Years ago when I first heard these words I was confused. What's the difference? Why do we need them? What's their purpose? Are they that important? Well I wasn't the only one who had these thoughts. It wasn't long before a big dump truck of books was delievered to our doorstep telling us the answers to our questions. The problem was, none of them agreed with each other. Honestly, I've refereed more fights about what the definition of vision and mission is than what the actual vision and mission statements said.
So why do we need a vision and mission statement? It wasn't that long ago that we as an American people were a focused group of hard working individuals that worked together to make a better life for ourselves. We knew what we wanted and we knew how to get it. But things begin to change. As we achieved these goals we begin to ask, "What's next?" Children grew up and said, "There has to be more!!" Our world began to get bigger with the introduction of the internet and better communications systems. Hard work, while appreciated, wasn't the key to success, smart work was. With the introduction of this, and much more, we began to lose focus. People didn't know why they were doing what they were doing. With that lose of focus came a lose of success and personal satisfaction.
Churches were no different. Unfocused leadership developed unfocused churches. It use to be that a churches vision and mission was standard across most denominations and fellowships. Get them saved and keep them saved. A standard staple of spiritual life was the norm for the Christian family and people grew in their relationship with Jesus. But as times changed so did the peoples needs. The old general practitioner doctor who took care of everything yielded to the specialist physician who did just one or two things well.
Simply put, a vision and mission statement tells us:
What we are suppose to be doing.
How we are suppose to be doing it.
and what success looks like.
Can you sit down and in 5 minutes write out the answer those three questions? After doing so can you say that this is exactly what God wants you to be doing right now? Now examine your life and ask yourself if you what you are living everyday is fulfilling what you wrote down? You can learn a lot about yourself by doing this. Give it a try.