What would you like your world to look like 5 years from now? How about 10 or 20 or 50 years from now?

When we can answer that question as a church, conference, or other ministry setting, we are on the road to mission clarity and increased fundraising capacity. People give to make a difference in the world – and want to know exactly what kind of impact your ministry will make.

Answering that first question creates the vision – a picture of a future world we have yet to attain. The mission then becomes what we are doing to turn the vision into reality. For example, the UCC vision is “United in Christ’s love, a just world for all.” The mission states our actions to get there: “United in Spirit & inspired by God’s grace, we welcome all, love all, and seek justice for all.”

In one UCC church I pastored, our mission centered around “Everyone welcome – no exceptions!” Everything we did or considered doing was filtered through this lens. Proposed actions that didn’t fit this mission were gratefully declined. Each year we chose three objectives to focus on that fit the mission.

With this kind of mission clarity, people know what your church is doing, get excited about it, and are willing to offer more of their dollars to the effort. Too often in the church we try to be all things to all people all the time, which waters down our mission (and our ministry) until it’s so general that it could belong to any church. We cannot be all things to all people.

So what about you and your ministry setting? What makes you unique or sets you apart? Who are you called to be in your context? How are your congregation, community, and the world being transformed by your presence?

Once you have greater clarity on your vision and mission, ask yourselves:
  • Do all stakeholders feel comfortable naming and discussing the vision and mission of the congregation? If not, what steps can you take to move them in that direction?
  • How are the values, vision, and mission of the congregation apparent to visitors or others who intersect with the congregation?

While your vision and mission statements may be a little longer (try to keep them brief!), a short tagline or motto derived from them can bring greater focus and be easy to remember and share. Pay attention to language, too: use words and phrases that people outside of your congregation and our faith tradition could understand without decoding. And remember that mission statements aren’t forever and can be changed. Keep them unique and specific to who you are and strive to be right now.

Here are a few mottos or taglines from around the UCC that I find effectively communicate a church’s mission clarity:

  • Pray Together, Play Together, Serve Together
  • Servants of a Just & Common Good
  • To Heal, Inspire, & Empower in the Way of Jesus
  • We Seek God, Include All, Serve Others
  • Inclusive, Generous, Creative, Progressive
  • Love Unconditionally, Challenge Spiritually, Minister Fervently
  • We Agree to Differ, Resolve to Love, Unite to Serve

Blessing to you on coming to clarity of vision and mission and in raising the resources to move us toward shalom, toward making the kin-dom of God more real in our presence every day.

Yours in Faith,

Rev. Andy DeBraber
Generosity Officer
National Setting of the UCC
Cultivating Generous Congregations Seminar
Want to learn more about Stewardship with Andy DeBraber? Join him and his colleague Andrew Warner in an upcoming Cultivating Generous Congregations Seminar. The seminar offers an opportunity for pastors and lay leaders to explore faithful, practical, and tested ways to promoting generosity in our congregations. The course draws on current research, seeks guidance from the wisdom of scripture, and discusses the best practices in church-based fundraising. Leaders participating in this program will be equipped to lead an effective stewardship campaign and, more broadly, help their congregation reclaim generosity as a spiritual practice. The seminar meetings will be held on Tuesdays – Sept. 21, Oct. 5 & 19, and Nov. 2, 16, and 30. Seminars run from 6:30pm to 8:00pm Eastern Time. There will be readings, videos, and reflections to complete in-between seminar meetings. The program costs $300 for a team of two leaders (additional participants $150 each). Learn more and register here by Sept. 14.
Recommended Generosity Resources
Don’t Beg – Rethinking the Stewardship Sermon. A Conversation with Pastors
Oct 6, 2021, 4:00 pm

A Bible Study for pastors as we think through options for sermons on Stewardship for a fall pledge campaign. We will be guided by Henri Nouwen’s observation, “Fundraising is precisely the opposite of begging. Rather, we are declaring, ‘We have a vision that is amazing and exciting.’” Register here
Generosity Forward Print Newsletter - another resource for your generosity practices

Did you receive the Generosity Forward Print Newsletter in your mailbox recently? This 8-page quarterly publication provides unique content that highlights the impact of our giving, lifts up ways people can make gifts, and reflects on the practice of giving in our faith. Sharing our stories of giving helps us feel hope as we see the difference we make together. Stories help us feel connected, and give us a deeper understanding of how and why to give. You're sure to find these insights helpful in your own generosity practices. Download the Generosity Forward Print Newsletter HERE.

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Help Others - Donate Now
The General Fund of the Wisconsin Conference helps us connect, support, and resource pastors, leaders, and congregations. Your gift allows the Conference to provide relevant and timely help during the current pandemic and beyond. Donate to the General Fund.

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