Guest post by the illustrious Will Toburen, the Summit’s Executive Pastor of Discipleship Ministries:
“Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them!” Psalm 127:3-5
As J.D. wrote in this recent post, “When Solomon says that our children are ‘arrows,’ he is telling us that God gives us our kids so that we can prepare them for his mission. After all, what is the purpose of an arrow? An arrow is designed to be shot!”
Many of you may be absolutely on board with the idea of preparing your kids for mission…but you’re equally stuck on how to do that. One way to effectively prepare our children prior to launching them is to develop a family mission statement.
Stephen Covey describes a family mission statement as “a combined, unified expression from all family members of what your family is all about—what it is you really want to do and be—and the principles you choose to govern your family life.” So, a family mission statement can be a tool to help your children remember and reflect on the core values and goals you’ve established as a family.
Here are five practical steps you can take to help develop a family mission statement:
Step #1: Engage the whole family: This is a great exercise for the entire family. Set aside some extended time to cast vision with your children for why a family mission statement is important. The more your children feel a part of the process, the more likely they will be to embrace it.
Step #2: Identify specific goals and values based on Scripture – As you talk with your children about God’s purpose for their lives, take time to discuss specific values and goals you have for the family. Also let your children speak into the process by sharing specific things God is putting on their hearts.
Step #3: Work together to craft a statement – Here’s where you can get really creative. There’s no one format that your family mission statement needs to take. It may take the form of a catchy motto, be an acrostic using your family’s last name, or take on some other creative form. The easier to remember, the better. But remember, no one size fits all.
Step#4: Creatively display and reinforce your family mission statement – In order to keep the family mission statement in front of your family, look for ways to prominently display it in your home. Also try and celebrate when a family member honors a value or accomplishes a goal that’s been identified. The best mission statement in the world won’t do anything if you don’t reinforce it. The more it comes up, the more those key ideas take root.
Step #5: Evaluate periodically – Especially if you’ve never done anything like this before, it may take a while to land on a family mission statement that actually fits you and your kids. Don’t get frustrated if your first attempt turns out to be a dud. Revisit, revise, and move on. You may also find that as your children grow and mature that your family ministry statement needs to be modified. Evaluating periodically will allow you to adjust for the different seasons of life your family will go through.
Need a little more direction? This article from Focus on the Family gives some excellent examples of family mission statements. It also has some good questions to ask during the process that will help shape your mission statement.
Parenting is an adventure—a wild, unpredictable, tiring, rewarding adventure. Start the adventure with the right tools, and you are well on your way to preparing your children to launch—like the arrows that they are.