I originally first heard the idea of a family mission statement from my friend Cherie. She was kind enough to share her thoughts on how a mission statement best works for a family — I’ve listed my favorites below.

Tips for creating an effective family purpose statement

1. Just get started. The biggest hindrance to writing a mission statement is aiming for perfection. You are better off writing an imperfect rough draft and then improving it later. Also, don’t get caught up in trying to make your vision statement look like others — they come in many forms and change over time.

2. Invest time. You will need at least two hours or more; time to be creative and uninterrupted.

3. Write it out. There is power to putting a dream down on paper. When you commit something to writing, commitment to achievement naturally follows. From my experience each year, I set goals for each of my girls of how I would like to see them grow and mature spiritually, intellectuality, and emotionally. I might not always hit the bull’s eye, but I do come within the circle and am able to measure progress. I have something to go back and look at.

4. Stay on course. You have spent a lot of time, so place your statement in a place where your family will see it every day. Go over it often.

5. Reevaluate, and change if necessary. Things might change over time as you mature or your family grows.

Our family’s mission statement remains a bit pliable, and we’re open to tweaking it throughout the years. But our core values remain the same — live simply, grow, honor relationships, and celebrate These are embodied in our mission statement. This becomes your statement that keeps you going throughout the days, months, and years, so that’s why it’s the first task in going Back to the Basics.

Our family’s purpose statement

As a family, we want to glorify God in all we say, do, and are. We will…

  • Put each other first.
  • Cultivate deep relationships with one another.
  • Extend love to those around us.
  • Live simply.
  • Be true to who God made us.
  • Take care of our health.
  • Be good stewards of creation.
  • Be lifelong learners.

Within our basic mission statement, my husband and I have created some goals for the rest of this year that reflect our pursuit of this mission. I’ve shared just a few of them below.

Our purpose statement, with a few of our goals

As a family, we want to glorify God in all we say, do, and are. We will…

• Put each other first.

  • diligently do our chores without complaining
  • help each other as we see a need
  • take each other’s emotions seriously
  • be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry

• Cultivate deep relationships with one another.

  • eat almost every breakfast and dinner together
  • go on regular dates as a couple
  • spend one-on-one time regularly, each parent with each kid
  • guard our outside commitments, and do our best to keep four nights per week unscheduled

• Extend love to those around us.

  • keep our home tidy enough to welcome spontaneous guests
  • have two families, couples, or individuals over for a meal per month
  • regularly communicate with our friends scattered worldwide
  • cultivate a heart of grace, so that we do not judge others

• Live simply.

  • remain debt-free
  • finish our emergency fund by fall ’09
  • provide enough time for each of us to pursue one hobby
  • make homemaking a priority, taking care to plan ahead for things (budgeting, meal planning, etc.)
  • generally pursue excellence as we steward our time, talents, and treasures

• Be true to who God made us.

  • regularly spend time with God through the Word and in prayer
  • pray for each other often
  • provide ample room for each other’s interests
  • encourage excellence in godly pursuits

• Take care of our health.

  • Eat food our bodies were designed to eat
  • Eat most of our meals at home
  • Move physically at least once a day
  • Spend time together actively
  • Vigorously protect the boundaries of bedtimes, for children and adults

• Be good stewards of creation.

  • Spend time outside as a family at least once a week
  • Do what we can to be good stewards of the environment
  • Take a vacation, and make sure that much of it involves the outdoors
  • Enjoy nature in everyday life with things like gardening and neighborhood walks

• Be lifelong learners.

  • Regularly read quality books
  • Learn new things together as a family
  • Take care to enjoy only quality books, movies, and other forms of entertainment
  • Understand the times in which we live, and keep abreast on what God is doing worldwide
Photo from sxc.hu

As Cherie said, there’s no wrong or right way to create your family’s mission statement. But you want it to be a useful tool, something that helps you make decisions. I feel free to say “no” to the things that aren’t part of our mission statement, even if it’s a good thing — because for our family, it’s just not the best thing, at least right now.

Alright, now it’s your turn. If you worked on your family mission statement this week, I’d love to see it — write it on your blog and link to it in the comments section here. Or, share your thoughts about what makes a good mission statement, and perhaps your family’s goals and priorities in life.

top photo source