August 28, 2018

Mission is Everything

Vince Lombardi, former head coach of the Green Bay Packers, (supposedly) said: “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing!” For professional sports, winning drives every decision from strategy to personnel.

In the church, mission isn’t everything, it is the only thing! God’s mission (ideally) drives every aspect of church life. God’s mission determines when we say “yes” to certain opportunities, and also when we say “no.”

A clear vision of God’s mission is the heartbeat of a congregation’s movement as a community. And as we enter “stewardship season,” that vision plays a vital role in communication and helps answer the “why should I give” questions that many folks have.

One way to help people connect the offering plate to the vision and mission (and ministry) of the parish is a narrative budget. A narrative budget helps ministry leaders connect the dots between God’s mission and the financial resources required, and hopefully makes that connection clear to parishioners.

So as you enter this time of financial stewardship, ask this simple question: are we resourcing a vision or merely just funding a budget?

If you are focused on what it costs to run the church, then you are missing the point. This is neither missional nor inspiring (and not very biblical). People have their own bills to pay, so they likely are not terribly interested in paying bills for the parish.

However, if your answer is that you are seeking to bear witness to the love of God in Jesus Christ (which includes keeping the lights on and paying bills for the parish), then you are asking people to support a vision.

And when you do that, you’re inviting people to empower a vision and to participate in God’s mission of transformation in your community.