The Necessity for Missional Alignment in Local Churches

Why the basic Jonathan?

I think that is a great question. I understand, so often organizations will only bring out the mission, values, strategy, and vision statement when there’s an orientation class and then they keep it in the closet that never comes back out.

As a result, many churches have a missional drift and have been derailed.

“What has happened to us?” Because of church politics, internal fighting, and conflict within the body, churches have forgotten to keep the main thing the main thing!

What is a local church and why do they exist? If there’s no alignment, then everyone is doing what is right in their own eyes.

So, let’s talk about missional alignment for a second. Let’s align ourselves with what God has for us in our local churches.

What’s the Difference between Mission, Values, Strategy, and Vision? 

As I sit under different presentations of organizations, I understand there can be confusion in these specific areas. Here’s my basic view of all these line-ups.

Mission = Purpose

Values = Priorities

Strategy = Pathway

Vision = Preferable future

Many churches got down the mission and the vision (However, so often both are mishmashes and have no differences by definition). The mission is the journey the church is on, and the vision is where the destination that will determine the church heads.

How does the value fit in? Just like an idea of a church being a vehicle, if the mission is a journey, and the vision is the destination, then the value is the fuel that gets them to the finish line.

Now, how do we get there? That is where the strategy comes in, in the imagery of a car, the pathway is the “GPS” that helps us see the path forward together.

The value is what gets the church on the course and drives them to get towards that very goal that is set before them. If a church has derailed and drifted off, there is often a misalignment in the core values.

Why Do We Do What We Do? 

What we are talking about here is the “values” system.

That is a great question to ask, as I recently was communicating with a group of leaders, I asked 10 people for the values, and I got 12 different opinions! Most people are unaware of the values even when they are asked.

For the mission, because it is the purpose, the question is, “What are we doing here?”

For strategy, because it is a pathway, the question is, “How are we going to get there?”

For vision, because it is a preferable future, the question is, “Where are we going?”

Lyle Shaller said once, “The most important single element of any corporate, congregational, or denominational culture, however, is the value system.” I couldn’t agree more with this statement!

Perhaps the first question that people should ask is, “Do we have a value system” To identify the value system of an organization, these are often deeply rooted and often guide the decisions and actions of the future.

Unknowingly, churches can have too many “values” which does not get communicated and confused on their life’s journey. Core values should be around maybe only 4-6 that will be remembered and cherished by the people.

Values are what make the church unique and distinct by nature. I see often, where members are confused about why certain programs exist, or why certain topics are not communicated from upfront.

On the baseline, where there is confusion, leadership needs to give “clarity”

For if there’s no clarity but confusion? Confusion leads to conflict; conflict then leads to chaos. Communicating a crystal-clear value inspires and pushes people to action.

I’ve witnessed this many times, where because values were not instilled in the team, people who think are “credible” hijack the situation by showing concern, which leads to criticism, and finally birth into control the issue. Again, where there is no clear value, concern leaders to criticism; criticism then leads to control.

Instilling values gives leadership credibility to cast mission and values as well!

Aspirational Values Turn Towards Actual Values 

I am reminded as a pastor and a leader, my job is to instill values and make the unconscious brought forth to the level of consciousness.

I am grateful that in the early church, they too had to make a conscious decision to live by the value system that is determined by God and His Word.

“And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need.

And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.”(Acts 2:42-47).

The early church valued the following 

“Biblical teaching” (Acts 2:46).

“Fervent prayer” (Acts 2:42).

“Authentic fellowship” (Acts 2:44).

“Vertical worship” (Acts 2:47).

“Zealous evangelism” (Acts 2:41).

“Sacrificial service” (Acts 2:45).

“Radical hospitality (Acts 2:45).

Oh, what a transformative difference and glorious church it would be if we only lived out those biblical values laid out in Acts 2!

That is what I am praying for. A church that will stand firm on biblical, doctrinal, and theological values that will be the hands and feet of Jesus. That is the kind of church I want to be part of!

Leave a Comment