A church mission and vision are key and both are concepts we need to be clear on. Oftentimes, these terms are easily confused, with a common mistake being that they are considered to be the same thing. So what is the difference between church mission and vision? Here are some comparisons to help us understand the distinction, with a short table comparing mission and vision to summarise the differences.
What is a church mission?
In short, the mission is what you do – “we exist to..” The mission is focused on the present and what we need to be doing. A church mission is functional and purposeful. It informs and speaks to the head tends to be ‘known’, in the sense it is understood cerebrally. A mission makes today clear and is like a job description, bringing direction to what needs to be done.
What is a church vision?
The vision is where you are heading – “we will be/see..” Vision is future-orientated and focuses on where we are going. A church vision is an idealistic dream, so it inspires and speaks to the heart. A vision is ‘seen’ with eyes of faith and is ‘felt’, bringing shape to tomorrow. The vision reveals the destination, to be steered and moved towards.
I’ve summarised these differences in the following table:
|The What||The Where|
|The Doing||The Going|
|The Purpose||The Dream|
|The Job Description||The Destination|
Why are a church mission and vision both essential?
Without a mission, you will have no day to day focus. Without a vision, you will have no end goal. I propose that for a church to be healthy, it needs to have both a clearly defined mission and clearly defined vision.
What makes a church mission and vision different?
In short, the difference between the two is this: the mission dictates what you exist to do, and the vision shows what doing that successfully will result in.
This post is part of a series on Healthy Principles For Church Organisational Structure. You can see links to the others posts in this series here.
- What constitutes a healthy church organisational structure?
- Be clear on the difference between mission and vision
- Develop a mission statement
- Develop a vision statement
- Develop a core values statement
- Develop a leadership structure
To find out the current health of your church in these areas, I have developed a free church health assessment. You can take it by clicking here.