As we continue to overview Rick Warren’s writings on the need for the church to be purpose driven, we see 4 characteristics of an effective purpose statement. If you have not read the last 2 blog entries, you should do so before reading this next entry.
1. It is specific - Purpose statements must be simple and clear. The biggest mistake churches make when developing a purpose statement is trying to cram too much into it. A narrow mission is a clear mission. Nothing becomes dynamic until it becomes specific. Ask these questions, “What are the very few things that will make the most difference for Jesus’ sake in our world? What can we do that only the church can do?”
2. It is transferable - A purpose statement that is transferable is short enough to be remembered and passed on by everyone in your church. The shorter, the better. Try to say it in a fresh creative way. Try to make it memorable. People remember simple statements such as JFK’s, “Ask not what your country can do for you, and what you can do for your country” and Martin Luther King Jr’s famous speech, “I have a dream.”
3. It is measurable - You must be able to look at your purpose statement and evaluate whether your church is doing it or not. If you can’t evaluate your church by your purpose statement, go back to the drawing board.
4. It is biblical - In Mathew 22:37-40, Jesus gives to us the Great Commandment. In Matthew 28:19-20, He gives us the Great Commandment. From these two passages we see the five purposes of the church as seen in the Bible. However we ultimately decide to state our purpose so that it is specific, transferable and measurable, it must include these elements:
- Love the Lord your God with all of your heart! (worship)
- Love your neighbor as yourself! (ministry)
- Go and make disciples! (evangelism)
- Baptizing them! (fellowship)
- Teaching them to obey! (discipleship)