God got my attention over ten years ago and made it clear to me that He expected more from me than I was giving Him. You can read more about that series of events HERE, but just know that I was changed virtually overnight. He gave me a clear picture of what our business should look like and I began working hard to make that vision happen.
In my last two posts, we have been looking at an example of marketplace ministry from the life of the Apostle Paul. I showed you how the Apostle Paul set an example for us in the marketplace of Athens. I also reviewed the first two steps in Paul’s 4 step process of sharing the gospel in the marketplace. In today’s post, I want to break down the last two steps of this four-step marketplace ministry method and how we can apply it in our current-day Christian business settings.
Paul’s Marketplace Ministry In Acts
As a refresher, please take another moment to read the passage – Acts 17:16-34. As a reminder, here are the first two steps from last post:
Step #1 – Be observant and sensitive to your surroundings.
Step #2 – Listen to what they say.
Now let’s move on to the final two steps…
Step #3 – Use their language to communicate your message.
Paul – If you remember back in Step #1, Paul had observed an altar “To An Unknown God.” While this may seem silly to us, it was obviously important to his audience. Rather than mocking them for their rampant idol worship, Paul used that very altar to lead into his discussion on the one, true God.
He went on in his message and talked about how God is not one dwells in temples built by human hands. As a society worshipping many gods, they were very familiar with temples and had many scattered around Athens. Finally, Paul even mentioned (and quoted) their own poets.
Application – We are called by God to be separate and different than the society in which we live. At the same time, we should follow Paul’s example and be familiar enough with the “language” of this society that we can carry on meaningful conversations. Too often, we act like we cannot even associate with “those people” that we see as sinners and non-believers.
If you read about Jesus’ ministry here on earth, you will quickly see that “those people” are the very ones with which he associated. We are to do the same, talking to them in ways they understand, not in “churchy” language that confuses them.
Step #4 – Tell them the simple truth.
Paul – Paul observed their surroundings, listened to what they had to say, and tailored his message to their language. What he did not do is water down the gospel message. He did not skip over the resurrection because it might “offend” or cause them to ridicule him. He did not acknowledge their beliefs as another option for salvation.
In his marketplace ministry, Paul stuck to the simple truth of the gospel message. He did not swerve from it to the right or the left. The results? Some sneered and others mocked him. But still others came to believe and followed him to learn more.
Application – There is so much pressure today to show tolerance for other religious views. Christians are ridiculed for believing that Jesus is the ONLY way to the Father. As a result, many Christians (even some pastors!) retreat from this message and water down the gospel. I think this is simply a tragedy.
Our responsibility is not to modify or reduce the gospel message to one that is more easily swallowed by a stiff-necked crowd. We DO need to present it in a way that is understandable by the crowd. Otherwise, we may as well leave it written in Latin. But to go beyond this and CHANGE the message itself is not acceptable.
Stick with the simple truth and God will honor your efforts. Even if you are another Jeremiah without a single convert, you cannot lose heart. Only the Holy Spirit can do the work in their hearts. Our job is to cast the seed. The rest is up to Him!
Do you see how you can engage in marketplace ministry?
What does it look like in your situation?
What obstacles are holding you back?
In my last post, I showed you an example of how the origin of marketplace ministry dates back to the days of the early church. I showed you how the Apostle Paul set an example for us in the marketplace of Athens. In today’s post, I want to break down the first two steps of the four-step method Paul used and how we can apply it in our current-day Christian business settings.
Marketplace Ministry In Acts
To catch up, please take another moment to read the passage – Acts 17:16-34. If you take time to study exactly what Paul did and said, I think you will come up with a fairly simple 4-step process for marketplace ministry.
Let’s dive right in.
Step #1 – Be observant and sensitive to your surroundings.
Paul – Take a look at verse 16 first. Paul was waiting for Silas and Timothy in Athens. Was he frustrated at the delay? Did he pass the time focused on that frustration? No, instead he was paying attention to his surroundings and noticed all of the idols in Athens.
Jump to verses 22-23. Paul is speaking to the marketplace people and mentions that he has noticed they are religious. Not only that, but he also noticed an altar “To An Unknown God.” Some of us may have seen this and chuckled at the senselessness of such an altar. Paul saw an opportunity for marketplace ministry!
