Just a Youth Ministry Geek!

Conversations about modern youth ministry

Purpose Statements March 3, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dj @ 3:01 pm

Many will remember back in the 90’s when the big “Purpose Driven Church” movements came into existence. At the time I was a clueless 15 year old who just kind of went along with it all, but I did remember that we were challenged by our youth pastor to memorize our “Mission Statement”. In fact, we were expected to know it at a moments notice and could even win $1 if we asked a leader to recite it and they didn’t know it.

I never did memorize it…it was like a paragraph long. But I DO remember the key words: Reach, Connect, Grow and Discover! I never read Purpose Driven Church or Purpose Driven Youth Ministry. I guess I just dislike program oriented churches.

Yesterday I had the opportunity to meet with some individuals that I know and trust and laid out all the challenges that we are facing in our student ministry. I drove home with the conclusion that we just flat out lack a vision.

Vision is different than a purpose statement.

Vision is a matter of the heart.
Purpose is a product of the mind.

You can have the greatest purpose statement in the world that is short, quick, easy to memorize and even say a lot about your organization, but if it lacks vision it’s just a lot of words on paper. Vision is what drives people, not purpose. Let me give an example from a mission statement I found (and actually happen to like):

” Youth Ministry is a church wide ministry which strives to provide a variety of opportunities and experiences to draw teens into active, responsible participation in the life, mission and work of the faith community and the greater church.”

I like this because it has vision! You can sense that the person(s) who wrote this, had a wide view of what a church ministry should look like. Two years ago, I had a vision. Today it’s been twisted and misguided into every day pressures and influences. I would like to make a stop to that and regain the vision I once had.

So now I need a vision.

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2 Responses to “Purpose Statements”

  1. jeremy zach Says:

    Great distinction. I have heard the words of: Mission, purpose, and vision statement all grouped together. However each stand for a specific trajectory.

    Vision should reflect the pulse and heart of the ministry while the mission instructs how the vision will be accomplished.

  2. David Says:

    Very thoughtful and encouraging. I am also not a huge fan of program orientation, but am in a youth administration class right now in which I must learn program orientated ministry. Programs are not the enemy if they are just tools, but in order to be effect we always need to be clear about why we do what we do.


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