The Makings of a Mission Statement

by Dustin Moody

Mission statements often get a bad rap, maligned for their lofty aspirations and ambiguous language. Originally meant to provide vision and direction, an organization’s mission statement often confuses more than it clarifies.

So when our board and leadership team began the process of revising the mission statement for the Denver Institute for Faith & Work (DIFW), they wanted to avoid crafting a statement that would simply hang on a wall. They sought to capture the unique vision, goals, and purpose that make up DIFW’s DNA.

They started by taking a look at our original statement, crafted about five years ago:

"Our mission is to live with Christ in all of life, bear witness to the gospel in all of culture, and serve the needs of the world with the work of our hands."

While this wasn’t a bad way to start, the statement was a little long, and a bit unclear on what DIFW actually does.

Which led them to a revised second draft:

"Our mission is to form men and women to participate in Christ's reconciliation of the world through their work."

Shorter than the original, this second attempt still didn’t capture the vision and goals of DIFW. It’s also a little too heady and theological for most of us. “Christ’s reconciliation of the world” isn’t exactly everyday language, though we loved the words “form” and “work” as it expressed the heart (form) and the medium (work) of our programming.

Finally, our board settled on a version that meets all the necessary criteria:

"We exist to form men and women to serve God, neighbor and society through their work."

Clear, concise, and relatable. Our new mission statement articulates why and how and where we do what we do.

"We exist to form men and women to serve God, neighbor and society through their work."

Purpose: Through our events, learning resources, vocational communities, and our 5280 Fellowship program, Denver Institute shapes men and women to become servants – of God, neighbor and the broader culture.

People: We take seriously Jesus’s words in Luke 10 to “love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'” We believe that Christians have a responsibility to serve God, our neighbors, and society.

Place: Our work–where we spend the majority of our time and energy–is our chance to participate in God’s redemption of all things. It is the space that He has given us to cultivate and restore. And it’s the primary way we can work toward the greater good of society.

How does this play out in measuring outcomes in our programs? Check out our 5 Guiding Principles.

We’re excited about clarity this updated mission statement provides, and we’re grateful for the work of our board to help craft and discern the organizational vision. We’re committed to fulfilling the mission we believe God has given us, and you’re invited to join us.

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Dustin Moody

Dustin oversees the marketing, publications, social media, podcast, and website as the director of communications for the Denver Institute of Faith & Work. He has previously served with the University of Colorado Boulder and Wycliffe Bible Translators. He holds an M.A. in Communication from the University of Colorado Denver and a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Florida. Dustin also serves on the board of the Colorado chapter of the Public Relations Society of America. He and his wife, Laura, attend Storyline Fellowship in Arvada.