Application – Today, we have business going on all around us and there are plenty of opportunities for similar observations. If we pray for wisdom and discernment, God will respond and answer that prayer.
I encourage you to slow down, pray, and start noticing the tell-tale signs around you. These will give you clues on how to share the gospel where you are.
Step #2 – Listen to what they say.
Paul – When Paul first started teaching the message of the gospel in the marketplace, he elicited a response from the crowd. Some called him a babbler and others thought his teaching was strange. Surely Paul heard these comments from the crowd. Likely, he was at least mildly bothered by them.
But rather than react to the responses, he listened. He heard that they were interested in “new teachings” and were actually, for the most part, just curious. By listening to their comments and questions, he learned about how they thought.
Combined with what he had already observed (Step #1), he came up with a terrific strategy for sharing the gospel in a way that would fit the crowd!
Application – We have the same opportunity for marketplace ministry today if we will only slow down and listen. Too often, in an environment of political correctness and a lack of tolerance for Christian views, we react with anger or frustration when questioned. Unlike Paul, we fail to set our emotions aside and think strategically.
Again, we need to pray for God to teach us how to do this. It does not come naturally so we cannot expect to get it on our own. Instead, we need to pray, practice, and trust God to make up the difference!
In my next post, I will address the final two parts of Paul’s process for marketplace ministry. Hopefully, you will be able to take these four steps and apply them to your business opportunities.
What observations have you made that allowed you to share the gospel?
Are you being intentionally observant, listening to those around you?
Do you typically react to criticism or thoughtfully respond to it?
For the past nine years, I have been attempting to run our business from an eternal perspective – effectively using it as a platform for Christian ministry. Unfortunately, this is not very common and therefore I often find myself explaining exactly what I mean by marketplace ministry. Today, in an effort to shed more light on this, I want to take a look at an example of marketplace ministry in the life of the Apostle Paul.
Paul The Tentmaker
We know from Acts 18:3 that Paul was a tentmaker by trade. We don’t necessarily know how much of his time was spent making tents versus doing ministry, but it is clear that tent making was his occupation. The following verse refers to Paul coming to stay with Aquila and Priscilla.
Paul came to them, and being of the same occupation, stayed with them and worked, for they were tentmakers by trade.
Because we don’t necessarily know how much time Paul spent making tents, I am not going to attempt to draw an exact parallel between Paul’s ministry and a current-day Christian business. That is not the point of this post at all.
Instead, I simply want to broaden your understanding and awareness of the existence of (and need for) marketplace ministry – dating all the way back to the days of early church. Then I want to give you some simple tips, based on Paul’s example, for following Paul’s example in your business today.
First, let’s take a look at another passage in Acts, only one chapter before the verse mentioned above. This passage is too long to include in this post, so I will ask you to take a moment and CLICK HERE to read Acts 17:16-34. It will only take you a minute!
Paul Was Troubled
What is the first thing you read about Paul’s mindset in verse 16? It says his spirit was troubled or that he was greatly distressed. His problem was the rampant worship of idols in Athens. I am not sure what exactly brought this to his attention or whether it was related to his tent making. It really is not important.
The point of this is that Paul’s spirit was troubled at the worship of idols in Athens and so he went into the marketplace everyday to reason with those who were there. Don’t you think Paul would feel the same way today if he witnessed our marketplaces? Don’t you think his spirit would be troubled?
Are You Troubled?
If so, is yours? Paul told us to follow his example as he followed the example of Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1). If this is indeed what we should be doing, don’t you think our spirits should be troubled as well by the worship of idols in our marketplaces? Shouldn’t we be distressed?
Let’s assume for the moment that you agree with me on this and your spirit IS troubled.
What are you to do about it?
Paul And Marketplace Ministry
Well, those are good questions. For the answer, let’s take a look at what Paul did. Going back to the passage from Acts 17, we see in verses 17-18 that Paul did not just sit still when his spirit became troubled. Instead he went right to the people (some in the synagogue, some in the marketplace) and met them where they were.
It is certainly possible that he did this by turning his tent-making business into a marketplace ministry. Unfortunately, there is not enough detail in this passage to determine whether or not that is true. All we do know is that he did put himself in the middle of the marketplace and began sharing the simple message of the gospel.
