Game plan for foundations

A Mission Statement, Vision Statement, and a Statement of Faith are Essential Components of Your Strategic Plan!

By Dr. Jeffrey J. Rodman

April 14, 2010 | 11:42 am

A Strategic Plan, a must have for every nonprofit, determines the overall direction and goals of the organization. A Strategic Plan identifies where the organization wants to be at some point in the future and how it is going to get there. It addresses your organization’s challenges and barriers, outlines a funding and fundraising strategy, and analyzes internal strengths and weaknesses.

As part of your Strategic Plan, your ministry should define and establish a vision statement, mission statement, and statement of faith. Every ministry needs to have a long-term vision of what they wish to accomplish, a mission for how to get there, and faith principles of your core beliefs guiding this vision and mission. You will also want to revisit these often to ensure that the organization is still on-track and to evaluate how these core statements have changed over time. These reminders of where you want to end up, how you’ll get there, and what you believe, are vital to your organization’s effectiveness and efficiency.

Vision StatementA vision statement tells those inside and outside your organization the end goal for its existence. In no more than two sentences, a vision statement delineates the specific long-term goal of your ministry or church by explaining where you are going or what you wish to accomplish. What it doesn’t do is explain how you’ll reach your vision. That’s the job of your mission statement.

Whether you use your vision statement to explain what you want your organization to become or what you want it to achieve, you’re visualizing an ideal future. You need to put your vision statement on a pedestal so that your ministry staff or church members never lose sight of it. As a result, the decisions made by staff and church members are consistently aligned with the vision.

A worthwhile vision statement inspires and motivates your staff or congregants to take action and achieve goals. It challenges them to grow.

The following example from the Andrews Presbyterian Church illustrates a vision statement meant to inspire and motivate:Andrews Presbyterian Church is committed to “Building The Relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, in Andrews, the Church and the world, all for the glory of God.”

As demonstrated by Andrews Presbyterian Church, the goals set to reach the vision also need to inspire staff and congregants. The vision statement stresses the benefits of achieving the goal and does not get caught up in the uninspiring details.

Does a long-term global ministry vision such as “To increase fundraising by 25 percent” inspire you? You’re more likely to be inspired by a goal of raising enough funds to…send ten more missionaries to the field to spread the gospel…feed more hungry people…shelter more homeless people…alleviate misery caused by poverty…diminish suffering after natural disasters. Each of these statements inspire because they focus on the impact of the organization within the community served. Let your vision be lofty and inspiring by focusing on those you are serving.

Mission StatementYour mission statement builds on your vision statement. We already noted that a vision statement is the leadership envisioning an ideal future. Alternately, a mission statement is management-oriented. Here you focus on the present and your strategies to reach your vision. While the vision statement serves as the end, the mission acts as the means.

Some mission statements are brief (as short as one sentence) and specific; others are long, general, and involved. An effective mission statement describes the main purpose of your ministry or church. It explains what you do, why you do it, and who your clients and constituencies are. Some also include ministry or church values and principles in the mission statement, but these are better suited within separate values/principles statements.

Like your vision statement, your mission statement ensures that the decisions you make serve your organization’s purpose. It also keeps your organization’s board, staff, and members in agreement. It also crystallizes your organization’s purpose to important stakeholders including funders, government regulators, and clients.

You should include action verbs in your mission statement because of their emotional effect on people. Words such as develop, equip, promote, teach, produce, make, fulfill, solve, create are examples.

The mission statement of the Ocean City Baptist Church illustrates a Christian Church mission statement:As part of the body of Christ, the Ocean City Baptist Church will be obedient to Christ and recognize His command to “…go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, and teach them to obey everything I have commanded you.”

Evident in Ocean City Baptist Church’s mission is a concise outline of its values and a clear strategy implemented to achieve its ultimate vision.

Statement of FaithA statement of faith explains your organization’s principles and beliefs. Similar to the mission and vision, it generally seeks to inspire and motivate staff or congregants and maintain their commitment and support. A worthwhile statement of faith makes it clear to those inside and outside your ministry or church that you are committed to Christ and God. It also underscores the value you place on your relationship with your staff, congregation, and community.

