In this memo, I talk about one of the most important keys to living a life of purpose--having a clear sense of mission. Even if it shifts over time, it helps to provide direction and meaning. Enjoy!
Your Mission in LifeBy Dan Vis
July 02, 2018
I was fortunate to have some friends take me under their wings when I first became a Christian, and teach me the basics of discipleship. I learned how to pray, study, memorize God's Word, and much more. I will be forever thankful for that training.
One of the things they encouraged me to do, was to adopt a personal mission statement. They explained that spending time alone with God to discern His purpose for my life, and then summarizing that purpose in a single sentence, would be a great help in steering my life. I could memorize it, apply it instantly to every significant decision I faced, and thus stay focused on Christ's will for me.
I tried it, and it worked exactly as promised. It was like a big rudder on the great ship of life.
Biblical ExamplesI'm not sure any of the Bible writers did this exactly, but there are a number of verses that seem to capture the "mission statements" of various Bible characters quite well. John the Baptist clearly understood his mission and expressed it in these words: "He must increase, but I must decrease" (John 3:30He must increase, but I must decrease.). You can find a good mission statement for Jesus in the very next chapter: "My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work" (John 4:34Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.). Paul articulated his mission as a minister this way: "We preach [Christ] warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus" (Colossians 1:28Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:).
David is another great example. Here is how he expressed his singular yearning for God: "One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple" (Psalms 27:4One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple.). As he grew older, his life mission shifted a bit: "Now also when I am old and grayheaded, O God, forsake me not; until I have shewed thy strength unto this generation, and thy power to every one that is to come" (Psalms 71:18Now also when I am old and greyheaded, O God, forsake me not; until I have shewed thy strength unto this generation, and thy power to every one that is to come.). Our mission statement may shift as we go through various stages of life as well.
My Journey In MissionMy own mission statement has changed through the years. I initially adopted a mission statement suggested by a ministry leader I respected:
To know, love and glorify God, and be used of Him to raise up qualified laborers in significant numbers as fast as possible to help fulfil the Great Commission.
Some time soon after, a good friend with a great passion for the poor shared how he had added a phrase about ministering to the multitudes. So I added it to mine as well:
To know, love and glorify God, and be used of Him to raise up qualified laborers in significant numbers as fast as possible to help fulfil the Great Commission, while ministering to the needs of many.
After I got married, I decided to add another phrase:
To know, love and glorify God, and be used of Him to raise up qualified laborers in significant numbers as fast as possible to help fulfil the Great Commission, while ministering to the needs of many and to lead my family to do the same.
This worked for a number of years, but I eventually started to feel it was a bit wordy, and I wanted something simpler. Somewhere I read this statement which I really liked: "To know Christ and make Christ known". But it lacked the detail I wanted. I also wanted something more personal, something in my own words. I eventually came up with this:
To know Christ intimately through a life of diligent discipleship while focusing my life towards the task of making disciples".
I finally had a statement that was truly mine, and it captured my understanding of God's purpose for me better than anything up to that point. And it served well for a number of years. But over time, God began to teach me more about the importance of small duties--so it went through a critical revision:
To know Christ intimately through a life of diligent discipleship while fulfilling every God-given responsibility with excellence, and focusing my life towards the task of making disciples.
This particular statement served as a powerful source of direction in my life for more than a decade, guiding me through a number of important life transitions. Together with the various earlier iterations of it, it brought a clarity and purpose to my life I don't think I would have had otherwise. The impact was huge.
How To Write a Mission StatementThere's no magic formula for writing out a mission statement, nor is there any perfect articulation. While God has a general will for all His created beings, He has a specific purpose for each of our lives. And it is a part of our Christian journey to seek out and grow in our understanding of what that purpose is.
Having said that there are a few steps you can take to write out your mission statement:
1) Set aside some extended time alone with God. Spend plenty of time in prayer and study to get "in tune" with God before attempting to write out your mission statement.
2) Ask God to guide you. Trust His willingness to reveal your reason for existence. He made you. He has a plan for you. And He is eager for you to cooperate with Him in fulfilling that plan.