The initial response to what Paul was saying was curiosity. The people told him that they wanted to hear more about this “new teaching” he was proclaiming. As a result, Paul was given the opportunity to talk to the very leaders and authorities in the marketplace (the Areopagus).
What were the results?
Well, some sneered and mocked him. They were not interested in what he had to say and they made it clear with their response. Others, however, believed him and began to follow Paul to learn more.
They Need What We Have
Folks, when you break it down, it is really this simple. The majority of the people in the marketplace today need the message that we have. They need to know the truth and we have it! All that remains is for us to begin going into the marketplace and sharing this message.
Different Methods, Same Ministry
This will look different for some than it will for others. We all have different opportunities and skills for entering marketplace ministry. God has determined this according to His will and we are only charged with following His lead. I encourage you to begin praying about how He can use YOU in this effort.
In my next post, we are going to break down Paul’s actual 4-step method from this passage and try to apply it to our current day marketplace ministry opportunities.
A new friend of mine asked me a simple question in his comment on my final post in my Strategic Plan for Ministry series. His question was simple, but convicting! My friend, Loren Pinilis (see his blog here), asked me how prayer enters the process of this planning. While this seems like an innocent enough question, it actually is a very penetrating question!
I wish I could say that I had planned to address that separately or that I just assumed everyone knew that prayer was a continuous part of the process and therefore did not include it. Or I could be bold and say I was trying to draw someone in to ask that very question!
The problem is that none of these excuses are true. The simple truth is that I forgot! In a six-post series on being intentional about doing ministry in the course of doing business for the purpose of pointing people to God, I actually forgot to include anything about seeking God for guidance in the process! I left out the very One who knows all there is to know about ministry, business, and people. Are you kidding me?
Of course, now that I have done this, I have the perfect post material! How often do we do this exact thing? We plan, we strive, and we sweat the details of our efforts in every facet of our lives, but we often completely forget to seek His guidance ahead of time. Most often, we ask Him to bless our efforts once we have decided what we are going to do! This is insanity!
Why do we always seem to wait until we have run into an obstacle or crisis before we call out in prayer?
We are children of the Creator of the universe. He is all-knowing, all-present, and all-powerful. He wants to equip us “with all that is good to do His will” (Heb. 13:20-21). All we have to do is ask! There is nothing that exists that is not available to Him to use to accomplish His will (Psalm 24:1). So why do we so often forget (or refuse) to go to Him in advance? Why do we always seem to wait until we have run into an obstacle or crisis before we call out in prayer?
Role of Prayer
Whatever the answer, let’s take a look at how we should pray when preparing our strategic plan for ministry in and through our business.
As we discussed, the mission statement tells why we exist as a company. If this statement is to be used for direction, to make decisions, and to inspire us, it only makes sense that God should guide us in developing it. Our prayer should seek guidance from Him on our direction (Proverbs 3:5-6). Trying to do this on our own, without seeking Him in prayer, could lead to wasted time and failed plans.
The mission field is effectively our target audience. We need to pray for a couple of things here. First, we need to ask God to identify those groups of people He wants us to minister to. Second, we should be praying that He will give us the right words and actions for effective ministry to these people. Finally we should ask Him to prepare their hearts to hear what He will say to them through our words and actions. (Colossians 4:3-4)
As the Creator of everything we see (Colossians 1:16), don’t you think God is more creative than anyone else we know? As we go into our brainstorm session to gather ideas for ministry activities, we need to ask Him to expand our minds and spark our imagination so that we can come up with those ideas that will be the most effective in pointing others to Him.
Next, we need to pray for wisdom in choosing and prioritizing the best ideas from the brainstorm session. We also need to pray that God would lead us in laying out the action plans (Proverbs 16:9) and that He would grant success in these plans as well (Proverbs 16:3).
Finally, we come to measurement and accountability for our plans. Because we will reap what we sow (Galatians 6:7), I believe we need to ask God for more wisdom. We need wisdom in determining what to measure and how to establish good accountability. Because ministry results are so hard to measure, we need to be especially careful here. This another area that could cause us significant trouble if were to do it on our own.