The following is an example of a statement of faith from the Bloomington Free Methodist Church: We strive to help people find Christ and live Christ-like lives. We present a positive and practical message that can be applied to every life.We believe:That the Bible is the inspired word of God.That there is one God, internally existent in three persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.That Jesus Christ is the only Son of God, He was born of the Virgin Mary, He lived a sinless life, and He was crucified for our sins and rose again.That the most important thing in the entire world is a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and faith.That the Holy Spirit cleanses the believer from all sin and is living within us enabling the believer to live the Christian life.That a relationship with Christ comes only through God’s grace not by man’s effort and must be received personally by repentance.That the local church exits to encourage growth in every believer.That we should share Jesus Christ with our community and the world.

The Nicene Creed or the Apostle’s Creed also often serves as a statement of faith for a ministry.

We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen. We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, light from light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father; through him all things were made. For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven, was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary and became truly human. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father [and the Son], who with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets. We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.

ConclusionEvaluate your vision, mission, faith, and purpose statements with your staff and volunteer leadership. It will keep you on-track and make your ministry or church a focused, organized and efficient vehicle for Christ.

Sources: Andrews Presbyterian ChurchBill Birnbaum, CMC Christian Mission DeclarationsGary M. Grobman, Ocean City Baptist ChurchMarilyn Schwartz, CSPSmyrna Christian Church

Author Bio:Jeffrey J. Rodman is a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) and a Certified Grants Specialist (CGS). He is an experienced grantwriter, fundraiser, nonprofit executive, and public speaker who operates Here-4-You Christian Grant Consulting and Church Grant Writing providing consultation for grant writing to Christian ministries and Churches worldwide.

Jeffrey supervises a team of writers, researchers, editors, and administrative staff in providing consultation for grant proposal writing, nonprofit development, and fundraising in almost every state and a dozen foreign countries and has worked on proposals to Federal, State, and Local government as well as to Foundations, Civic groups, and many others.

Jeffrey received his BS and his M.Ed. from George Mason University. He has written hundreds of proposals, secured millions of dollars in funding, and maintains a funding rate of nearly 80%. He has successfully managed over 25 different grants as a grant administrator and has also served as a grant reviewer on a state, federal, and local level as well as on foundation review panels. Jeffrey is an experienced speaker and is a Certified National Trainer for programs in Ohio, Indiana, Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Florida.

Jeffrey loves to play games with his kids and enjoy time with his family. Although he grew up in New York, he has lived in Virginia since 1996 where he and his wife, Terri are raising and homeschooling their five children, Alexandra (12), Mackenzie (9), Christian (6) Kaitlyn (3), and Abigail (born 02/10/2010).

Here-4-You Christian Grant ConsultingJeffrey J. Rodman, CFRE, CGS, M.Ed.President & CEOWebsite: http://www.npfunds.com Blog: http://npfunds.com/blog Phone: 1-866-HERE-4-U-1

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One of Billions; Unlike no other

It’s been awhile since I have written any new material. This time, these thoughts,  these words are written during my quiet time. They help me to organize ideas, endlessly streaming from some form of media. Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful for the advise I receive and the wealth of knowledge available at my fingertips. Yet I realized this evening how often I carelessly handle invaluable information. No matter how hard I try to remember,  something else quickly enters my ears and information I really needed evaporates.
This was the case with a story I received just recently. I can’t recall its’ entirity, but this much I did remember.

There was an angel standing victoriously on a battlefield among many righteous souls, wounded, yet jubilant they had fought for the Lord and won. When all of a sudden the angel looked upon the Lord; he was in great sorrow. The angel asked, why does our victory bring such sorrow? These souls lying on the ground were unrighteous and fought fiercly to oppose you. Why weep for souls such as these? God responded: “I made everything that died here today. Is it not right to grieve for ones you love?”

I needed to hear this. Even more, I needed to share it. We are all children of God friends and foes. God doesn’t see our actions he sees our repentance.

Couldn’t God just have nipped it in the bud

Why didn’t God just destroy Satan and his angels

To answer this question, we first need a little history review.

Satan didn’t start out bad.

God created Lucifer (Ezekiel 28:13, 1
5), a beautiful, shining angel who was a leader in heaven (Ezekiel 28:14; Psalms 99:1). One day, Lucifer began to think more highly of himself than he should (Ezekiel 28:17), and he began to question God’s authority in his life. What began as thoughts in his own mind turned into public murmuring among the other angels.

