What’s the Difference Between Church Mission Statements and a Tagline?

Just Do It. 

This may be the most known marketing slogan in the world.

25 years ago, Nike fused brand and tagline with three words. A USA Today article highlighted the development of this global mantra, pointing out that Just Do It “has energized a generation of athletes and it continues to do that. That’s the uniqueness. It resonated far beyond what anybody could have expected.”

Inevitably as I walk church leaders through the vision pathway process, and we develop or redevelop their mission, the question arises “who is the mission for, insiders or outsiders?” There are sharp differences between a mission statement and a tagline. Simply put:

  • Mission statements are designed to engage the congregation.
  • Taglines are designed to engage the crowd.
  • Mission statements raise awareness in the church toward the Great Commission’s priority.
  • Taglines raise awareness in the community toward the Church’s personality.
  • Mission statements are not intended for the church sign.
  • Taglines are great on the church sign (when they are good see #churchsignfail above).
  • Mission statements send-out.
  • Taglines draw-in.

You may not even know that “Just Do It” is not even Nike’s mission statement. The mission of Nike is to bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.

3 words capture the personality of Nike and 11 words catapult their calling.

Here are a few examples from Auxano’s experience in the church world of navigating the development of mission and tagline:


A First Baptist church in the deep south wrestling with their “Country Club” persona…

>>Mission – Guiding people to discover life’s greatest treasure in Jesus.

>Tagline – Discover Life

A suburban church reaching a busy upper-middle class community…

>>Mission – Connecting people each day to the real Jesus in a real way.

>Tagline – Live for More

Another suburban church in the South expanding their influence…

>>Mission – To love and lead everyone we meet into an everyday walk with Christ.

>Tagline – Everyday Matters

Reaching an independent culture in the Western plains…

>>Mission – Living Life as though Jesus were living through you.

>Tagline – Live the Life

A large regional church in a tranisitioning community…

>>Mission – Caring for people and connecting them to Christ

>Tagline – Find a better tomorrow.

Just in case you might think taglines are a new phenomenon or are tempted to write their necessity off to secular marketing influencing the sacred, take a look at the following images from the ribbon cutting celebration of a Baptist Church in northwestern PA from 1949. Even back then, they positioned themselves to be: A Church that helps you find New Life. 


What about your church or organization?

>> Can you define a unique and clear mission that captures the heart of your calling and activates your congregation?

>> Do you present your personality and the heart of God for the community in a compelling way?

The process of capturing both takes more time than you probably have and more effort than you probably think. But the results can be transformational and resonate beyond what you might expect.

So… Just Do It.

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Bryan Rose

Bryan Rose

As Lead Navigator for Auxano, Bryan Rose has a strong bias toward merging strategy and creativity within the vision of the local church and has had a diversity of experience in just about every ministry discipline over the last 12 years. With his experience as a multi-site strategist and campus pastor at a 3500 member multi-campus church in the Houston Metro area, Bryan has a passion to see “launch clarity” define the unique Great Commission call of developing church plants and campus, while at the same time serving established churches as they seek to clarify their individual ministry calling. Bryan has demonstrated achievement as a strategic thinker with a unique ability to infuse creativity into the visioning process while bringing a group of people to a deep sense of personal ownership and passion.

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comment_post_ID); ?> Thank you Ed for sharing your insights into the Church Growth Movement. I have my reservations with Church Growth models because it has done more damage than good in the Body of Christ. Over the years, western churches are more focused on results, formulas and processes with little or no emphasis on membership and church discipline. Pastors and vocational leaders are burnt out because they're overworked. I do believe that the Church Growth model is a catalyst to two destructive groups: The New Apostolic Reformation and the Emerging Church. Both groups overlap and have a very loose definition. They're both focus on contemporary worship, expansion of church brand (franchising), and mobilizing volunteering members as 'leaders' to grow their ministry. Little focus on biblical study, apologetics and genuine missional work with no agenda besides preaching of the gospel.
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comment_post_ID); ?> Thank you for sharing such a good article. It is a great lesson I learned from this article. I am one of the leaders in Emmanuel united church of Ethiopia (A denomination with more-than 780 local churches through out the country). I am preparing a presentation on succession planning for local church leaders. It will help me for preparation If you send me more resources and recommend me books to read on the topic. I hope we may collaborate in advancing leadership capacity of our church. God Bless You and Your Ministry.
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