What other roles do you see prayer playing in this process?
Is prayer a vital part of how you run your business?
Are you willing to follow His guidance when He gives it – regardless of the cost?
This is the final post in a series of posts on creating a Strategic Plan for Ministry in your business. At this point, you should have a mission statement with an eternal perspective. You should have a well-defined mission field as well as a set of action plans for ministry activities that will help you to impact that mission field. Now you need to lay out the accountability processes to ensure your action plans are executed and achieve the results you desire.
Accountability Reporting Example
Let’s take a look at an example to illustrate my point. An easy example for our company is the CCA chaplain program (Corporate Chaplains of America). We have a chaplain assigned to our company as a benefit to the employees. By permission, this chaplain speaks to each of our employees face-to-face at least once per week.
He is on call 24/7 and 365. He will meet with employees after hours for extended care sessions in person or over the phone, according to their preference. He performs funerals, weddings, and hospital visits. He prays for the company and every employee on a regular basis.
On an ongoing basis, I need to know whether this program is achieving the results I expect from it. Fortunately, CCA provides their own reporting process as part of the program. They send me a report via email at the end of each month that details the activities of the chaplain. A report like this makes it easy for me to determine whether the program is working or not.
Here is an example of their report:
Your Accountability Reporting
Your reporting may look very different. It may not be as formal or it may be more so. The format is not important. The accountability is. While each ministry activity will likely present its own measurement challenges, try to make sure there is some ability to track and measure the activities and the results (if possible).
You should have some sort of reporting for every ministry activity on your action plan. If you cannot measure it in some way, then you need to decide whether it is worth doing or not. This is not to say that you are not to do anything that you cannot measure – there are certainly exceptions. It is more about making sure that there is accountability built in to every part of your plan.
Too often, companies come up with a great idea, begin a process or initiative, and never build in accountability. Without a clue as to whether it is effective or not, they forget about it until something goes wrong or someone leaves. This is simply not being a good steward of your resources.
There are a couple of challenges I will note about measuring ministry. First of all, we are not able to save anyone. That is the job of the Holy Spirit. While we may count the number of times someone turns their life over to Christ during one of our activities, we certainly cannot take credit for that. We are simply celebrating!
Second, we cannot truly know the condition of any individual’s heart or whether that condition has improved in a measurable way. To attempt to measure life change or improvement is not something I recommend. I think you get it, but measuring ministry is very difficult.
As a result of these challenges, we will most often revert to simply measuring our activities in ministry. As an example, look at the chaplain’s report. We do not attempt to measure the effectiveness of the chaplain’s prayer for our company and individual employees. We simply measure the number of times he prayed. We do not attempt to measure whether his care sessions had the intended effect. We can only count the times he had them.
I think you get the idea. When dealing with the heart and spiritual matters, measuring is difficult. At the same time, we cannot just leave our efforts to chance! Therefore we do our best to discern the right activities, maintain our focus on the right purpose, and then measure our efforts. We leave the results to God.
Do you currently have any sort of ministry results reporting?
If so, do you review it as often and with the same intensity as you review your financial reporting?
I won’t ask a third question…that last one hurt too much!
This is number 4 in a series of 5 posts about how to create a Strategic Plan for Ministry in your business. So far, we have created an effective mission statement with an eternal perspective, identified our potential mission field, and had a brainstorm session about how we will do ministry in the course of doing business. Now we will turn our attention to the laying out of the action plan.
Now, I am assuming you have already completed your brainstorming session from last time. Depending on your preference of using a smaller team of key managers or a larger group of employees, you need to gather your team together again. Taking the list of ideas generated in your brainstorm session, the group now needs to sift through and find the best ideas, making sure they are in alignment with your mission statement.
Ideally, those that are the easiest to implement with the greatest impact should come first. You can also consider which ones are the most exciting in order to get the most buy-in from the stakeholders.
Categorize the Ideas
Once you have narrowed the list down to those that are the best fit for your current circumstances, you probably want to group them according to which of the three facets of ministry is appropriate (Evangelism, Discipleship, Service), as well as which mission field category applies (Employees, Customers, Suppliers/Vendors, etc.).
