Nearly everyone who has accomplished something with his or her life has been a person of purpose. Even as we study the Bible, we find that the ones God used the most were often those who had a clear life purpose and strong commitment to that vision. Take Joshua for example, one of the greatest leaders God raised up to bring the nation of Israel into the promised land. Always a man of purpose, Joshua proclaimed “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15). Josiah, one of the greatest kings to rule Judah, purposed to “follow the Lord and keep his commands, statutes, and decrees with all his heart and all his soul” (2 Kings 23:3). Daniel, “resolved that he would not defile himself” (Daniel 1:8), even though he was far from home with no accountability. The apostle Paul counted all of his self-righteous acts as worthless, purposing only to “know Him [Christ] and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings” (Philippians 3:10).
Living on Purpose
We could reference many more examples of purpose, but these should be sufficient to show the importance of a life of purpose. I have personally experienced great improvement in personal focus and fulfillment by building intentional purpose into my life. That’s why I’ve emphasized the topic of Intentional Spiritual Growth recently. You see, if we are going to love God as we should, placing him as our first priority, seeking first His kingdom and righteousness (Matthew 6:33), we must be intentional. If you don’t know where you are going, you will end up going nowhere. We all need a purpose to pursue in order to make progress in our lives. We need to think clearly about our lives, tying everything to that purpose and priority. This is where having a personal mission statement can be very helpful.
As you begin to think about drafting a personal mission statement, it is helpful to reference some example mission statement found in the Bible. Notice some of the elements that are common to the following passages.
“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success” (Joshua 1:8).
“Keep the charge of the Lord your God, walking in his ways and keeping his statutes, his commandments, his rules, and his testimonies, as it is written in the Law of Moses, that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn” (1 Kings 2:3).
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:18).
“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).
“Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ” (Colossians 1:28).
These passages are a great place to start when thinking about your personal mission statement, but they are really quite general goals that apply to all Christians. You really need to take it a step further and develop something more specific, individualized to you, including your personal life situation — your gifts, your roles, your opportunities, and your personality. Here are four steps to developing a personal mission statement.
Step 1: Collect Information
Carefully analyze the aspects of your life that need to connect to your mission statement by asking yourself questions like the following:
- What roles and responsibilities has God given to me?
- What gifts and resources has God given to me?
- What challenges and opportunities has God given me?
Step 2: Choose Goals and Actions
Think about ways in which you can combine the things you listed above to best glorify God and advance His kingdom. Write those down as ongoing actions that you want to keep doing.
Next, set personal or spiritual developmental goals that will help you accomplish those actions. These should be specific and quantifiable. For example, if one of your actions is “share the gospel with coworkers”, you could set a specific personal goal to talk to at least one person per week about the gospel.
Step 3: Write Your Personal Mission Statement
Try to bring all of the information you have gathered and goals and actions you have set together into a succint statement. For example, you could plug in the fields in a statement like this: “I will seek to [goal 1] and [goal 2] as a [role 1] and [role 2] and in my [responsibility 1] and [responsibility 2] by [action 1] and [action 2]. As you do this, keep in mind the following:
- Take your time. Meditate on this and allow your thinking to mature.
- Bathe this project in prayer throughout to make sure you are doing it with the right heart attitude.
- Review and reviews your mission statement regularly – perhaps as a yearly tradition.
Step 4: Connect the Dots
Your mission statement will just be words on a page unless you use it as a framework to build your life upon and think about everything you do in relation to it. Here are some ways to do that.
- List categories of things that you do. (Example: work, relationships, entertainment)
- Draw a “mind map” connecting each category to your mission statement and describing how it furthers your personal mission. (You can use bubbl.us to make this easy.)
- Write a number by each bubble in order of priority with 1 being the highest.
These are simply practical suggestions to help jumpstart the process of setting a personal mission statement. I have found them to be helpful, and I hope you do too. You can download this step-by-step approach as a Personal Mission Statement Worksheet for convenience. Feel free to make copies and share (with attribution).