I have become convinced that the first steps toward revitalization includes focusing on the mission and vision of a church. The mission of the United Methodist Church is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. This is a wonderful mission statement based on Matthew 28:19-20. It is simple and straight forward. However, if a church, seriously, adopts such a mission statement, the statement can serve to transform a congregation.
Simply adopting this mission statement will not necessarily cause transformation. There are no silver bullets that will solve every problem. However, once a congregation embraces the task of making “disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world” the first conversation should surround the question of discipleship. What is a disciple? Who is a disciple? If we are “making disciples” shouldn’t we know what we are making and when we have made one?
Those questions can begin transformational conversations. One simple definition of disciple is: A disciple makes disciples (from the book [amazon text=DiscipleShift&asin=0310492629], which I highly recommend). The point is spiritual parenthood. Most people in a church have never made a disciple. Current trends have created consumers, rather than creators. With a mission statement of making disciples and the understanding that disciples make disciples, there is an opportunity that Christians will understand that the goal is to take someone along on the journey. There is a potential that they move from consumers to creators.
It is definitely a process, but a mission statement helps people understand why the organization exists. There are other advantages as well, but in my opinion, the greatest advantage is the conversations and transformation that happens when people begin understanding what God is calling them to do; make disciples.