Today I want to highlight the difference between a Vision statement, Mission statement, and Core Values. These three are constantly confused with one another. I’ve seen mission statements called vision statements and vision statements called mission statements.

When it comes to moving your life, ministry, or organization forward, these three elements are non-negotiable, but if you’ve never had anyone explain the difference between the three, the whole thing can seem little bit intimidating so more often than not, a lot of people don’t even bother. In this post I want to clear up the confusion.

(At the end of this post I’ve included a few helpful resources that might help you cultivate your own Vision, Mission, and Core Values.)


A vision statement is simply a snap shot of where you believe you’re called and created to go.

It’s a picture of the destination or the ultimate finish line if you will. It gives you something to aim your life and leadership at. Your vision statement must be short and sweet; ideally one sentence. If it’s too long, both you and those following you will never remember it making it almost impossible to take ownership of that vision.


Your mission statement explains how you’re going to arrive at your destination (the vision). Think of it this way:

  • The Vision describes WHAT you’re going to accomplish.
  • Mission describes HOW you’re going to accomplish it.

Your Mission describes how you’re going to fulfill your vision and arrive at your ultimate destination. Like your vision statement, your Mission Statement must be concise and it must truly reflect whats in your heart. Fancy words won’t get the job done – it must reflect what you believe God’s called you to and created you for.


Your core values make up the DNA of your decision making process.

They help shape the culture of whatever it is you’re building (a family, ministry, or business). You may not currently have any core values written down, but guess what? You do have core values, their just unspoken. They may not all be healthy or productive, but right now you’re living and leading from a set of beliefs that govern your decision making process. The key is identifying the values that are going to truly reflect what matters most to you and are going to help you become who God’s calling you to become. They become your guiding principles; a sort of filter if you will for making decisions.

Tip: Don’t have too many Core Values. Too many is like having none at all. In the past I’ve developed as many as twelve core values, but in my humble opinion, 12 may be a little too much. I recommend keeping it under 10 if at all possible.

To offer you a real life example of what Vision, Mission, and Core Values look like, I’ve included the ones we’ve prayerfully developed and adopted at Life Church International. I hope this helps bring some clarity.

The Vision Statement (The What)

To be a global ministry making a local impact through life giving ministry campuses.

The Mission Statement (The How)

Life Church International exists to reach people who are far from God and make life giving disciples of those that we reach.

The Core Values (The DNA)

  1. Jesus and His Presence. At LCI we’re intentional about cultivating and protecting an environment where people can experience the life giving presence of God.
  2. Lost People. It’s hard to pursue the lost and personal preferences at the same time. Therefore, at LCI we do ministry to reach people, not please people.
  3. Forward Thinking. We keep getting ready in order to stay ready. We continually develop leaders and structure LCI for where we’re going rather than where we are.
  4. Honor. Honor is the attitude of the house. We cultivate a culture of unity by speaking life over one another, respecting one another, forgiving one another quickly, and giving each other the benefit of the doubt.
  5. Excellence. At LCI we continually cultivate a culture of excellence. God gave us His best and so we strive to give God our best in everything we do.
  6. Big Dreams. Without faith it’s impossible to please God; therefore we dream big dreams that could never be accomplished without God’s help.
  7. Diversity. Since the Kingdom of God is diverse, we think the church should be also. At LCI we intentionally cultivate a ministry that is multi-ethnic, multi-racial, and multi-generational.
  8. Generosity. At LCI we believe that the church should be the most generous place on earth. You can give without loving, but you can’t love without giving.


Visoneering – by Andy Stanley

Values-Driven Leadership – by Aubrey Malphurs

Making Vision Stick – by Andy Stanley

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