What is a perfect mission statement? And what makes it perfect? Answering those two questions is a basic requirement for successful Christian living. It’s easier to answer the first question if we understand the answer to the second.
Mission Statement: What Makes It Perfect?
Let’s build some logical steps. Is God perfect? And the answer is, Yes! He is holy and righteous in all His ways. Is His Word perfect? Again, the answer is, Yes! His Word abides forever and never returns to Him void but accomplishes what He sends it forth to do. And a perfect Heavenly Father cannot give gifts to His children that are less than perfect. We sometimes have difficulty with that one. But notice what James wrote:
Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.
And Jesus said in His Sermon on the Mount:
If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!
Cognitively we can quickly agree with the fact that our Father’s gifts are always perfect. But what about prayers that aren’t answered in our preferred way? Did God change? NO, He didn’t. He is still good and perfect but we don’t see the perfection of His answer. And that tends to frustrate self-focused children.
So a divine purpose statement would be perfect because it:
- Comes from our perfect Heavenly Father
- Is part of His enduring Word
- Comes to us as His gift!
Think about that last one. Jesus came so we might have life and have it more abundantly. How can we live an abundant life without purpose? Our Father loves us too much not to give us the gift of purpose! So how, when, and where did He give that gift?
Mission Statement: Perfection In Brevity
First things are important in Scripture. The first-born son had the birthright. When we see the first mention of a concept in Scripture we study and interpret the following occurrences in light of the first. Jesus is the first-born from the dead. He rose victorious over death. And this idea of first things can be applied to His purpose gift to us. In His first post-resurrection encounter with His disciples He gave them (and us) the gift of purpose. The apostle John recorded it:
So Jesus said to them again, Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.
Do you see it? Nine English words are His gift and our purpose: As the Father sent Me, I also send you. The scope is huge! It is so big that Jesus unwrapped it just a bit in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and Acts. But His first over-arching purpose statement was given on resurrection evening. Jesus’ clarifying statements each happened later.
And here is a short list of things that are part of God sending Jesus:
- If you have seen Me, you have seen the Father
- Jesus went about doing good
- Teaching was part of Jesus’ ministry
- Jesus made disciples
- An exemplary life of prayer
Each of these things (and many more) are to mark our lives. But I believe Jesus knew we’d have trouble with the scope of those nine words. So He made it even easier to grasp!
All the Law and the Prophets can be summed up in the Greatest Commandment and love your neighbor as yourself. Similarly, He gave us an easy-to-grasp purpose statement:
Jesus gave some clarification of His nine word purpose statement in Matthew: Make disciples of all nations… That is the imperative in His command. And it stems from His words in John. Jesus was a disciple maker. We are to make disciples. That requires teaching, leading others through life, and hands-on ministry opportunities. And these are all things Jesus did!
Perfect Mission Statement: Applies To All Roles
In the earlier posts we looked at the important roles in our lives. Being a disciple is primary. It is who and what we are. We are followers and imitators of Jesus. But what we do is to make other disciples. And this has huge implications for our lives, roles, relationships, and our mission!
If we love Jesus (worship) then we honor Him by appropriate actions (make disciples). Husbands and wives ought to have the goal of making their spouses better followers of Christ. That is iron sharpening iron. Parents should see their role as building and training children as disciples of Christ. Every employer and employee should use their position and influence to help build disciples. And did you notice I didn’t use the E-word in this paragraph? Why?
Making disciples is our mission. When we define it, or allow it to be defined, as evangelism then we have greatly reduced the scope of what Jesus purposed us to do. Much work and prayer can be involved in bringing a person to faith in Christ. But when that event occurs it is the beginning of making a disciple. The job isn’t done, it has only begun! And every spiritual gift the Lord has placed within His body (the Church) is needed to bring a disciple to maturity in Christ.
I often illustrate this point when speaking to churches. My question is this:
Which is easier: Birthing the child or raising him until he’s 25?
So let me encourage you to embrace the perfect mission statement we have been given. If we have a singular focus on making disciples then it will have a necessary impact on how we do life, ministry, and missions. And that is probably a future post!