3) Identify your gifts and abilities. What activities motivate and energize you? What are your core values, beliefs? Your current life goals and priorities? Where have you enjoyed your greatest past successes? Our mission is often linked to the unique way God has made us.
4) Remember that your life mission statement is not some goal you choose for yourself. It is an exercise in attempting to discern God's purpose for you. Listen for His still small voice speaking to you through inspired sources.
5) Start writing. Try to keep it simple but specific. Do a couple different versions and then take the best from each. Combine all the best components into no more than a single sentence.
Once you have a mission statement you feel comfortable with, memorize it and review it daily. If you use cards for your verses, write it out on a card and slip it in your verse pack. If not,post it somewhere you will see it often. Then practice using your statement when confronted with a choice. Use it to evaluate goals and priorities. Look for ways to take specific steps to inch towards your mission every day. Little by little it will begin to create big change.
Be patient in this process, and expect your mission statement to go through a few revisions. And as noted above, it may shift as you go through the various seasons of life. Set aside time every so often to review your mission statement to make sure it still inspires and motivates you. Update it as your understanding grows.
ConclusionMy personal journey is certainly not over. After becoming a pastor, my mission statement changed again to something even more inspiring (for me, at least). And I continue to seek God on a regular basis, anticipating and listening for Him to reveal even clearer perceptions of life and duty. And He continues to teach me.
This process has been an important part of my Christian journey. Give it a try, and you may just find it a valuable part of yours as well.
CommentsHow important is having clarity about your purpose in life? How can it help you? Do you have a personal mission statement? If so, please share it with our community?
|Posted by Doug Schoch on 05/14/23 - Coach|
|Having a clear purpose and goal is essential or we just drift along. My current mission statement is: Service to God and
Service to others.
|Posted by Dan Vis on 05/12/23 - Coach|
|Nice Valerie! Definitely lends itself to a few key priorities, namely how to follow, and aspects of living that out.|
|Posted by Valerie Wise Burrell on 05/11/23 - Coach|
|To follow the Pattern of Jesus Christ to glorify our Heavenly Father in every aspect of my life.|
|Posted by Carlota Belmo on 04/04/23|
|“I’ll be intentional in sharing the love of Jesus Christ with others.” This is my mission statement, I’m still making changes to it.|
|Posted by Shawnda McKnight on 03/16/23|
|I will stand on the promises of God. I will Love, honor and trust Him in all that I do, while diligently preaching and teaching Jesus to all I come into contact with.|
|Posted by Dan Vis on 12/08/22 - Coach|
|That's kind of the next step Barbara. Even when our mission is clear, we still have to think about what it is going to look like to actually implement that. That's what we're going to cover in the Rocket Goals class...|
|Posted by Dan Vis on 12/01/22 - Coach|
|We'll be covering this more fully in Module 3 Robert when we do Rocket Goals. Glad this inspired you to start thinking about it!|
|Posted by Robert Gonzales on 12/01/22|
|I really like this. I never gave it any thought before. After reading this I can see the importance of a mission statement. I will start working on mine 😃|
|Posted by Dan Vis on 12/01/22 - Coach|
|Wow, that's a powerful mission statement Deanne. That's awesome. I'm so thankful for you and the rest of our little class... :)|
|Posted by Deanne Reinke on 11/30/22|
|I like to be efficient. Living a life of purpose and achieving goals is a productive and efficient life. My mission Statement:
Prepare myself and others for Latter Rain, out-pouring of Holy Spirit So that God will be Glorified & Fruit produced.
