Developing a Family Mission Statement

“Every decision we make is ultimately governed by some kind of interest or goal or objective or value or principle, whether we know it or not. A Family Mission Statement is an effort to bring to an explicit level what your goals and values are so that people are on the same page.” – Stephen Covey

Proverbs 29:18 states, “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keeps the law, happy is he,” which has always challenged me in the importance of casting a vision and mission for our family. Without vision and direction, we could easily wander aimlessly through life and waste precious hours and moments that could be invested in the things of the Lord. We can get easily distracted in the superficial issues and lose sight of the greater purpose. I am often such a person, desiring great things in my heart, but never practically writing this out on paper and making a purposeful plan to review it regularly.

A mission statement is not something that is developed overnight, but it is invaluable frame of reference to use in making the everyday decisions in addition to the long term goals and plans. It is the inspiration that can encourage you when you have a challenging day. It can help refocus your family when you get off course. It answers the question: where are we going as a family? Where are we gifted that we could facilitate greater service to one another and the world around us? How can we purposefully accomplish that?

Where to Begin?

I encourage you to read 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families by Stephen Covey as an excellent source of inspiration and purpose for beginning this assignment. Here is the steps we took to develop our family mission. Make sure to make this a family affair, if possible, or if your children are young, you and your spouse. We will be far more effective if we seek to work together as co-labors in the mission God has assigned us.

1. Pray

Developing a mission statement cannot be completed without prayer. Spend as much time as necessary on this step, just seeking the Lord as to the direction he would desire for your family to take. Spend several days in preparation in this manner. We spent several weeks praying and thinking about the questions below individually before coming together to discuss it.

2. Ask Questions

Sit down together with your spouse and family and evaluate your passions and desires with these questions. Take lots of notes.

  • Where are we going as a family?
  • What are our priorities?
  • What are our strengths, gifting, talents?
  • What is the main purpose of our home?
  • What are practical ways we can serve each other?
  • What are practical ways we can serve others outside our family?
  • Name three things you think you could do better as a family.
  • What would people say today about our family as a whole?
  • What would we like people to say about our family as a whole in 30 years?
  • If our home could be filled with one emotion, what would it be?
  • How do you want to build relationships in your family?
  • Name three adjectives we would like people to use to describe our home environment.
  • If we could name one principle from which we want our family to operate, what would it be?
  • What characteristics do we want our children to have as they grow up? What do we want them to be skilled in?

For further questions to evaluate, check out Simple Mom & Family Cornerstone list.

Make note of any quotes or verses that stand out to you. Consider how you might incorporate these as well.

3. Narrow it Down

After evaluating the above questions, we narrowed our list down to our top ten priorities. Here is the list we compiled for our family based upon evaluating the questions above and our priorities:

God must come first (“Unless the Lord builds the house the workers labor in vain”)
Proactively seek to confess sins, love, and be quick to forgive each other
Kind and not ashamed to show affection with one another
Mission minded – joyfully serving the Lord together
Living simply in order to give generously
Love for learning
Good stewards
Hospitable (caring)
Using gifts for the kingdom (computer programming, writing, teaching, music, etc.)
Grateful

4. Write Your Statement

Then we took those priorities and goals and compiled it into a mission statement. Our statement is still in process, but this was our first draft. I seek your help and accountability in sharing this. We do this not for our own sakes for the greater purpose of God’s glory:

We will keep Christ at the center of our home.
We are committed to each other and will proactively practice humility, forgiveness, unconditional love, and share affection and encouragement with each other.
We are committed to living a missional lifestyle by living simply, giving generously, demonstrating hospitality, and cultivating gifts within each member of the family that can be used to further the Kingdom of God.
We will be good stewards of the earth that God has entrusted to our care.
Our home will be a place where grateful hearts abide and where a love for learning is always nurtured and encouraged.
We are raising our children as disciples that love to learn, give, work, serve, and in turn send them out to share Gods love with the world.

Ours is more lengthy at this point than it needs to be. Our short purpose statement has always been: living simply in order to give generously (read more about this passion in my original series Our Journey to Simple Living). Yours can be as short or as long as you desire. Stephen Covey’s family statement is as follows:

To create a nurturing place of faith, order, truth, love, happiness and relaxation and to provide opportunity for every person to become responsibly independent and effectively inter-dependent in order to serve worthy purposes in society through understanding and living the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

5. Create Action Statements

With each priority listed, develop one or more action steps to complete over the next six months, year, or as you see fits best with your family. For us, we had to ask: how will we keep Christ the center of our home? By having regular family devotions, praying together at meals and the beginning of the day, and evaluating everything we do in our home to make sure Christ is honored. We will live missionally by reaching out in hospitality twice a month, welcoming new neighbors into our community, etc. By making action statements, you will be actively making steps towards the fulfillment of your goals in your home.

6. Set a Plan for Review and Evaluation

Mission statements will not go far without purposing to review them and evaluate your progress. Make a plan for this. Set up reminders on your computer to review it. We plan to review on a yearly basis when we do our year end evaluation, but also when we get away on vacation throughout the year.

With each and every thing we consider adopting or committing to as a family, we need to ask: what has this to do with that? Asking this in light of our mission statement and the glory of God.

7. Pray Again and Never Stop

Finally, dedicate it to the Lord. Commit your mission to Him and trust that He will guide you in the fulfillment of it. Do not trust on your own strength, but in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths (Prov. 3:5).

Since beginning the process of developing our family mission statement, it has provided such clarity and direction to our daily lives. We know what our purpose is and we our passionately working together to accomplish it. By God’s strength, we want to be laborers in the extension of His Kingdom!

