March 18, 2009
I recently heard a consultant describe a parish mission statement in a way that I found helpful. A Mission Statement is supposed to express the core identity of a congregation as an “articulation of a promise of a particular or unique experience you will have as a member of this congregation.” A mission statement, she said, will change rarely. A vision statement, by contrast is more future oriented and will represent audacity and something of a ‘stretch’ for the congregation. It is evolving and organic. While it became clear that this workshop leader favored short and pithy mission statements of the kind that I and we tend to mistrust or find unhelpful, her definition put me in mind of what we say about ourselves on our website and elsewhere.
Here it is:
All Saints' Atlanta is a progressive Christian congregation in the heart of midtown Atlanta, marked by:
• Lively worship with great music and timely preaching
• Concern with meaning and integrity in coherent Christian faith
• Passionate spirituality marked by a concern for justice for all people
• Relationship-based ministries with local, global and international reach
• Communities of mutual concern in which every person may know others and be known for who they are in Christ
• An eye to the future in our stewardship of all that has been entrusted to our care.
We profess that the way of abundant life is found in choosing to follow Jesus with all that we are and all that we have, in freedom using all the resources of this community in pursuit of our spiritual growth, giving generously of ourselves and our wealth, and inviting others to share in what we enjoy.
We seek to serve our immediate neighbors in residences, businesses and in our nearby universities as:
• An oasis and place of hospitality in the midst of a great city
• A university of faith for all who seek a deeper knowledge of God.
How does this stand up to the definition of a mission statement? What do you think? What would you add or subtract in order to see it as an articulation of a particular or unique experience you will have as a member of this congregation?