( Specifically, to achieve this goal I have started with this education process in Basic Training Followed by Revival School.)
this was inspired by James 5:7-87 Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. 8 Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.- Therefore, be patient brothers, see how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. You also, be patient . Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand
and Isaiah 30:23Then shall he give the rain of thy seed, that thou shalt sow the ground withal; and bread of the increase of the earth, and it shall be fat and plenteous: in that day shall thy cattle feed in large pastures. - He will send RAIN for the seed you sow ...
|Posted by Paul Carson on 09/23/18|
|Unleashed is excellent material. Have a bit of catch-up to complete Worker Tools. The weather has been kind so have been outdoors. It's sowing/planting season and I'm somewhat behind on the preparation phase. As in the physical, so too in the spiritual! I am so grateful that God is prompting me with thoughts that I add to my notes each day. He is gently patient yet the need for urgency is always there (John 9:4I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.).|
|Posted by Dan Vis on 09/23/18 - Coach|
|Great Paul! And glad you enjoyed the leadership class. Are you doing Unleashed, by the way? That's our current featured class. Something every leader should really understand.
Qing, that's good. I think it hits the same 3 key areas as in my mission statement, just different words. Hope the time you invested in this bears great fruit in your life!
|Posted by Qing Ling on 09/22/18 - Coach|
|Paul that's great.
Dan I finally got around to working mine out with God:
To behold Christ and reflect His character, challenging others to also call Him Lord.
|Posted by Qing Ling on 07/06/18 - Coach|
|Appreciate the feedback and challenge Dan. Challenge accepted:)
It was the Bible verse itself.
|Posted by Qing Ling on 07/04/18 - Coach|
|My first exercise coming up with a LMS was when studying the Moral Machinery conference with FAST many years ago. It has served me well and I haven't found the need to change it:
One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple.
With the Lord ever before me, I feel safe in wherever I'm heading in life. There's no other place I would rather be than at the feet of Jesus like Mary was. It ties in beautifully also with the promise of Matthew 6:33But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
|Posted by Laurie Wissink on 07/02/18 - Coach|
|I'm going through the Discipleship training program right now. Just started Team Tactics. It wasn't too long ago that I wrote out my first Life Mission Statement "Inspire others to desire discipleship training, both young and old, through my life and actions.
I Timothy 4:15Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.; Isaiah 60:22A little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation: I the LORD will hasten it in his time.
Two weeks ago I was asked out of the clear blue to 'preach' last week's sermon (very unusual). I happened to be memorizing Mark 3:14And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach, with that week's lesson and strangely I accepted. While praying about what I should share I remembered the 4 step training recipe and my new mission statement. Using these as guides I was able to present a talk on the importance of scripture memorization (a subject I am passionate about) and I felt confident about the subject because it is in line with scripture and my mission statement. The 4 step training recipe gave it structure. This was a GIANT step for me as I am very shy.
Thanks for the training Dan!
|Posted by Marsha on 07/16/17|
|Thank you, Pastor Vis. I am sure as I continue to grow through prayer,study, and experience I will gain additional insights that will result in my re-visiting and updated my personal mission statement.|
|Posted by Jacqueline on 07/14/17|
|Too live out my life purpose to serve my creator Redeemer and to share the joy through song and bible study, in whatever way to please my Father God.|
|Posted by Marsha on 07/14/17|
|My working mission statement: I have been called, chosen, consecrated, and commissioned, to take this gospel of the kingdom to my loved ones first and foremost and then to the world around me.|
|Posted by Dan Vis on 07/14/17 - Coach|
|Glad you found this helpful Marsha. Focus is so important. If you haven't taken it yet, you might consider doing the Lifefocus challenge. It may help you in your pursuit of greater focus.
Thanks again for sharing Kathy. Love your story illustrating the difference between a general direction and a specific direction. Makes a great point! All the best coming up with a statement...
|Posted by Fiona van Wyk on 07/08/17|
|You will do fine, Nena. God is with you. John 14:23Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.. He helps us with this great task. :-)|
|Posted by Nena on 07/07/17|
|Valerie，Thank you for your encouragement.
Fiona，Thank you for praying for me，I will try my best. God bless you
|Posted by Dan Vis on 07/05/17 - Coach|
|Hi Lillian. That was a bit strange. It's fixed now for you. :)|
|Posted by Lillian E. Cepeda on 07/04/17|
I did update my profile a while ago, and it shows the correct name in it, but the name does not change when I write comments.
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