A personal mission statement can sharpen your focus and help you to have greater impact in our world for the glory of God. It can help you know which opportunities you should embrace. Perhaps more importantly, in this super-paced world we now live in, it can help you know when to say “NO!” to opportunities. A mission statement will not only clarify your direction in life, it will also fuel your passion to move in that direction.
I formulated the following steps under the influence of a couple of decades of teaching God’s Word and incorporating tools from godly leaders. Robert Lewis’ Men’s Fraternity studies, Henry Blackaby’s Experiencing God, Ike Reighard’s North Star Journal, and numerous notes from John Maxwell on leadership have influenced the somewhat simplified approach below. I came up with this “abridged” approach to accommodate men that I meet with regularly that may not have availed themselves to all of the resources above. I highly recommend further research using such resources. I also suggest journaling one’s way through the following considerations over a period of several weeks.
- Begin with Prayer. “God delights in the prayers of the upright!” (Proverbs 15:8) Born again followers of Christ are in a spiritual pursuit of the will of God. We need to be guided by His Spirit in this pursuit. (See Jeremiah 29:13 & 33:3, Ephesians 1:17-18, and Colossians 1:9-12.)
- Study God’s revealed purposes for all of humanity. Use key texts that summarize those purposes for us. Reading Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven Life or Chuck Swindoll’s Rise and Shine will greatly enhance this step. Here are a few key texts that summarize God’s revealed purposes:
- 1 Peter 4:11 (Man’s “chief purpose”)
- Matthew 22:37-40 (The Greatest Commandments)
- Matthew 28:19-20 and Acts 1:8 (The Great Commission)
- Matthew 5:13-16 (New Covenant Cultural Mandate)
- Genesis 1:28 & 9:1 (Dominion Mandate through lens of the above texts!)
- Consider your Character and the Legacy you want to leave. Start with Scripture that you rely on for character. Perhaps Galatians 5:22-23, Joshua 1:9, Philippians 4:6, Proverbs, Psalm 1 are examples of verses that people embrace as legacy verses or “life verses.”
- List the names and traits of people that you greatly admire.
- Write down the qualities that you feel energized by when others recognize them?
- God’s Specific Calling on your life. What is it that you believe God has called you to do for him as it relates to specific ways to accomplish his revealed purposes for all? This can relate to vocation and/or areas of service in God’s kingdom. More specific Scriptures may come to mind here when you apply the first principle. Also consider passions, promptings, open doors, and confirmations from the Body of Christ. (See Henry Blackaby, Experiencing God.)
- Describe the venues of life where your mission will be fulfilled. Include both actual and aspirational, where you flesh out your mission now and where you hope to do so in the future. (e.g. home, work environment, mission field, target ministry areas, etc.)
- What resources will you draw from to help you accomplish this mission?
Aptitude (i.e. Servants by Design Profile that can be taken http://www.youruniquedesign.com) What do others say that you are good at? When are you in your “sweet spot”? The Servants by Design Profile, and other personality and aptitude profiles like it, will help you to understand your personality “viewpoint” and “currency.” This is invaluable information for writing a personal mission statement.
Spiritual Gifts (Especially motivational gifts) It is quick and painless to do a spiritual gifts test online thanks to numerous websites like http://www.spiritualgiftstest.com.
Passions What really drives you to do what you do? What makes you come alive?
- Pull it all together! Use key words and reemerging themes to write your life mission statement. Take your time. Allow for fluidity with enough guiding principle that never changes. Below is a template that may help you pull together notes from your reflections on the first six steps.
By God’s grace, I want to be (or become) (see #3)…
Primarily for/with/at (see #5)…
Who is all about (see #2)…
I will fulfill God’s call more specifically by (see #4)…
I will rely on God’s strength and wisdom as well as how he has designed, equipped, and gifted me to (see # 6)…
*Take all the space you need to begin creating this statement. You should familiarize yourself with this statement, then shorten it as much as possible without losing important elements. Then evaluate goals, objectives, plans, and decisions in light of this mission.