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The furniture store IKEA says their mission is, “To create a better everyday life for the many people.” Tesla’s mission is, “To accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.” TED, the people famous for TED Talks, defines their mission simply as “Spread ideas.” And then there’s Nike, the shoe people. Their mission is, “Bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.” To which they add, “If you have a body, you are an athlete.”

When you read our Buckner mission statement, it seems simple: “To follow the example of Jesus by serving vulnerable children, families and seniors.” Just 13 words. But look at what it means. “Follow the example of Jesus.”

When you unpack that idea, it can be overwhelming. Jesus shows us how we should live and how we should treat others. I don’t know about you, but the thought of being like Jesus is both exciting and challenging.

The key to following the example of Jesus is found in the word “serving.” Practically and theologically, Jesus shows us how to serve and what service looks like. His life on Earth was a life of service and his death on the cross provides the theological answer to the question of separation from God. 

People often ask me to describe the Buckner culture. In fact, one of our five strategic goals for 2023 is assessing and enhancing our culture. I believe our mission statement reflects our culture – that we are an organization following the example of Jesus and at the heart of our culture is service to others.

Our Buckner mission and culture drive our vision and values. Because we follow the example of Jesus, our vision is “To set the standard of excellence in serving vulnerable children, families and seniors.”

Our values should align with and define our mission and vision. What best describes how Buckner acts? Five words – Faith, Integrity, Respect, Service and Teamwork (FIRST).

Over the past few weeks, our team has identified strategic areas we want to concentrate on in 2023. This strategic direction is guided by our mission, vision and values. Why? Why does a nonprofit ministry spend time on strategic direction? 

We believe it’s a matter of stewardship and excellence. Our stakeholders invest their resources with us, enabling Buckner to serve vulnerable children, families and seniors. We believe we must be the best stewards we can be of your trust in us. Too many ministries think it’s “ready, shoot, aim.” At Buckner, we want it to be “ready, aim, then shoot.” Or to use another metaphor, our strategic direction is the map we use before we even start the car.

We take this very seriously because we know the work we do every day has eternal significance for those we serve. And we take it seriously because we are following the example of Jesus, who always knew where he was going.


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