At the end of 2016, our pastors invited us to take the lead on a new initiative. We were confident that by implementing this initiative, we could move the vision of the church forward in our region.
The initiative was to strengthen and build marriages within our church. We hoped to use the influence of Christ Fellowship to impact the marriage culture of our surrounding communities. After stepping into the opportunity, we quickly realized we needed to bring cohesion around all that was happening for marriages at that time.
There were several great marriage classes and programs available to the congregation. However, each operated in a silo, separate from the others. We believed the most important thing we could do was to align all the marriage opportunities around a joint mission.
Randle S. Hanson says, “a mission statement acts as an invisible hand that guides the people in the organization.” We knew that our mission statement would define the purpose of the ministry, build unity with all those who served in the ministry, provide clarity, and give us laser focus for all our ministry activities.
Here is the mission statement that we created for our ministry to married people: “To lead a radical transformation for Jesus Christ in our region and beyond, we create environments that strengthen and build healthy marriages.”
Looking back at the lessons learned from our process, here are three things to take into consideration when creating a mission for your married people ministry.
1. Make your mission statement motive-focused
A mission statement should clearly express the reason or motive behind the existence of your ministry. A mission statement isn’t a list that describes what you do. It’s a statement that declares the motivation or the “why,” behind what you do.
A key way to define your motivation is to identify your vision or goal for marriage ministry. Ask yourself: “What does the preferred future look like? What does the win look like?” From our mission statement, you can see our motivation is “To lead a radical transformation for Jesus Christ in our region and beyond.”
A second way to dial into your motivation is to look at your past wins. Where have you found forward motion and success? This could be an indicator of your unique ministry motivation and point toward your mission.
Lastly, look for ways that you are positioned to make a difference. Being uniquely graced to speak into a specific area of need can be a huge motivation for a mission. When you answer the “why” question, you will begin to see the answers to the “how” questions more clearly.
2. Make your mission statement measurable
Be specific enough in your mission statement so that you can measure your successes and failures. If you refer back to our mission statement, creating environments is what we do. We determine the success of an environment by whether or not it strengthens and builds into a healthy marriage. This gives us a tool to ask, “How are we doing? Is this environment or experience working?”
One of our environments is our Prep 4 Marriage course. We know that couples who take a class like Prep 4 Marriage before they get married, will reduce their risk of divorce by 31%. For us, one of the measurements of success is the number of couples we graduate out of the course each year.
Another environment that we measure is groups. We know that biblical community is critical to having a healthy marriage. So, gauging the number of couples in group life, as well as the number of new groups launched, will give us an indication of how we are doing at fulfilling our mission.
3. Make your mission statement memorable
Your mission statement should be stated in as few words as possible. Try to keep it to one sentence. This will help it to be easy to teach to others. People should be able to remember it! Your mission statement is the map that provides a path to follow.
If you can’t remember the mission, it will be pretty easy to drift off course.
Make sure that you are clearly articulating your mission whenever possible to your leaders and members of the ministry. A good rule of thumb is that when you start getting sick and tired of hearing yourself saying the mission, people are just then beginning to listen to you.
It’s so easy to lose sight of your mission. Post your mission statement on the walls around your ministry area or offices as a visual reminder.
4. Don’t Re-invent the Wheel
If your church already has a mission statement, you should leverage it instead of trying to create something new. Our church has a very clear mission to lead a radical transformation for Jesus Christ in our region and beyond. Everyone, Everyday, Everywhere. (Our language for the church is every person, living out their calling every day, everywhere they go).
This mission has been fundamental in the forward movement for the church. It has given us a consistent framework for growth and expansion. As we started thinking about the mission for the ministry to married people, it was evident that we needed to align to the mission of the church. There is power in a unified purpose.
The more that you can align with the mission and vision of your church, the more effective you will be.
Does your marriage ministry have a mission statement? What is it?
James and Lisa Duvall serve on the leadership team at Christ Fellowship Church, a multi-site church in South Florida. James is the Executive Director of ministries, and Lisa leads in strategic development and Sisterhood, the church’s ministry to women. James and Lisa have been married for 26 years and have three kids and a pit bull.
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