Developing A Personal Mission Statement
I remember it like yesterday. I was a freshman on the campus of Dallas Baptist University. DBU was (and is) committed to preparing students for not only college life, but the Christian life. So I had to take a class, taught by Professor Jamie Lash (Director of Spiritual Development), that dealt with a plethora of subjects related to our growth as students and believers.
I’ll be honest, initially, I didn’t see the benefit in having to take this class. I felt it was just another prerequisite that had to be met in order for me to get on with my degree plan. I didn’t think that it would add any significant value to my life, studies, or ministry. Boy was I wrong.
On that first day when I saw him walk into the lecture hall, I thought to myself, “There is nothing too impressive about this guy. He’s tall, slender and has a slightly high-pitched voice. I wonder what he is going to share with us. It will probably be stuff that I already know or have heard before.” Well, as he began teaching us, it became apparent to me that I needed this class more than I had realized. In retrospect, now that I am well out of College, married with one daughter, and in full-time pastoral ministry, I am truly grateful to God for it because it has played an integral part in shaping me into who I am today.
There were so many nuggets that he shared with us in our time together. But the biggest takeaway for me was the need to prayerfully develop a personal or life mission statement.
What Professor Lash was asking us to write out was not a vision statement, how do you see your life 5, 10, 15 years from now, like a road map of your life. As I understood it, we were to write out what we thought God desired to be our life’s focus or mission. Of course, as Christians, we all know that Jesus has already given us our mission, which is found in Matthew 28:18-20. But what Professor Lash was asking was for us to think about how this Great Commission would be fleshed out in our personal lives, according to our God-given callings, personalities, passions, desires, experiences, and gifting. Figuratively speaking, he told us to write it down in pencil because it, or some of the nuances, might change as God directs and gives clarity to us. He also pushed us to make it brief; to write it in a sentence or two. Why? Because if it was too long, more than likely we wouldn’t remember it. So I did.
It has been a little over 15 years since I put my personal mission statement in writing. But, today, I can truly say that I am grateful for Professor Lash requiring us to complete this assignment. It has served (and continues to serve) me well. How so? Here are a few ways:
1. It surfaced my values and forced me to examine them to see if they were in line with Scripture.
2. It helped to widen my perspective – to begin thinking of the future and not just the present (i.e., to think with the end in mind – What do I want my life to be remembered for?).
3. It solidified what should be my life’s priorities.
4. It gave me a grid through which to filter opportunities to determine whether I should pursue them or not. In other words, it aided me in knowing what I should say “Yes” or “No” to.
So here is my personal mission statement:
As I pursue a life-long intimate relationship with God through Jesus, my life’s mission is to L.E.A.D.:
Love My Family
Attract Non-Christians to Jesus
The implementation of this is of course more detailed. But, as I said, this statement has helped me to know, broadly speaking, what God desires for my life to be about…and so it is or will be with yours.
How about you? Have you developed a personal mission statement? If you plan on it or have already done so, remember to hold it (and especially the details) with open hands before our great, sovereign, all-wise, all-knowing, good God. Who better else to craft your life than the One who created and redeemed you?