A good mission statement is defined as what you do. It is a one-sentence statement describing the reason an organization or program exists and is used to help guide decisions about priorities, actions and responsibilities.
A mission focuses us, allows us to have our own North Star to constellate our thoughts, feelings and behaviors and then our actions. It allows us to funnel our energy in the direction of where we want to go and what we wish to accomplish. And as it has been said, a great mission can light us on fire. Fire is an element of transformation and a good mission transforms.
Mission statements have an important place and role in connecting our congregants to the mission of the spiritual community. We all may be aware of their purpose and usage, but just as a reminder:
Mission statements—a good mission statement—should be clear, memorable and concise. The average length is 15-20 words. I researched some of the best mission statements out there and delightfully came across the one for TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design, as in TED Talks). Their mission statement is two words: “Spreading ideas.” It is said that there is genius in simplicity. TED’s mission statement is simplicity and genius at its best.
A mission statement indicates why your spiritual community exists. It is clear and simple. It avoids elaborate language and buzz words. It is easily explainable to others and not to be confused with a vision statement. A vision statement is about the future, a mission statement is about the now.
A chief purpose of the mission statement is to engage the people: the congregants, teachers, leaders and others. When we have the people connected and engaged, they can hardly wait for events, classes, Sunday mornings and the very important connecting with their spiritual community.
One thing I have always admired about my classmate, colleague and friend Rev Deidre Ashmore is that she has her own personal mission statement. Her mission as stated on her resume is:
One with my spiritual community, prayer is my path, faith is my star and love is my journey.
Of course, Rev Deidre also has a mission for Unity Spiritual Community in North Idaho, Coeur D’Alene, Idaho, where she serves as senior minister. When I asked for her input on this article she responded:
Each Sunday after our opening prayer, I invite the congregation to join me in affirming our mission statement. Our mission is printed in our Sunday bulletins, on a wall hanging in the sanctuary, on the PowerPoint screen and on our website.
Our mission statement is: We are a thriving spiritual community, inspiring and empowering individual and global transformation.
We use our mission statement as an anchor and litmus test to reflect all activities and events back to it, asking the question, before we do anything—does this support our mission? If so, we go ahead and schedule the event, presenter or workshop. We also ask: Does this ministry team serve the function of our mission? If so, we put that ministry team into place.
By referencing our mission, we stay focused on our higher purpose to bring spiritual transformation to ourselves and the planet. It’s big, but it helps us know that our reason for being is bigger than just serving our congregation—that each of us is a world citizen and we each make a difference wherever we are.
Rev Deidre and the spiritual community of Unity of Coeur D’Alene remain focused on their mission—allowing everything that wants to happen to be measured against it, in the form of “a litmus test,” to confirm its importance and alignment to support what they do. It is a criterion for decision making. Their mission statement is their North Star which keeps them on track.
In classical Unity teachings we often would say: “Truth cannot be taught—it can only be caught.” As we embody our teachings, as “world citizens,” others may then “catch” the transformative power of our awakening individually and as a whole. After all, “a great mission can light us on fire.”
In the words of Mahatma Gandhi: “A small body of determined spirits, fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission, can alter the course of history.” The mission fuels the purpose, drives the effort, connects and ignites us as “determined spirits” with an unquenchable faith for spreading the idea of Unity.
Unite & Ignite
Why not create or update your mission statement? Articulate a bold mission for your spiritual community, to spark a fire of Unity Truth.
Unity Worldwide Ministries recently updated our mission and vision statements. Our mission as a global worldwide organization is: “Advancing the movement of spiritual awakening and transformation through Unity, a positive path for spiritual living.”
Let us unite as “Unity people” and ignite the Unity movement. Let’s go globally and spiritually further into the 21st century with “zeal and enthusiasm,” with the fire of our teachings and the guidance of our mission as our North Star. Let us advance the movement of spiritual awakening in our spiritual centers across the world. After all, “a great mission can light us on fire.”