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

ChurchSignFailJust 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 recent 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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