I’m reading Personality Not Included by Rohit Bhargava. (McGraw Hill, 2008), It’s all about how to distinguish your business by putting a personality on it. Rather than being a faceless storefront or franchise, is there something unique about your particular organization that stands out?

Bhargava suggested you start with your published mission statement. When you read it, does it sound like conversation, or a stilted line from a bad movie? How many buzzwords are there? Can you explain it without having to explain it?

Of course, I reading the book to figure out how to help congregations create the shared language and open pathways to include new people. And I want to figure out how to get the word out that this particular conversation cares about its target demographic.

The most telling indicator of the realness of the organization, he says, is how it talks about itself. Is everything tightly scripted and vetted? or does the company allow real employees to blog about their job? When the president of Boeing blogs about what he’s doing to fix the complaints, or to counter negative press with insider facts, he becomes the face of the company. They’ve gone from “really big airplane company” to “airplane company that knows what it’s is doing.”

When the pastor’s page is a sermonette on some point of faith, it’s marketing. But when he talks about what’s going on during the week, how he struggles to hold his temper when cut off in traffic, or when he apologizes for a poorly presented sermon, he’s real. And for the post-modern generation, that matters.

So go read your mission statement. If it says something like “We Preach Christ” then there’s no differentiation from a thousand other congregations. But when your mission statement is “Life lessons for the people of Dalesville,” that’s pretty specific. Or here’s one: “adventurers at heart, looking to make ongoing discoveries that lead us toward finding strengthening our pursuit of a Christ-centered life.”* I get it!

What’s your mission? How are you going to change what it says about you?


* mission statement from http://discoverychurch.org