Image by Arenamontanus via Flickr

What’s in a name? We’ve just spent the past hour talking about our identity, and how we communicate to the world who we are—specifically, who we are in Christ.  We communicate with our stories, headlines, our organization’s name. We craft mission statements and design websites around what we want others to experience when they connect with us.

As a communicator myself I’ve spent many years in the corporate realm helping business shape and communicate their brand messages. Many of you in your own work have sat through those corporate meetings and task force gatherings where you helped come up with the right words to explain who you are and where you’re going. Maybe your mission is to be the best widget maker in the world, delivering excellence to people everywhere. That’s not far from some of the mission statements I’ve seen.

Do names matter? Do brand messages and mission statements make a difference?

Do you want to hear the truth? Here it is, and if it sounds harsh, I don’t mean for it to be… Nobody cares about our mission statements. And yet we spend hundreds, thousands of dollars and hours, weeks, months…whiteboarding and editing.

I was working with a client the other day and had some downtime, so I perused the massive bookshelf next to the printer. Books about vision and funny leadership quotes—and I spotted one book devoted entirely to the mission and vision statement of the top 200 companies of the world. Skimming the pages, I imagine the torture of the staffers who had to endure the excruciating process of coming up with those carefully crafted words. I’ve been a part of many of those meetings.  Helping to shape those messages is part of the job. But you know, it’s not who I am any more. I am a child of God. A royal daughter of the King most High. And if you’re listening to this show, and you are a Christian, that is your identity as well…We don’t want to hide it, we want to share it.

We want people to know right from the get-go that our purpose is to help as many people as we can have that identity for themselves.

I personally think the church – Big C – has the same mission around the world. I’m not picking on churches at all! Having goals and communicating them helps leaders know what God has called them to do. But it doesn’t do much for the person who is hurting and lost—or that person who faithfully follows Jesus Christ in love and truth.

Here’s a calling I believe Christians want and need to hear. Four simple statement of purpose:

  1. Share the Truth of Jesus with us.
  2. Equip us mightily to do the same.
  3. Be there to catch us when we fall.
  4. Be transparent when you fail.

That’s not a mission statement for pastors or leaders – that’s our calling—to ALL of us who know who we are and where we’re going.