Seth Godin recently wrote on his blog a post entitled “What if your slogan is true?”. In it he writes:
Slogans never change anything…. Underneath the slogan, perhaps, is a story…. A slogan might be evidence that you have a story, but it isn’t a story. A story is something you live and connect with and come back again and again and again… So sure, start with a slogan. But don’t bother wasting any time on it if you’re merely going for catchy. Aim for true instead.
Several years ago, mission statements were all the rage for churches, corporations, and even for individuals. There were seminars, books, courses, and gurus all geared to help you develop the ideal mission statement. The noise and clamor surrounding mission statements has certainly settled down. This is not because we don’t still create them, they have just become ubiquitous. We expect them and most of us have one or more in our lives.
As churches, we have a mission statement. (Pop quiz: can you recite yours without looking it up?) But, the real question is, does it line up with reality. We preach that our words and our actions should match up. Is that true for our mission and purpose in our local church. It should be. What we say we are about is what we should be about. If we go so far as to call something our “mission” then everything we do, every decision, every event, every communication, every promotion should somehow strive to achieve that mission.
As Seth so succinctly put it, “Aim for true…”. Cute, catchy, and pithy make us feel good and smart, but they are meaningless if we aren’t living up to them. Worse yet, they actually hurt our credibility and the credibility of the Kingdom of God when we make statements about our purpose being to reach the hurting and welcome everyone and love people, yet our actions our exclusive, inward focused, judgmental, and elitist.
Of course, these are broad general statements, but they point to the need to be authentic. We must live what we say, not just in our personal lives, but in our corporate life as a local congregation and as the church as a whole.
Oh that our mission statements would be true and we lived them out. The world would be a different place.
What do you think?