While it is not necessary to evenly distribute your activities across these categories, it is good to make sure you are not ignoring any of them.
Create the Action Plan
So you have a list of your best ideas sorted into the appropriate categories. Now it is time to create the plan to actually do them! A typical action plan should cover three elements:
- Task– What will be done and by whom?
- Timeline– When it will be done?
- Resources– What is required for it to be done?
Once you have laid out the action plan for each of your ideas, set some goals for the results. Don’t be shy!
At the same time, you need to remember that by definition, the eternal spiritual impact we are attempting to make is sometimes difficult or impossible to measure, making it tough to set goals. Much of what we are doing is actually just “sowing seeds” and pointing people toward God. We cannot save anyone. Nor can we change their hearts. Even if heart change is a goal, how would you measure it?
Because of this challenge, it is my recommendation that you lean toward setting goals based on activity. If one of your action plan items is to place small new testament Bibles in your waiting area, then just measure how many are taken. If you are teaching a weekly Bible study for employees, then just measure attendance. In this case, you could take it a step further and measure how many of those in attendance go on to lead their own study! Either way, be careful how and what you target and measure. Stay true to Scripture!
Of course, you need to make sure your action plan goals are S.M.A.R.T. goals as well!
- Specific– Determine exactly what will be done, when it will be done, who will do it, etc. and write it down.
- Measurable– Make sure you can measure the activity. If you cannot, how will you know if you accomplished it?
- Attainable– This does not mean to set the bar low, but to make sure they are realistic.
- Relevant– The goals need to be in alignment with your mission statement. They need to be important to you.
- Timely– You need to have a time frame or a target date. Open-ended goals are soft.
One hint here…though it is not set in stone, this is great advice. As the leader during this process, you need to encourage the group to agree on at least one or two action items that you will start tomorrow. Don’t lose any of the momentum you have built up to this point. Do something! You will gain a boost if you will be sure to do this.
Once you have set these goals for each idea on your final action plan, you are ready to move on to the last step in this process – determining the accountability process of measuring and monitoring the results. See you next post!
Are moving through the process with me or are you thinking this might be something for next year? Or the next year?
If you are, how is it going so far? Do you have some exciting goals?
Are you inspiring your people in a way that excites them?
This is number 3 in a series of 5 posts that outline a process for creating a strategic plan for ministry in your business.
So far in this series, we have crafted a mission statement that states, from an eternal perspective, why our business exists. We have also counted the various categories of people that will come into contact with our business on some level and identified them as our mission field.
In this post, we will look at how we, in the course of doing business, minister to those in our mission field in a way that impacts them for eternity.
Buck Knives Company
Probably the best example I can come up with is the Buck Knives Company. For decades, they have integrated the Gospel message into the course of business by including a small, printed Gospel testimony (pictured below) in the box with every product. As a result of years of doing this, they have multiple vertical file cabinets filled with letters and notes from customers that were touched by these Christ-centered messages.
So the question you must ask is this:
What is the true product of the Buck Knives Company, the knife or the Gospel message?
Let me ask you this…which one will last longer?
This example from the Buck Knives Company aims to impact customers. What about employees and their families? What about your suppliers & vendors or any other groups we came up with when we identified our mission field? Well, that is what this step is all about. We have some brainstorming to do!
It is time to gather your team. Depending on your preference, you can include a large group of employees or you can start with your key people (that are bought in to the mission and vision). Depending on your size, you might even break into several groups. Either way, the point is to engage the participants in a creative session to determine opportunities and processes to minister to others while doing business.
This is a time for free-flowing ideas, not critique. That can come later.
Taking the three-fold definition of ministry I gave you in the last post (evangelism, discipleship, and service), encourage the participants to come up with ideas for each of the categories. You also may want to list the various mission field categories we identified last post (employees, customers, vendors, etc.) to help generate ideas.
The participants need to feel comfortable offering any idea that comes to mind, without the fear of rejection. This is a time for free-flowing ideas, not critique. That can come later. Any and every idea needs to come out. While one idea may later be scratched from the list for some reason, it may generate another idea that is a winner. Let them flow!
While this is certainly a simple step in the process, don’t overlook it. Even if you start with your key people, I encourage you to later bring everyone into the process. You will likely get some ideas that would never have surfaced otherwise. Plus, you get much better buy-in when everyone is involved.
