There has been a lot of energy giving to the idea that an organization needs a clear mission statement. Tons of books and tons of speakers encourage this.
Where I got confused was when someone would talk about a vision statement. “Isn’t that the same as a mission statement?” I thought to myself. I thought the terms vision statement and mission statement were interchangeable.
I discovered I was wrong. My ministry needs both a clear vision statement and a clear mission statement.
But what’s the difference?
As Proverbs 29:18 states, “Without vision, the people will perish.” The same is true of your ministry organization. The vision is all about what could and should happen in an ideal world. For instance, the vision statement of REAL Ministry is “to see every church receive quality tools and resources to support their leaders in effectively inviting all people to a deeper relationship with Christ and to committed discipleship.”
This is the ideal. Is REAL Ministry going to accomplish this totally on its own? No. In fact, it is impossible. So why have a vision if one cannot achieve it?
It’s the mountaintop that we aim for. But just like a climber cannot reach the summit of Mt. Everest on her own, a ministry cannot accomplish a vision on its own. However, your ministry is part of the team that helps that vision become a reality. You can only seize what you can see. And to see it, you have to name it.
And let’s be honest, people get excited about a vision that they can see. Vision motivates people and keeps people moving towards that summit. A clear vision also serves the purpose of seeing who else in your community you can partner with because they may have a similar vision.
Mission is different. Mission is naming what your ministry organization will specifically do to help reach that vision. The vision is the lofty dream. The mission is the work you and your people do to make that vision a reality. For instance, the mission statement for REAL Ministry is “to equip and empower church leadership to grow their ministry to its maximum potential.
A mission statement should be short, easy to memorize, and something that is rooted in reality with the resources you have available to you. Like the vision statement, the mission statement also motivates and inspires people to jump on board and help propel your ministry organization forward.
Question: What is your vision and mission statement? How does it energize you and your team?