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Why Your Church’s Mission Matters

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I’ve always appreciated a well-written mission statement.

Recently, as I was sitting in the whirlpool at the YMCA loosening up after a swim, I glanced up at the prominently posted rules of conduct and noticed the Y’s mission statement:

“The mission of the YMCA of Greater Indianapolis is to put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind, and body for all.”

I’m glad the Y is committed to that mission. It’s a good one. But, as I sat there and thought more about it I realized that the mission could just as easily be adopted by any number of well-meaning congregations.

Think about it:

Programs.

Christian principles.

Healthy spirit, mind, and body.

Now, I have to clarify, there isn’t any church I know that has adopted mission statement like this and actually put it in print. But, in practice; well, that’s a different story.

Think about your church.

Lots of activities: camps, classes, small groups, fitness classes, golf outings, retreats, committees, and seminars. At each of these programs, Christian principles are taught: be honest, be a good parent, read your Bible, pray regularly, attend faithfully, help others, and grow spiritually. And, the result of all this activity and advice? Do the right thing. Be moral. Grow at a steady pace. And, make sure you stay on track.

I realize this is somewhat of a caricature. But, if we’re honest, we’ll admit that a lot of the frenetic activity that happens at church is really centered around making sure a bunch of people are relatively happy, relatively well-adjusted, and relatively knowledgeable, and that they keep attending on a fairly regular basis.

This is why your church’s mission matters:

Your church will be no different from the YMCA unless the transforming, saving power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is central to your mission.

The Gospel is the difference. But, it cannot just receive lip service. It must be the catalyst for each ministry the church undertakes. It must be the central element upon which all activity and teaching is focused. And it must be the end toward which everything points.

The Gospel of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection is the only thing that makes the church any different from the YMCA. Let’s keep it at the heart of all that we do and all that we are.

What about you?

Is your own mission focused upon proclaiming and living out the Gospel? What about your church? How are you contributing toward that end?