News, Think, Think

Much ado about mission statements

It has become fashionable for companies, and even individuals, to have mission statements. These mission statements try to make clear what is the deepest or ultimate goal and mission in the life of the company or individual.

Did you know that Starbucks has a mission statement? It goes: “To inspire and nurture the human spirit—one person, one cup and one neighbourhood at a time”.

I’m not sure how each cup of Starbucks coffee I drink inspires the human spirit, but it’s a nice sounding statement.

The tee-shirt company, Life is Good, also has a mission statement: “To spread the power of optimism”.

I’m also unsure how selling (and buying) tee-shirts helps spread optimism; perhaps it is through some of their tee shirt slogans like “Forecast: Mostly Sunny”.

The apostle Paul perhaps also had a personal mission statement. Acts 20:24 (NIV) sounds a bit like one: “My only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.”

Paul summarised the primary goal of his life in terms of completing the task, or mission, given to him by the Lord Jesus. And Paul expresses that mission as “testifying to the good news of God’s grace”.

It’s easy to see how Paul’s life (known mainly through his writings in the Bible) corresponds with his mission statement. One of his best-known statements is “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith” (Eph 2:8 NIV).

And even in Acts 20, just after sharing his mission statement about testifying to God’s grace in verse 24, he practises what he has just preached. “Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.” (Acts 20:32 NIV)

The Church could do a lot worse than to adopt Paul’s mission statement for herself. The congruence and consistency between Paul’s mission statement and his life is clear.

Hopefully, the watching world will see congruence and consistency in the statements and life of a Church that claims that her mission is to testify to God’s grace.

How sad for the world, if the Church’s testimony to the wrath and judgment of God drowns out the good news of God’s grace.

The Rev Dr Gordon Wong was re-elected President of Trinity Annual Conference (TRAC) in 2016 for a second quadrennial term, but is primarily grateful to God for the gift of his wife Lai Foon and two children Deborah and Jeremy.

Picture by Olivier Le Moal/