How to Create a Mission Statement for the New Year
As 2021 draws to a close, many people around the world are setting goals for the New Year. There is something about a new calendar year that feels promising. The inclination to make a resolution can be helpful for the spiritual life, too. Much deeper than a New Year’s Resolution, crafting a mission statement for the new year gives you a perfect opportunity to reflect on your spiritual state and set a goal that will help you grow closer to Christ in the next year.
Looking Back and Taking Stock of the Year
The process of writing a mission statement is perhaps more important than the resultant statement itself. Slowing down and pausing to reflect on the past year is an important spiritual practice. What went well this past year in your prayer life, in your home, at work? With what virtues can you recognize growth in yourself? Where would you still like to grow? Where did God’s grace most clearly shine through in your life? Write down where you have been and where you are now. This will provide a starting point for where you want to go.
Where Do I Go From Here?
Once you know where you’re starting from, you can discern and discover where you’d like to focus your spiritual energy and activity in the next year. What would you like your coming year to be like? Who would you like to be for God, for the people in your life, for yourself? What habits might you need to change, drop, or add to become that person? Where is there room for growth? What new prayer practices might support this growth?
It can be helpful to choose a category to help focus your mission statement. You might want to take a look at the virtues and select one to use as the foundation for your year. You can read about the three theological virtues (faith, hope, and love) here. Or you might consider choosing a saint whose life you want to emulate this year, someone who embodies the qualities you seek to grow in. Check out these saints from the month of January for inspiration. Focusing on a single work of mercy could help you discern specific ways to live out your faith in the new year. Another way to approach your mission statement is selecting a Scripture verse to focus on this year. This could form the basis for your daily prayer and serve as a mantra to return to again and again throughout the year.
If you are still having trouble narrowing down your mission statement, try asking yourself these questions: How does God see me? (Not sure? Discover how much He loves you, just as you are, in this blog.) Does my self-view align with God’s view of me? Does my view of God align with who He is revealed to be in the Bible, particularly in the person of Jesus Christ in the Gospels? If it doesn’t, focus your mission statement on specific ways you want to come to see God and yourself in the new year. What you believe about God and about yourself will dramatically impact your actions.
When it’s time to sit down and write out your mission statement, remember to keep it short. Include actionable items or desired end results. Your mission statement should convey your core purpose for the year. A great example can be found on the Cora Evans website. The mission of The Mystical Humanity of Christ, Inc., the organization responsible for promoting her cause for canonization and publishing her writings, reads:
In responding to our role and the continuation of His mission here on earth we encourage people to live with a heightened awareness of the living indwelling presence of Jesus in their daily lives. We accomplish this work through publishing the works of Cora Evans and others, by giving talks and parish retreats, and by promoting her cause for sainthood.
Their core purpose is clearly defined; they have outlined how they accomplish that purpose.
How to Use Your Mission Statement
Once you’ve written it, your mission statement can serve as a compass throughout the year as you discern new opportunities, wrestle with questions, or experience confusion in prayer. Your mission statement can help you make decisions with an overall goal in mind. For example, when considering a new ministry at church, you might come back to your theme for the year and see if that particular ministry helps you work toward your goal. It can also help you take stock throughout the year of your relationships with God, friends and family. Are you being the son, sister, coworker, or friend that you want to be? If not, what one thing can you do to improve in any of these roles? At the end of next year, you’ll be able to use your mission statement to reflect and update for the following year.
When approached with an open mind and heart, setting a clear intention for your new year can help kickstart your spiritual life and open you to new ways of experiencing God. His desire is for you to become more and more like Jesus – more and more the person He created you to be. How can you more closely follow Jesus in the new year?