This murmuring became louder and louder, until ultimately, the Bible tells us Lucifer wanted to remove God from the His heavenly throne and sit there himself (Isaiah 14:13, 14). He fomented a rebellion that drew one-third of the angels to his side and caused a war in heaven (Rev. 12:7-9)!

Because of this, Lucifer and his angels were cast out of heaven. His name became “Satan.” He found his way to the earth where he corrupted God’s perfect garden creation and the two human beings who dwelt there. It has been misery for earthlings ever since.

It’s reasonable then to wonder why God didn’t destroy Lucifer and his angels instead of just casting them out of heaven. One wonders why God didn’t just destroy Lucifer right at the beginning, when he started murmuring. Wouldn’t the destruction of Satan have prevented all the suffering in the world today?

Lucifer started this controversy by attacking God’s character. He asked aloud, “Is God’s way the best way? Does God deserve to be God? Does God deserve our love?” All of heaven began watching this controversy intently, waiting for the answers.

What if God had “answered” Lucifer’s questions by destroying him? Being destroyed for asking questions doesn’t seem fair. Can you imagine what the other angels would be thinking? At least some of them would have wondered if Lucifer was right.

They might have come to the conclusion, “Don’t question God, or He’ll destroy you!”

Now, instead of worshiping God out of love for Him, they would worship Him out of fear. Many angels would be left with doubts about God’s character. Yes, God could have destroyed Satan, but that would have left behind doubt and fear.

God is love. The only loving way to quell this uprising was to let it complete its course so the answer would be obvious to all. The best way to answer Satan’s questions was not to destroy Satan, but for God to demonstrate why His way is the best way, why He deserves to be God, and why He deserves the love of His creation.

What do you think is better: To serve some one out of love or fear? Why? Do you agree with God that He didn’t destroy Lucifer immediatly? Why or why not?

By CK Lester

I’ve Learned

I’ve learned…. That the best classroom in the world is at the feet
of an elderly person.

I’ve learned…. That when you’re in love, it shows.

I’ve learned…. That just one person saying to me, “You’ve made my
day!” makes my day.

I’ve learned…. That having a child fall asleep in your arms is one
of the most peaceful feelings in the world.

I’ve learned…. That being kind is more important than being right.

I’ve learned…. That you should never say no to a gift from a child.

I’ve learned…. That I can always pray for someone when I don’t have
the strength to help him in some other way.

I’ve learned…. That no matter how serious your life requires you to
be, everyone needs a friend to act goofy with.

I’ve learned…. That sometimes all a person needs is a hand to hold
and a heart to understand.

I’ve learned…. That simple walks with my father around the block on
summer nights when I was a child did wonders for me as an adult.

I’ve learned…. That life is like a roll of toilet paper. The closer
it gets to the end, the faster it goes.

I’ve learned…. That we should be glad God doesn’t give us everything
we ask for.

I’ve learned…. That money doesn’t buy class.

I’ve learned…. That it’s those small daily happenings that make life
so spectacular.

I’ve learned…. That under everyone’s hard shell is someone who wants
to be appreciated and loved.

I’ve learned…. That to ignore the facts does not change the facts.

I’ve learned…. That when you plan to get even with someone, you are
only letting that person continue to hurt you.

I’ve learned…. That love, not time, heals all wounds.

I’ve learned…. That the easiest way for me to grow as a person is to
surround myself with people smarter than I am.

I’ve learned…. That everyone you meet deserves to be greeted with a smile.

I’ve learned…. That no one is perfect until you fall in love with them.

I’ve learned… That life is tough, but I’m tougher.

I’ve learned…. That opportunities are never lost; someone will take
the ones you miss.

I’ve learned…. That when you harbor bitterness, happiness will dock elsewhere.

I’ve learned…. That one should keep his words both soft and tender,
because tomorrow he may have to eat them.

I’ve learned….. That a smile is an inexpensive way to improve your looks.

I’ve learned…. That everyone wants to live on top of the mountain,
but all the happiness and growth occurs while you’re climbing it.

I’ve learned…. That the less time I have to work with, the more
things I get done.

I don’t know the author….