Zeroing in on the action words that defined our work, choosing a motivation to move us forward, and pinpointing the people group we impact. I couldn't help but take a blank worksheet home to apply to our family.
I wanted our family to be so intentional on the actions and the motivation to drive us to meet our goals, impacting people in a way only Christ could lead us to do. I ultimately wanted His missional blessing on our family and our purpose.
As much as I thrived on this activity, I never got around to applying it to our family. While the questions were simple enough, it just seemed too hard to choose a singular focus (or even a few) for our family.
Does my family need a purpose statement?
A couple years later, I stumbled into Tsh's post on creating a family purpose statement, and later her family's displayed purpose statement, and fell in love with the idea all over again. Yet months more passed as I avoided the "draft a family purpose statement" line on my to-do list. It just seemed an insurmountable task to take everything our family does and uncover a magical statement to guide us.
Then, I realized a funny thing happened over the years: Our family changed jobs and locations twice. We expanded our family by one more. We purchased and sold cars and took on volunteer responsibilities. We basically lived life without a purpose statement. Unlike all the how-to articles tell me, we didn't need that one statement to make all of our major decisions.
Instead, we needed God's leading, the moving of His Spirit and the grace of His Son. We prayed through each of those decisions holding onto faith together as a family. Holding the King and His Kingdom as our purpose.
A Christian's Purpose
It was clear--that was it. Instead of a brand new statement--one true only to our family and only for this season--it seemed clear our purpose is for Jesus. Living for His glory, seeking His Kingdom and inviting others into that life.
As Christ-followers, we all have the same set of instructions to follow. We all have the same blueprint to find our way through this life (and into forever). The specifics will likely be different--we will decide on different jobs, different dwelling places, and different family logistics. But the same truths are there for us, clearly printed as our guide.
Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 says our whole duty is to fear God and keep His commands.
What are His commandments?
Jesus said they are summed up in this: Love God + love others. (Luke 10:27)
That's it. That is our simple and Christ-centered purpose.
Right there I just saved you hours (possibly weeks) of writing and drafting and formulating something that would likely change within a few months. That's not to say the process isn't worth it. But maybe, just maybe, we could put those hours and weeks into prayer and action based on God's Word.
Just a thought.
Our Mission Statement on Display
When it came to displaying our family purpose Bible texts, I had big plans of turning the wall over our dining table into a big 3 x 3 grid of squares that would include a couple pictures, our family's mission statement, a chalkboard for our weekly menu, and a calendar to track our family's happenings all in one central spot.
When I edited and simplified that idea, I came up with one simple 2 x 2 grid of squares that displays our family's purpose in text and in photos.
In the top left frame is the photo of a little Indian girl we sponsor named Poojitha; in the top right frame is a picture my friend took of a little Mongolian child that lived next door when I stayed with them for a few months. These are to remind us that our family is bigger than ourselves--it's deeper than blood and so far beyond this little apartment we call home. Our family is ultimately the world-wide family of God, and I wanted a visual reminder of that. A reminder that our purpose is to love and care for each other like brothers and sisters.
Family Purpose Statement
I had Brylee write our two Bible texts to make her a part of this. In the bottom left frame is "love one another like brothers and sisters" based on Romans 12:10; in the bottom right frame is "love God with all your heart, soul and mind" based on Deuteronomy 6:5. I felt these two texts nicely summarized our call to love God and love others.
Three Steps to Writing a Traditional Mission Statement
But maybe that level of simplicity isn't for you. Perhaps a more traditional mission statement is just what your family needs. Or maybe you could use some extra focus on what you're doing at work or with your family and why you're doing it. A simple mission statement could help.
There are three basic pieces to uncovering your mission statement (as taken from that worksheet I took home years ago)...
1. Write down one to three meaningful and purposeful action verbs that describe your/your family’s work.
2. Write down who (individual or group) you/your family serves/impacts.
3. What principle, cause, value or purpose of your/your family’s work would you defend to the death or devote your life to? This is your core value. Write that word or phrase down.
Using the responses above, craft your/your family’s mission statement. Insert your answers from above into the corresponding blanks in the statement below:
My mission/the mission of my family is to [action verbs from #1] to/for/with [individual/group served in #2] so that [core value from #3].
Mission Statement Examples:
My mission is to encourage others in simple, intentional and contented living to give glory to God and point others to His Kingdom.
The mission of our family is to love and support each other, treating others as our own family that God's Kingdom would be apparent in our actions both inside + outside our home as it is in Heaven.