Mission Statement: We are a family sharing love and care where all are welcome as Christ has welcomed us.
This is the 2020 mission statement our congregation voted on at our annual meeting last month. And I have to say, it was such a joy to work on this project with our church.
We last updated our Strategic Action Plan, which includes our mission, vision, core values, and goals statements last in 2016. And at that time, the update made was very minor. We had generally just looked at a few grammatical things, but otherwise we kept it mostly the same.
As we moved into 2019, our church council last year agreed 2020 would be a great year to update our action plan. So we began to get to work.
In September of this year, I found myself asking for stories from our members and friends. “When have you experienced Bethany Lutheran being ‘church at it’s best?'” More than 30 members and friends responded with stories, phrases, feelings, and experiences they have had of our congregation.
And I got the very fun job of creating word clouds of the nouns, verbs, and adjectives that came out of those stories. With a guide from Non-Profit Hub we got going!
At our December Quarterly Visioning Meeting we got to drafting. Using our word cloud, our previous statements, and our conversations, the group gathered began to start throwing out ideas.
Drafting the Mission Statement
“A Place Where People Care”, the tagline our church has been using for the last decade was brought up a lot. It aptly describes the majority of the stories and experiences shared by our members and friends. And so it became the framework from which we started.
Place became family, because although we often congregate at our church, we are so much more than a building or location alone. Our members and friends meet together in and outside of our building, and are out in our community connecting too.
Soon care also grew into love and care, similar to our former statement but simplified.
Statement of Welcome
From the stories shared, the word “welcome” showed up in 23 out of 30.
One member brought up that our church is one where all really are welcome. Regardless of your race or ethnicity, your socioeconomic or job status, your gender identity or sexual orientation, your favorite NFL or high school football team, those gathered wanted to really lift up this welcome and care for all people.
It also just so happened that Romans 15:7 had just been in our Sunday readings recently. And so our last line for our mission statement appeared: “where all are welcome as Christ has welcomed us.”
It’s not a full welcome statement, but it’s a start.
Moving Forward in Mission
So what do we do now?
Well first, it’s getting the word about about the updated statement. And updating all of our materials.
Second, really finding ways to help our congregation to learn and live out our mission statement. Because the truth is, part of the problem with our former statement was that we rarely thought about it.
In fact, I couldn’t find any one in our church who knew what our mission statement was without going and finding it on a poster or in a bulletin.
And so that’s a big piece for us moving forward, is incorporating this statement into our regular church life.
But third is to actually live it out. To live out being a family of God together, who share love and care with one another and with our community, to welcome all as Christ has welcomed and accepted us.
And that’s a big mission, but it’s one I’m looking forward to living out together.