Saddleback’s purpose statement has been quietly guiding much of our decision-making for nearly three decades. Our purpose statement is:
To bring people to Jesus and membership in his family, develop them to Christlike maturity, and equip them for their ministry in the church and their life mission in the world in order to magnify God’s name.
That statement captures the five purposes God has given the church. Though the five purposes are the same for every church, each church must decide how to articulate those purposes in a way that shapes the culture of the church, but there are at least three characteristics of an effective purpose statement.
1. It is stated in terms of results instead of activities. The church shouldn’t be defined or driven merely by activities or functions. Instead, we’re to be driven by our intended product – changed lives! We are in the business of developing disciples, so we state our purpose in terms that can be measured for effectiveness.
2. It is stated in a way that encourages participation. It’s something everyone can be involved in. Within those five purposes, and among the many different ministries that flow out of them, there is room for people with every shape to find a ministry and to take ownership of the mission.
3. It is arranged into a sequential process. You can see the natural progression as you read through the statement. Our entire process for disciple-making is formed around that progression. We want to bring people into membership, then build them up to maturity, then train them for ministry, and then send them out on their life mission in the world.
I’m a collector of purpose statements and I love to learn from other churches. How does your church articulate your purpose? Share it in the comments below.