
- We are a global movement of millions of people working together to end poverty.
- To act in the public interest, serving all audiences through the provision of impartial, high-quality and distinctive output and services which inform, educate and entertain.
- To provide care and services that we and our families would want to use
So what is a mission statement? Typically, it is a short statement giving an insight into an organisation’s purpose and goals. It can help an organisation to focus its work and can give a picture of the organisation to the wider world.
Many businesses have mission statements, which are a concept borrowed from the faith lexicon. The Acts of the Apostles gives a picture of the early church, including accounts of Paul’s three mission journeys around the Mediterranean, which are themselves a partial response to Jesus’ mission-focused great commission at the conclusion of Matthew’s Gospel:
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you.” Matthew 28. 18-20
There is no one ‘mission statement’ relating to Jesus, but the following are two contenders from the gospels:
“…for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost”. Luke 19.10
‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.’ Luke 4. 18-19
Which is all a way of explaining why over recent months, as the Elders have looked to the future of the church, we’ve considered again our mission statement. In this edition and in the months to come, there will be reports on shaping our future in five key areas as reported at our May Church Meeting:
- premises and grounds
- faith nurture
- church life
In this note I write to share some current and draft thinking on a potential future mission statement to guide our church lfie.
As Elders we looked at our existing Mission Statement which was produced as part of a Local Ministry and Mission Review in 2014/15, which is included below.
Whilst there is nothing that we would disagree with, we felt that it lacked a snappy, memorable feel, indeed no one could remember it! So, we agreed to look again, and have come up with some thoughts. I undertook to share them with you and to ask for the views of the fellowship. Looking at three possibilities below, I wonder which, if any, describe the calling Emmanuel has as a church? And, which may appeal to those on the edge of our church or in our neighbourhood?
- Communicating the love of God to everyone, or
- Sharing the love of God through word and action, or
- Loving God, Following Jesus, Serving neighbour
Please pass any feedback or thoughts to me or your Elder, including if you have your own suggestion for a mission statement. Meanwhile, look out for some statements of these being trialled in our church’s messaging.
We may not be able to go boldly anywhere this summer, but may you travel in faith, with hope, and knowing God’s love.
Our Mission Statement (agreed 2014/15)
The United Reformed Church stands in the mainstream of Christian doctrine and thinking in this country, with the local church being the focus of Christian life and worship.
Our faith is expressed through:
- Simply presented worship, dignified but relevant to today’s world
- A full, varied programme of activities within the fellowship to weld it together as an informed, happy family
- A lively concern for the community and world, shown in a rich diversity of caring and service.
Whether entry to the Church is as a baby at baptism, or as a young person in our Junior Church or Youth department, or as an adult coming to worship, each person is valued and loved for who they are and as a fellow pilgrim in Christian faith, and we try to live as one strong, worshipping serving community.
PS a note in the Pastorate profile for the ministerial vacancy added: This is our articulation of Jesus’ commission to go out in his name. We’re conscious that our statement needs updating, particularly with respect to our outreach via Messy Church Emmanuel that has become a major part of our church’s life.