I just finished a number of posts about the mission of our new church, starting next year in Round Rock, Texas, north of Austin. Having done that, now I want to say why I believe mission statements are dangerous.
1. Mission statements are dangerous because they try to communicate succinctly the entirety of the Biblical commands for the church. However helpful it is to have a few memorable, overarching categories, every single word of Scripture is our authority, every sentence communicates something about our mission. Mission statements are dangerous if they lead us away from searching every Scripture for God’s Word to us, to be loved and obeyed.
2. Mission statements are dangerous because they often focus on what we are called to do, rather than on what God has already done. The most important work, and the most important truth for our church is not our future mission, but the past work of God to redeem and save us. It is Him, and not our mission, that should be our chief identity.
3. Mission statements are dangerous because they seem to always attempt uniqueness. But we are not particularly unique as a church, at least in the essentials of the faith. Neither in our own age nor in church history are we attempting something novel. We’re not trying to be different than all of our brothers and sisters but rather faithful to the historic witness of the church to the truth.
4. Missions statements are dangerous because they try to envision by soundbite what can only be sustained by endurance. Only ongoing, persistent, desperate relationship with God can sustain a church on mission. Soundbites are only effective for eternity if they reflect convictions grounded in eternal principles built on relationship with the eternal God.
Mission statements are great–they envision, clarify, prioritize. But mission statements are also dangerous. I pray any mission statements we use now or in the future fulfill their primary function of directing us toward God, His Word, His gospel.