Friday, October 5, 2012

Mission Statement Pop Quiz


Picture this!

I was coaching the board of a nonprofit Christian theatre company this week—and I asked everyone to stand.

“If you can recite your ministry’s mission statement by memory, please remain standing.”

I blinked—and just two people were still standing (with plenty of chuckles echoing around the room).  The CEO and the board chair (still on their feet) were ready to duke it out for the prize—until the CEO had a memory lapse.

So…it was Last Man Standing for the winner’s circle.

“OK. Turn your back to the PowerPoint,” I instructed the board chair, “and then I’ll put your mission statement on the screen—while you recite it by memory, word for word.”

He tried. Heroically! But half-way through, he sat down too.

“What just happened?” I asked the highly committed board members in the room.

The discussion was dynamic. Homework was assigned and—my guess—they will repeat the “Last Person Standing” drill at their next board meeting. Successfully.

By the way, their current mission statement is outstanding (in my opinion). “[We exist] to create theatre that explores the beauty and questions of life while providing hope to our search for meaning.”

Yet…they are in the process of revising the mission statement—to make it zing even more! Good for them.

And even better—their “value statements” are limited to just three (not 10). “We value faith. We respect people. We celebrate theatre.”

All the literature, all the books, and all the resources hammer us on the importance of aligning everything we do with our mission. When we ask for God’s blessing on our ministry work—maybe we should be crystal clear about our mission, so we are not fuzzy in our prayers.

Step 1: Memorize the mission statement!

QUESTION: If you offered a Starbucks card to every board member who can pass the Mission Statement Pop Quiz, how many cards would you need?

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