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Introduction: Vision & Mission Guidelines

Included below are some guidelines culled from business literature. To assist you in defining your ministry vision and mission.

Definition of a Vision: A Vision is defined as 'An Image of the future we seek to create'. It is a short paragraph providing a broad, aspirational image of the future.

Vision Statement

Values are beliefs, which your organization's members hold in common and endeavor to put into practice. The values guide your organization's members in performing their activities. Specifically, you should ask, "What are the basic beliefs that we share as an organization?"

Marvin Weisbord writes in Productive Workplaces that values come alive only when people are involved in doing important tasks. Ideally, an individual's personal values will align with the spoken and unspoken values of the organization. By developing a written statement of the values of the organization, group members have a chance to contribute to the articulation of these values, as well as to evaluate how well their personal values and motivation match those of the organization.

Examples of values might include a commitment to excellent services, innovation, diversity, creativity, honesty, integrity, and so on. Values may include beliefs such as: "Eating vegetables is more economically efficient and ecologically responsible than eating beef."

  • Who we are
  • What we are doing
  • Why we are doing it
  • Target market
  • Geographic domain
  • How we expect to be profitable 
  • Purpose statement: Why do we exist (to provide)
  • Business statement: What we do to reach our purpose (by or through)
  • Value statement: what are the basic beliefs we share in common
  • Other elements may include
  • What is the problem or need we are trying to meet?
  • What makes the organization unique?
  • Who are the beneficiaries of our work?

Vision: purpose = values

Three elements of a mission statement

  • Purpose and values of the organization
  • What business is the organization in
  • What are the responsibilities of the organization towards it “clients”
  • What are the main objectives supporting the church in accomplishing its mission

1) The Purpose Statement

The purpose statement clearly states what your organization seeks to accomplish: Why does your organization exist? What is the ultimate result of your work? Purpose statements usually include two phrases:

  •  An infinitive that indicates a change in status, such as to increase, to decrease, to prevent, to eliminate.
  •  An identification of the problem or condition to be changed.

An example of a purpose statement is "to eliminate homelessness." In defining the purpose, it is essential to focus on outcomes and results rather than methods: How is the world going to be different? What is going to change? Thus, the purpose of a health counseling service would never be simply "to provide counseling services," for that is describing a method rather than a result. Rather, the purpose might be "to improve the quality of life" for its clients.

2) The Business Statement

This statement outlines the "business(es)" (i.e., activities or programs) your organization chooses in order to pursue its purpose. Specifically, you must answer, "What activity are we going to do to accomplish our purpose?" For example, there are many ways to work on the problem of homelessness:

  •  to construct housing for homeless individuals
  •  to educate the public and advocate for public policy changes
  •  to provide job training to homeless individuals.

Each of these are different businesses, but they may be different means of achieving the same purpose. Business statements often include the verb "to provide" or link a purpose statement with the words "by" or "through." For example: "To eliminate homelessness by providing job training to homeless individuals." A cautionary note: If the word "and" is in your purpose or business statement, ask yourselves, "Are we really committed to both ideas connected by the word" and, "or have we simply not been able to accept that one idea is more important?"

Mission: purpose = bottom line