Several years ago, Tabor Church adopted a mission statement. I’m so glad about that! A mission statement reminds an organization of why it exists. (Organizations – even churches – really do need to be reminded of this. Some churches forget their purpose and start to do things that have nothing to do with why they exist. That’s when the problems usually start!) The official Tabor Mission Statement is: We are called to be Jesus’ witnesses and to make disciples of all people by thought, word and deed (Acts1:8; Matthew28:19-20).
We are called to be witnesses and to make disciples by none other than Jesus himself! I really like our mission statement because it is based on the Great Commission of Jesus. (Really, ALL churches have the same mission statement, which is the Great Commission found in Matthew 28:19-20. If a church has any other mission in mind, it has forgotten why it exists and is headed for big trouble!)
At the Administrative Council a while ago, I asked the leadership of Tabor to consider adding a vision statement to our mission statement. Why?
Mission statements tell why a church exists. Vision statements tell what a church needs to do to fulfill its purpose.
Mission statements describe. Vision statements challenge.
Mission statements are passive. Vision statements are active.
Mission statements ground people in the past. Vision statements move people into the future.
Mission statements may be long and hard to memorize. Vision statements are short and easy to remember.
Mission statements are mostly for leaders. Vision statements are for everyone (and are to be publicized everywhere inside and outside the congregation)!
I believe both kinds of statements are helpful in keeping a congregation in line with God’s will for it. The Administrative Council agreed and officially adopted the following as the official Tabor Vision Statement. (It’s only six words long, so you will remember it forever after you read it just once…)
Honoring God * Serving Others * Making Disciples
You will see these six words all over Tabor! Why should you care about them? Because, from here on out, they will define Tabor – what we do and what we don’t do. We will do MORE of what honors God, serves others and makes disciples, and we will STOP doing those things that don’t! It’s just that simple. (That’s how a vision statement works.)
HONORING GOD – Everything we do is to honor God, first and foremost. All praise, glory and recognition for whatever happens at Tabor are to be directed to our Creator, and not to us. We are to seek to please God in all situations large or small (according to what has been revealed to us in God’s Word). This includes how we relate to each other – resolving conflict in a biblical way (see Matthew 18:15-17), avoiding gossip and holding each other accountable (just to name a few ways).
SERVING OTHERS – Jesus himself said that he came not to be served but to serve, and give his life for others (see Matthew 20:28). At Tabor, we are to adopt the same mindset. We are not to seek to thrive as a congregation just for ourselves. We are to seek ways to give ourselves to others – including those who do not know Jesus as their Lord and Savior. The question, “I am getting what I want around Tabor?” is to be replaced with the question, “Are others getting what they need from me?” (When it comes to getting what you really need by giving of yourself, see Matthew 10:39; 16:25, Mark 8:35 and Luke 9:24.)
MAKING DISCIPLES – We are not just one more social service agency! We don’t just do nice things so people can say, “Gee, what nice people at that church!” Everything we do at Tabor is to be pointed toward moving people into a deeper relationship with God through Jesus Christ. We are to be intentional about this and direct all the resources of our church toward it (including people, building and money).
When someone asks you, “What is Tabor Church like?” you can say, “Tabor Church seeks to always be honoring God, serving others and making disciples!”