In the every-week flurry of children’s ministry, there are needs to meet, supplies to buy, problems to solve, and children to love. It may not seem as if there is any time to actually think about the big picture of the purpose for which your children’s ministry exists.
And that has felt magnified this past year, creating all the more reason to check-in on your mission statement.
A mission statement provides direction. And as we’ve all felt the weight and shifts of what we’ve faced (and are currently facing), it might be time to evaluate how we measure success and what our expectations are for our ministries—and those who serve in them.
Quite literally: How are you measuring success? Maybe what once was the number of children sitting in Sunday school rooms, might now look like resourcing families gathered around their dinner tables.
Aim for Something!
This old adage is a wise one: “If you aim at nothing, you’re likely to hit it.” Without a destination, we don’t know where we are going; without a goal, we won’t even be able to tell if we have lost our way! Your mission statement is a valuable tool when it comes to helping your ministry team understand the goals and think about ways to become more intentional.
Your mission also gives your permission to say yes to the things that will help you achieve your ministry goals and no to the things that will not.
It is a survival tool. It can help you when you feel overwhelmed and overworked by allowing you to focus on hitting that mission—even if it looks different than before. A stated mission can be a lifesaver—it can increase hope and mental health during tough times.
First, Write a Mission Statement
Set aside a time first for yourself and then for key members of your team to consider the big picture of your children’s ministry. Does your current mission still work or has your mission changed? The process requires time and a willingness to focus.
Begin with prayer. Invite God to direct your thoughts as you consider your responses to the following:
- What are the reasons you want to minister to children?
- Imagine what God could do through this ministry.
- What is your overall goal and what should it be?
- List the steps your team needs to take to reach this goal.
- What priorities will help your ministry stay focused on reaching the goal?
Write down any and all ideas. After a time of prayer, refine the ideas into words that clearly and concisely convey what you mean. If your church has its own mission statement, craft your ministry’s statement to line up under the mission of the church.
Your Church’s Mission
Again, if this has at all changed, it’s important to evaluate how your ministry fits within that of the church. The development of your statement should be an outgrowth in support of the overall direction of your church body.
Write your statement in a few clearly stated sentences. They, like road signs, will help you stay focused as you keep moving down the path toward the goal. Avoid Christian jargon. Express your mission statement in words any person could understand.
When you ask God for a view of what He could do in the future of your ministry, you get a sense of where He wants you to go. As you evaluate or maybe formulate a mission statement, you gain clearer understanding of what it will take to press on toward that future.
What a Mission Statement Does
The exercise of evaluating your mission statement will produce far more than a nicely worded catchphrase or even a well-constructed theological statement: These words become tools to use to evaluate your motives, your time, your programs, and even your disasters, so that you don’t lose focus on what is most important.
This process will also help you evaluate the characteristics and goals that make your children’s ministry unique, as well as how you define success. Incorporate those characteristics into your thinking to consider unusual ways God could use your ministry.
As each person contributes to the process, you’ll find team unity increasing. This statement is a clear expression of what your children’s ministry is or is becoming—made unique by the gifts of each member of your team!
Sample Kidmin Mission Statements
Your mission statement definitely doesn’t need to match any other ministry’s, but it can be helpful to check some out. Here are samples of mission statements from a variety of children’s ministries:
- Be a Bible-based, functioning community of believers who actively teach and model for children how to become committed followers of Christ.
- Partner with families as they lead children to know God personally through Jesus Christ, to mature in the character and likeness of Christ and to put their faith into practice for all of their lives.
- Lead children into knowing Christ and then to help them mature in following Christ.
- Reach and teach children and their families in ways that will give them the greatest possible opportunity to become wholehearted followers of Jesus Christ.
- Change the lives of children by connecting them to Christ through worship, fellowship, discipleship, and outreach.
- Express Christ’s compassion for children and families by loving them and nurturing them in their journey to follow Him.
- Help families and children to KNOW Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, to GROW in their faith as followers of Jesus and to GO out into the world to represent Him.
Use your mission statement when meeting with your church leaders and your pastor to help clarify your purpose and the plans to accomplish it. Post the mission statement where you and your staff see it often. Feature it in your handbook, so that it may be used as a tool to evaluate what goes on.
Help everyone recognize that the mission statement is designed to clarify God’s mandate for your children’s ministry.
Accomplishing Your Mission
Once your mission statement is in place, help your staff begin to list measurable ways to know if the mission is being fulfilled. For example, encourage volunteers and team members to notice the way in which the mission is accomplished through measurable goals.
If your mission is about simply reaching families—how many did you resource or engage with that week? How are you connecting with families?
For instance, in another example, your mission statement may refer to specifically equipping families to lead their children to Christ. Teachers might then measure their accomplishment of the mission by evaluating themselves by the following standards: knowing every child’s family, having family contact information at hand, sending home family growth ideas once a month, and hosting two informal parenting classes each year.
When teachers and helpers catch the vision of what God can do and then take responsibility for accomplishing some part of that mission in a way unique to the skills God has given each person, the mission of your children’s ministry will skyrocket toward accomplishment—and you won’t feel overwhelmed with the things that don’t push toward your mission.