“Mission statements,” “goal setting,” “begin with the end in mind” … such things have a distinctly modern flavor. They strike us as concepts rooted in current business practices or derived from Stephen Covey’s book Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Isn’t this one more example of our trying to impose contemporary ideas onto the ancient church?
Perhaps. But simply because a concept has contemporary currency doesn’t mean it isn’t applicable to or valid for our thinking about the church. The Apostle Paul talked about “goals” and the “end” long before Covey sold his first book (e.g., Phil 3:14). And God was commissioning people for leadership tasks before salesmen started working for “commission”!
So maybe the better approach is to search Scripture to see if there is a biblical warrant for such concepts in the church and among God’s people. Is there a “theology” of mission and mission statements that arises from the Bible and from God’s interaction with his church? As the following articles make clear, Jesus had a driving sense of mission and could express that mission in clear, succinct statements. And different New Testament churches had distinct missions (involving different audiences and different goals).
There is a “theology” of mission and mission statements to be found in Scripture for those who have the eyes and the willingness to see it.