When I’m coaching church planters, I like them to write the mission statement down on paper when they’re all hot and bothered about the condition of the church, the perishing of the lost, or their personal frustrations in leadership. Best to write this when you’ve had a bad day. The reason is that the raw, unbridled emotion will help to unpack some of what has been smoldering down at the core of your gut. Usually, when I read these, they self-destruct in flames before I’m finished looking them over. But the passion is there. There is a fire in the bones, and in prophetic fashion the planter uncovers the core reasons of what he or she really wants to do without couching it in polite, feathery language for others to critique. Don’t worry…you will always go back and put some yoghurt on it to douse the spice of the flaming curry so that it’s suitable for public consumption
In Habbakuk 2:2 the prophet is told “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it.” By doing those three things, Habbakuk was told to make the vision permanent, clear, and transferable.
Write it down
If you’re a talker like most planters, you can winsomely persuade others to a cause. It’s part of the leadership bug. Often, when we’re done, people are left with an emotional impression and have decided whether they’ll come with us. Writing it down means that they can return to it repeatedly praying and pouring over it as they ask God whether he’s sending them with you. By writing it down, you’re putting something permanent in their hot little hands. They will forget the feeling they had with you, but every time they reach into their bible and grab that piece of paper and read it, those feelings come back and their ready to conquer and take no man’s land with you again.
Make it plain
The mission statement ought to be tinkered and refined until it flows with a singular clarity. You need to answer the W questions; what, who, when and how. The why question will be answered by the condition of the lost and the church’s reluctance, inability, or slowness in reaching them in a particular context. The who question will be answered by people you want to reach and the kind of team that you’re looking to build. The what question will be answered by spelling out exactly how your team is going to reach the lost. The when question will be answered by giving a timeline of how long your home study will meet; when your first outreach will begin; the date of the public launch. This is your plan of action.
You may think that you rocked their socks off and wowed them with your missiology, but the fact is, many of these concepts may have been first exposure concepts, and therefore they’re still coming to grips with your ideology. They’ll need to think these concepts through and filter them a bit. I’ll never forget when I left a church I’d planted and led for five years. My last Sunday there, a lady looked at me and said, “I think I’m finally beginning to see what you’ve been doing here”. Doh!
Make it transferable
You want them to share it with their friends. When Habbakuk is told that they “can run with it” if he writes it down plainly, the picture is of a messenger. You want this news to spread. You want them to be able to recruit and invite others to your core team.
Buy Peyton’s newest book “Reaching The Unreached: Becoming Raiders of the Lost Art” over on Amazon.com. You can also download a free chapter and watch a cool trailer for the book HERE or click the image below.