Now that you have your list of ideas, keep them handy. We will look at what to do with them in the next post. If you are interested, here is a list of 101 ministry ideas from C12 Group that you can use as thought starters. Feel free to implement any of them as well, but don’t use this list as an excuse to skip your brainstorming session!
Have you done this before? What were the results?
If not, are you willing to try it now?
When are you going to schedule it?
This is number two in a series of posts on effective Strategic Ministry Planning for your business. In my last post, I described the value and characteristics of an effective mission statement for your company. Today, I will address the potential mission field for your company. In business language, this is your target market or target audience.
In order to effectively determine where we are going to do ministry, I think it best we first define exactly what we mean by ministry. In this context, we are going to define ministry in three parts.
First is ministry in evangelism – leading those people without a saving faith in Jesus Christ to come to know Him. Not all people are wired for this type of ministry, but there are also people who are wired specifically for this type of ministry. These people cannot wait to share the love of Christ with someone else – friend or stranger.
Next is ministry in discipleship – helping those with faith in Jesus to grow in that faith. As Paul mentions in 1 Corinthians 12, some are just gifted to teach. Some may enjoy doing so in a group while others may prefer a one-on-one discipling relationship. Either way, this is a critical part of ministry.
Finally is ministry in service – this consists of acts of love and kindness done in the name of Jesus. Just like some people are wired for evangelism and some are wired for teaching, this ministry requires those who embrace serving others.
When you think about it, the best ministry for Christ (regardless of which category) is done in relational contacts. God created us as relational beings. Look at Genesis 2:18 where He says it is not good for Adam to be alone. We need each other, therefore our ministry needs to be relational in the same way.
As a result of this line of thinking, we can see that every relational contact in the course of doing business is an opportunity to do ministry. Let’s take a look at a method of determining these mission field opportunities.
Courtesy of the C12 Group, we can use this Marketplace Mission Field worksheet (click to open in separate window and print out) to identify just how many opportunities your company has for ministry in a year.
- Employees– How many part-time and full-time employees do you have in your company? Do not count them in the same way you might for a financial report (0.5 for part-time or using Full Time Equivalents). If it is a person that gets compensated for their work, count them as one!
- Family Members– How many family members do your employees have in their households? Count them all! If you don’t know, just figure 1.5 family members per employee as an estimate.
- Applicants– How many applicants do you have in a given year? Consider all jobs and all applicants – whether online, by phone, or in person. If they inquire about a job with your company, count them.
- Current Customers– How many current customers does your company have? How many will you have this year?
- Past Customers– How many customers have you had in the past? In your database?
- Future Customers/Prospects– How many customers or prospects will look at your business this year? Even if you will not sell them, count them if they will have any contact with your company or any advertising from your company this year. Think about your website, trade shows, direct mail, flyers, etc. If they will get some impression of your business, they fall into this category.
- Current– With how many suppliers and/or vendors are you currently doing business? Count the number of their individual employees that come into contact with your company, not the number of companies.
- Future (potential)– How many people come into your business in the period of a year to solicit your business (whether you do business with them or not)?
- Competitors– How many individual contacts do you or your employees have with your competition? Some of these could actually fall under the vendor category as well. Don’t double count!
- Trade Associates– This category could include trainers, coaches, consultants, outside marketing reps, factory or franchise reps, etc. Count them all!
- Others– You may have thought of some not mentioned here. Add them in as well, but make sure to let me know what I missed. I want to add them to the template!
Now, all that is left is for you to total all of the above categories. Because of our website and the reach we have through nationwide vehicle searches, our number came to several million possible impressions! That is an unusually high number, but I bet your number is much higher than you were thinking before this exercise.
Folks, this is a real number representing the mission field opportunities you and your company will have in the next 12 months to impact people for eternity. Certainly, some of these will be greater opportunities than others. But regardless of the level of contact with your company, these are real people that could, in some way, see a different eternity simply because you decided to let God guide your business. How big is that?
Next time, we will begin to think about HOW we can impact this mission field.
What were you thinking before this exercise?
What was your company’s number?
Does that light a fire in your heart?
