Advertisement

Commonsense Christianity

Commonsense Christianity

Your Christian Mission Statement

Ideally, a mission statement gives a clear idea about what a person, or business, is or does. The Christmas List by Steve Henderson Fine Art.

Have you noticed how everyone has a mission statement these days?

Ironically, the central term (mission) has been applied for years by for-profit corporations, who have statements that look like this:

Advertisement

“Our passion and goal is to provide quality products and services to our valued clientele, resulting in a climate of advancement and fostering a sense of worthiness in an intimate global environment.”

If it doesn’t make sense, that’s okay, because most corporate mission statements — which have been rapidly adopted and adapted by healthcare facilities, educational establishments, and government entities — simply mask the true intent:

“Our goal is to make as much money as we can, period.”

That doesn’t sound as good. But it’s much shorter.

Churches Join the Crowd

Many small businesses that sell an actual product — like the local independently owned toy store — or provide a verifiable service — housecleaning, or cabinet construction — don’t have long, convoluted corporate statements, because their actions justify who and what they are. The further away a business gets from the people it serves, the more managers and middle managers and minions stuck away in cubicles, the more necessary it is to come up with that mission statement.

Advertisement

Churches really do have an opportunity — and an obligation — to walk a different path. Catching the Breeze, licensed open edition print by Steve Henderson

And increasingly, churches are joining the crowd. Mega-Christian corporations, the ones who run calling centers and employ people in cubicles to answer phones and dispense ministry products, have been doing this for a long time (“We are committed to the advancement and education of promulgating the Christian ministry and lifestyle to the family unit and the community at large”), but — pressured by their peers — every church on the corner and mid-block is coming up with something along the lines of:

Advertisement

“Our purposeful motivation is the intentional growth of strong, vibrant disciples, who form a Christian community of passion and spiritual zeal.”

Looks Like a Duck, or a Business, to Me

Accompanying business cards, corporate logos, newsletters, regular elder board meetings (the word “elder” is in the Bible, but where did the term “board,” as in “chairman of the” or “stockholders” come from? Want to guess?), and small group inoculation meetings complete the comparison to the corporate world — we even use the terms, “corporate worship” or “corporate prayer.” Just this morning, I coined the word “pew-bicle,” as a Christianized version of “cubicle,” but as the Norwegian Artist pointed out, it sounds too much like . . . cubic.

Advertisement

Years ago we attended a church whose pastor had a personal motto of, “Whatever it takes,” which is pretty broad-based and easily misunderstood, but because it was a small church and he interacted closely with its members, most of us laughed and moved on with our daily lives. It mattered less of what he said as what he did, and I’ll never forget his organizing a moving party for us in June, when every single rental truck was hired out to college students. He and three other men with big masculine vehicles showed up at our doorstep and told me to tell them what they needed to do.

“It’s chaotic,” I warned.

“Whatever it takes,” the man with the motto flashed back, with a smile.

Efficiency versus Conviviality

Advertisement

He was human, so he wasn’t perfect, but under his aegis we enjoyed an informal, chaotic period of potlucks, ad hoc get togethers of families outside of church hours, and one of the oddest “greeting” periods we have ever experienced in a church: mid-service, everyone surged out of their seats and circulated around — chatting, jabbering, connecting — until at some point we decided we’d better sit down and finish the morning’s work.

Under new administration, this latter was the first to go, and the worship service was streamlined into a model of crisp, coordinated, and structured efficiency. We hung on for as long as we could; I’m not sure if it were the PowerPoint presentations that broke us, or the many times we shivered in the stair hallway, talking with the one or two other reprobates who didn’t participate in Sunday School. (The “fellowship hall” was closed off and closed up.)

Advertisement

But by golly, there was a proper mission statement drafted.

The Only Mission Statement You Need

As Christians, we don’t need to copy the world of commerce, and as far as mission statements, we’ve already been given two:

“Love the Lord God with all of your heart, soul, and mind,”

and

“Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Thank you for joining me, and please consider subscribing to Commonsense Christianity for three-times-weekly updates (subscription button is at the top right of the menu bar, above Categories). You may (or may not) enjoy previous posts similar to this subject:

Unchurched, or Church Free?

Advertisement

Christian Leadership and Ordinary People

Eliminating Creativity

Previous Posts

Three "Christian" Teachings That Jesus Didn't Teach
"For the time is coming when people will not put up with sound doctrine . . . and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander away to myths." 2 Timothy 4:3-4 This week's assault on Facebook is 2 Timothy 4:3-4, with assorted memes ...

posted 11:45:01am Aug. 27, 2015 | read full post »

How Come God Never Speaks Directly to You?
"Then the voice said to him, 'What are you doing here, Elijah?'" 1 Kings 19:13 I'm sure many of you have had the experience of someone accosting you and announcing, [caption id="attachment_1803" align="alignleft" width="351"] Frequently, ...

posted 11:30:31am Aug. 21, 2015 | read full post »

Does Jesus Get Mad When We Complain?
"Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you." 1 Peter 5:7 Some of the most insensitive sayings, passed on via social media memes, are posted by people who call themselves Christians. There is a lamentable desire to encapsulate ...

posted 1:51:31pm Aug. 19, 2015 | read full post »

When Christian Leaders Say, "Jump!" Do We Leap?
"If any of you is lacking in wisdom, ask God, who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and it will be given you." James 1:5 For many years, my literary junk food was celebrity people magazines. Once every two weeks I headed to the ...

posted 12:51:02pm Aug. 14, 2015 | read full post »

How to Recognize a False Prophet
"Many false prophets will appear and deceive many people." (Matthew 24:11) Recently I ran across a blog from a mega-pastor who was refuting the teachings of another mega-pastor. Mega-Pastor B had some decent things to say about grace, mercy, ...

posted 1:41:02pm Aug. 07, 2015 | read full post »

Advertisement


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.