I have been involved with the church for many years in one capacity or another. During that time I have helped churches and various congregations develop vision and mission statements and clearly articulate their purposes or goals.
As a quick recap, a Vision Statement is the pie in the sky idea, what one day long into the future an organization would like to see. The Mission Statement is the process by which the vision is enacted. And the Purposes or Goals are the daily means by which that mission is carried out.
Often this is seen as too corporate of an activity. It reminds people of the business world and we are church. Often, there is great resistance to this process. And when this process does get completed, there is very little buy in by parishioners or staff.
At a recent gathering of clergy here in London I asked how many of us knew the Vision and Mission Statements of the Diocese. I was not surprised too see no hands go up. After all my hand didn’t go up either as I shamefully had to admit that I too had to look up our Vision and Mission statements and could find no hint of our Purposes or Goals on any Diocesan communications.
Why do I mention this? Recently through Emerging Leaders and Leadership London I had the opportunity to tour a few non-profits here in London and how they have grown through the years and the work they are engaged in.
Our First stop was Y.O.U. (Youth Opportunities Unlimited). Over the past few years they have repurposed a building in the core of London to include classrooms, housing units and a café where skills are taught and resume building occurs. The rooftop terrace was impressive, the café was great and the building and the ministry being done to care for youth on the margins is incredible.
Our next stop was WIL (Originally Women Immigration London). This organization connects recent immigrates with employers, helps them navigate interviews and directly partners with the Federal Government in the immigration resettlement process. WIL began modestly in a church basement, and now own a large office tower in the core of London and helps to connects thousands of immigrants with meaningful employment.
Our last stop was Pillar Non-Profit. Pillar’s recent purchase of the Goodlife building in the core of London for the creation of a Social Innovation Shared Space is helping to change the direction of London and shape the future of the city. Pillar as a network of non-profits now has multiple staff and continues to advise and assist non-profits in London in a myriad of ways.
The social impact of these three organizations in London is impressive to say the least. How they got there is also worthy of note. Everyone I spoke to in each organization could clearly articulate the Vision, Mission and Purpose of their organization, everyone from Executive Directors to the receptionist.
Each employee knew what the organization was hoping to accomplish, how it was going to get there and what the daily task were. This got me thinking about my context and the church. Can we, as a church body, whether that be local parish or Diocesan structure, clearly articulate our shared Vision, our shared Mission and what our daily purposes or goals are?
Starting with better communications surrounding Vision, Mission and Purposes may help us grow and expand, reach more people and have greater impact in helping to build up the kingdom of God. And like Y.O.U., WIL and Pillar Non-Profit could also greatly increase our foot print in London and in the world.