Imagine your church without a mission statement.
Would your church continue to become more and more effective? Effective at what exactly? Without an objective a church wanders aimlessly. It has no criteria to help it make decisions, no way to say yes to one idea or no to another. It struggles to rally support, it’s members have difficulty describing what makes it such a great church.
A mission statement provides the purpose, it provides the focus and it provides parameters to keep the organization moving forward.
Now, imagine your message without a mission statement. Can your message, your weekly sermon, become more and more effective? Effective at what exactly?
I know what you’re thinking….what the heck is a message mission statement? But before we answer that, let’s look give sermon prep some context.
Most of the pastors I interview say that the thing they most enjoy about message preparation is the study of scripture. They love diving deep into scripture and uncovering something they had missed the previous 100 times they read it.
Unfortunately this personal journey can often then dictate what we preach. We uncover something we find fascinating and assume that’s what our audience needs to hear…when it’s more likely that what we uncovered is what we needed to hear/learn.
So, before we begin to write a given message we need to recalibrate our minds to move from personal study and discovery to the mind of a shepherd and leader.
As soon as we feel like we’ve completed our research for a message we can stop and finish this simple sentence:
"As a result of this message, my audience will…."
Before we begin to write our intro or any of our points, we must first decide where we are heading. What is our mission statement? Why are we taking time out of our day to prepare or asking people to come and listen?
It may help to understand what makes your local audience different.
- What does your local audience already understand about the scripture you are preaching on?
- How are they living out this part of their faith?
- How are they struggling with this part of their faith?
- If they aren’t sure they believe in Christ yet, how will they interpret your message?
- How do they begin to apply the biblical truth to their lives?
- What does it mean to follow Christ as it relates to your content?
Do your research. Stop. Then, ask what does my specific local audience need to hear? Then speak to that.
My home church’s mission statement is this: “Help people find and follow Jesus.” The question for each weekend service then becomes “How does this message help people find and follow Jesus?” If we can’t answer that question (clearly) we are probably wasting peoples time.
Question of the day:
What is the mission statement for this weekend's message?
As a result of this weekend's message, my audience will....