Statements: Mission vs. Vision vs. Action

Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keeps the law, happy is he. (Prov. 29:18)

In addition to being a Worship Leader, I am an elder serving on the Session of our church. (For those that don't speak Presbyterian, Session = board of elders.) In addition to conducting the "business" of the church (which is not necessarily the same thing, but should always be in support of, "being about my Father's business,") we are currently working through the book Leadership Essentials by Ogedn and Meyer as part of our meetings.

On Friday evening the Session, together with the Board of Deacons, met to discuss chapter nine, on visionary leadership, in light of the church's current situation. One point that we kept coming back to was that there is a difference between Mission and Vision, which I don't think we'd understood before now.

Mission is a statement of your reason for being..."We exsist to bring others to Christ," for example...Vision is the embodyment of that mission: "We will intentionaly reach out to the families served by the gradeschool next door for Christ." There is also a difference between Vision and the action steps necessary to accomplish that vision. Continuing with the examples above, action steps might include tutoring or after school programs for the kids, or community meals x times a month, or hiring a youth pastor, or any other number of activities.

Looking at it this way, I now see that a mission statement, if it correctly identifies who we are, should change VERY infrequently. A vision statement may change more often, as folks envision new venues of ministry (say the school closes it's doors as the community ages, or a retirement home opens up 3 blocks away, etc..) but, as it changes it must still be framed in light of the stated mission (We're still trying to bring folks to Chirst, it may just be different folks than it was five years ago.) The action steps are the ones that will be the most fluid, as specific opportunities flow and ebb, but again, they must be framed against how they support the stated vision.

I'd ask that you lift up our congregation as we are in a time of discernment. We are in the process of more clearly stating our mission, defining a vision, and then determining what God would have us do to achieve the mission and vision He's given us.

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