For further inspiration: The Benefits of Having A Family Mission Statement by Stephen Covey

God bless your efforts to live purposefully for His glory!

About Lindsay

Lindsay Edmonds is first a lover of Jesus, wife, mother of three, homemaker, and writer. She is the editor of Passionate Homemaking since its beginning five years ago. She loves inspiring women around the world toward simple, natural, and intentional living for the glory of God.

19 Responses to Developing a Family Mission Statement

  1. Amy January 22, 2012 at 8:22 pm #

    The Family Cornerstone link isn’t working :(

  2. Heather August 9, 2010 at 9:26 pm #

    I was just catching up on blog posts in my reader and came across a link to this. I’m in the midst of revisiting my mission as well. It’s cool to see that I’m not alone!

  3. Andrea July 25, 2010 at 4:45 am #

    Excellent post!! Thanks so much!

  4. Becky July 17, 2010 at 7:29 am #

    You said you’d like some help and accountability. I will suggest what we talked about and that is having our statement printed or carved into wood or whatever- the point is to keep it in front of all family members as a daily reminder… or say it every morning. But daily is what we’re going for.

    Also, I think you are great with words so I’m not really sure why you asked for help but here are two drafts you might be able to use to inspire a final draft:

    #1 It is the ____________ family’s mission to foster a Christ-centered environment where grateful hearts abide and where a love for learning is always nurtured and encouraged. We are raising our children as disciples that love to learn, give, work, serve, and in turn send them out to share Gods love with the world.

    Through our commitment to each other, we will proactively practice humility, forgiveness, unconditional love, and share affection and encouragement with each other.

    We will be good stewards of the earth that God has entrusted to our care. We are committed to living a missional lifestyle by living simply, giving generously, demonstrating hospitality, and cultivating gifts within each other that can be used to further the Kingdom of God.

    #2 It is the ____________ family’s mission to foster a Christ-centered environment where we practice humility, forgiveness and unconditional love, and share affection and encouragement with each other. Our home will be a place where grateful hearts abide. We are raising our children as disciples that love to learn, to give, to work, to serve; and in turn send them out to share Gods love with the world. Through our dedication to each other we purpose to cultivate gifts within each family member that can be used to further the Kingdom of God. We will be good stewards of the earth that God has entrusted to our care, and are committed to living a missional lifestyle by living simply, giving generously, and demonstrating hospitality.

  5. Rebecca July 17, 2010 at 6:51 am #

    Thanks for sharing this! It’s good to have that reminder of what you’re aiming for. I think I’m going to share this with my husband…

  6. Lisa July 16, 2010 at 5:24 pm #

    Lindsay, you are such an inspiration to me. I love your recipes and your posts like this one on setting a godly tone for our homes. There’s a little something for you over at my blog, if you want it…if not, that’s okay. You were the one I thought of when passing on my “award.”

  7. Angi July 16, 2010 at 5:04 pm #

    I really hope we can put this into action once we are settled in the UK.

  8. erin July 16, 2010 at 2:27 pm #

    Thanks! This is great. I am going to read this post a few times over.

  9. Lori July 16, 2010 at 1:59 pm #

    Thanks! I am part way through 7 Habits of Highly Successful Families and am really enjoying the book. My hubby and I went on a backpacking adventure and talked about things to include in our mission statement just a few weeks ago. I love the other questions to stimulate thinking that you have posted here, and the idea of taking action throughout the year surrounding the mission statement.

    • Lindsay July 16, 2010 at 2:29 pm #

      Yes, getting away to prepare this is really effective method. We prepared the majority of ours on the beach and just getting away from the distractions of life helped clear our minds to reflect on what we desired to be our priorities. God bless!

  10. tacy July 16, 2010 at 1:09 pm #

    Great advice- I am inspired to talk to my husband about writing a family mission statement.

  11. kileah July 16, 2010 at 10:05 am #

    Thank you sooooososo much for this!!

    • Lindsay July 16, 2010 at 2:30 pm #

      I love you my friend! You are an inspiration to me!

  12. Maggie July 16, 2010 at 9:14 am #

    Thanks for laying out the process so well. This is exactly the kind of guidance I need to get this done.

  13. Jessica Lynette July 16, 2010 at 4:59 am #

    This is something that has been on our hearts since we got married and only this year narrowed it down to a beautiful quote borrowed from A.N. Groves. We have it written in a couple places in our home to remind us;
    ‘Labor hard, consume little, give much and all to the Lord.”

    Thanks for your encouragement on this journey to intentional living :)

    • Lindsay July 16, 2010 at 2:31 pm #

      What an excellent quote! It reminds me of one of my favorite quotes: “Only one life, twill soon be past; only what’s done for Christ will last,” as a great motivation to be purposeful in everything.

  14. Joy Y. July 16, 2010 at 4:55 am #

    I second the Stephen Covey books…such excellent reading! Also, it makes me think of the saying…..If we aim at nothing…we’ll hit it every time!

  15. Michelle @ Traditional Simplicity July 16, 2010 at 4:28 am #

    Yes, thank you for the reminder and the resources. I read about it over at Simple Mom, but have not done it yet. My husband and I really need to sit down and discuss this. Sometimes I feel like we are going nowhere and yet, I know we are – but, is it where we want to be going? We really need to do this…now. So, thank you.

  16. Amber Cullum July 16, 2010 at 4:09 am #

    Thank you for this post. I have been reminded time and time again through blogs, books, and conversations that my husband and I need to do this. We have talked about it several times, but still haven’t written. Thanks for the practical ways to get started and for the book reference