The Mathetes Trust is available to work with churches who wish to define their mission and move forward with purpose. We can offer to meet with a group of church leaders, or sometimes with the whole church. Usually this will mean a half day meeting, or a couple of evenings.
First we encourage churches to write their own mission statement. This mission statement can then be displayed prominently – within the church building, on the website or the external noticeboard, and on all paper communications including service sheets.
Here is one example:
St James on the Hill
Making and multiplying Christian disciples
Learning to love God and love one another
Learning to live as Jesus lived
Learning to pray as Jesus prayed
Learning to minister to others in the power of the Spirit
Learning to proclaim the gospel in word and deed
This example has quite a lot of words, and maybe something shorter would be better. The important thing is that the mission statement should encapsulate the agreed core purpose of the church. They must contain verbs, because verbs indicate movement and direction.
Mission statements should not be written by the church leader acting alone, but after careful discussion with many people. We can help to facilitate this discussion. Beyond this we help churches to define short-term aims. We begin by offering fifteen possibilities. The group is asked to consider which of the following possible aims they would like to prioritise during the next year or so:
A church community where trust prevails and love flows
A church which is alive, full of the Holy Spirit
A church rooted and grounded in prayer
A church with an outstanding reputation in its community
A church with inspiring worship
A church with inspiring preaching
A church where spiritual gifts are recognised, developed and used
A church with a growing ministry to families
A church with a growing ministry to teens, singles, students
A church whose small groups deliver pastoral care, discipleship and evangelism
A church in which each person matters as an individual
A church which aims to grow, is welcoming and is mobilised for evangelism
A church in which high standards of discipleship are normal
A church with sound finances, good administration and facilities fit for purpose
A church which is concerned about the wider church and about mission to the world
Our observation is that all churches have all these aims, but that by and large most of them remain unrealised. What we suggest is that a church adopts one or maybe two of these aims in the short run, and then makes every effort to see that these few aims are realised. We show churches how to make this choice prayerfully and without conflict. We have found that even in a single session agreement can be reached quite quickly.
A short guide to vision-making in the local church
Once there is agreement about the broad aims which a church wishes to pursue, we can help turn this into a practical plan. We suggest that:
1. Someone (maybe the church leader, maybe not) is appointed to take the lead
2. The leader works with a small team of people who have time available
3. The team contacts everyone in the church, discusses the aim with them and seeks advice and ideas
4. The team produces a practical plan and puts it to the church council
5. The plan is implemented
After a year or so the church returns to the list of aims and chooses another one to work at.
We find that the process works better if you allow us to support you. To discuss the possibility, please contact us.