In the last post, I described how our company just began our Strategic Ministry Planning process. Using the C12 Group material from their Strategic Plan for Ministry seminar, I will take you through the 5 Step process to make this happen in your company. We will begin with the mission statement in this post and cover the next steps in future posts.
The first step in this process is crafting the mission statement. While the vast majority of large companies and corporations today have mission statements, the number of those statements that effectively achieve the true purpose of a mission statement is likely small.
Does This Describe Your Company?
Too many companies hire a consultant, take a couple of hours batting ideas around in a conference room, and come up with a nicely word-smithed sentence or two, using the latest industry buzz-words. Then they proudly print this statement on a poster or plaque and hang it in the lobby to impress customers.
If this describes your company, I apologize if it sounds harsh. I do not mean it that way. However, do you really think this type of mission statement is effective at guiding the company? How many employees use this type of statement on a daily basis to make decisions? How many even know what the mission statement is or why it is important? Right now is the time to change it!
If your company is different and is effectively using the mission statement, then congratulations! Consider your company among the best! If your company does not even have a mission statement, then now is the time to create one!
Some experts will tell you that your entire team has to come up with the mission statement. Others will say the number of participants is not important. You really have to figure this out on your own.
As for our company, I enlisted our leadership team made up of four key managers plus myself for the project. I brought my vision for the company in a couple of rough drafts and we went from there. Our final product effectively captured my vision, but was an improvement over my drafts.
The C12 material says this about mission statements:
They capture the organization’s purpose or fundamental reason for existing, stated in a way that resonates with both employees and customers.
5 Characteristics of an Effective Mission Statement:
[typography size=”16″ size_format=”px” color=”#222222″]Short and easy to memorize[/typography] – A mission statement needs to completely capture the essence of the company, but it cannot be so long that employees cannot remember it or explain it easily. This one is from POS Insurance Company…
[typography size=”16″ size_format=”px” color=”#222222″]Serving Him by serving you.[/typography]
If you expect it to be used as it should be, your company’s mission statement should be one carefully crafted sentence. The max should be two sentences. It should be easy to remember for every employee.
[typography size=”16″ size_format=”px” color=”#222222″]Decision-making tool[/typography]– It should be able to be used effectively as a plumb line for making decisions on a day to day basis. Consider the mission statement of the Newport News Shipyard…
[typography size=”16″ size_format=”px” color=”#222222″]We build good ships here, at a profit if we can, at a loss if we must,
but always good ships.[/typography]
Clearly, this one can be used by employees to make decisions in every area of the business.
[typography size=”16″ size_format=”px” color=”#222222″]Inspirational[/typography] – The mission statement should capture the heart and soul of your company. It should excite employees toward action in the direction it describes. Here is the C12 mission statement…
[typography size=”16″ size_format=”px” color=”#222222″]To change the world by bringing forth the Kingdom of God in the marketplace
through the companies and lives of those He calls to run businesses for Him.[/typography]
As this one does, it should reflect your company’s commitment and values. If it does not inspire you, who will it inspire?
[typography size=”16″ size_format=”px” color=”#222222″]Sense of ministry[/typography] – This is obviously a characteristic that will not be true for all companies – only those committed to business as ministry. For these types of companies, the mission statement should reflect the call of the leader to Christ-centered ministry and inspire others to join in. Look at this one from the Martin Newby Management Corp….
[typography size=”16″ size_format=”px” color=”#222222″]Sharing the love of Christ while providing unique management services for the manufactured housing industry.[/typography]
[typography size=”16″ size_format=”px” color=”#222222″]Timeless[/typography] – Rather than changing with technology and markets, an effective mission statement should be timeless. It should endure the fads that come and go, providing guidance over the long term. I like this one from Pruett Builders…
[typography size=”16″ size_format=”px” color=”#222222″]Sharing the love of Christ while building homes and relationships with excellence.[/typography]
Combining your company’s core purpose and values into an integrated and memorable mission statement is as challenging as it is important! An effective and often-used mission statement can inspire and direct team members to a worthy goal, while its absence leads nowhere.
Do you have an effective mission statement?
If so, are you maximizing its impact in your company?
If the answer is no to either question, are you ready to start?