Inside Out 300: Family Mission Statement

01.15.14 | Martha Manikas-Foster

We welcome the new year with energy to work toward change. If learning more about how to keep God in the center of your family is one of your goals for this year, listen in on this Inside Out conversation with Joelle and Jamie Zimmerman, founders of the Cortland, NY-based ministry Mission-Family.

At a stressful point in their parenting fifteen years ago, the Zimmermans began applying the slogan “begin with the end in mind” to their family life. The result was a Family Mission Statement, something the whole family worked together to develop and even now continue to reference.

The Zimmermans now teach other parents the process of developing their own Family Mission Statements. They guide parents to look at what our culture says about families and then encourage them to think about how they were raised--and how this influences their own approach to parenting. They conclude by helping parents articulate the characteristics they want to encourage in their families over time and then help them build a plan to reach those goals.

“We have found that many people are like us—and they have an idea how they would like their children--their family--to turn out, but don’t necessarily have a plan to put that in place,” Jamie says.

“They may have a goal in mind, but often times it’s not the same goal,” Joelle adds. “So Mom may have one idea how they see ‘family;’ Dad has another. We thought we were on the same page, and the process really brought us together as a family 15 years ago. We brought our children into the process and helped us really have that common goal.”

It’s important to the Zimmermans that they work with several parents at a time. That’s because they want families to know that--no matter the particulars of what each one is facing—other families face similar struggles.

“People often look across the aisle or down the pew and think that everybody’s ‘got it together’ with their family,” Jamie says. “In fact . . . nobody really has it together and we’re all really dealing with the messiness of life. And we believe that bringing people together to understand that they’re not alone in that endeavor is really, really important.”

Mission-Family will be conducting a workshop at Grace Christian Fellowship in Cortland, NY on Saturday, January 18, 2014. Learn more about this workshop and visit Grace Christian Fellowship's website for more information.

You can listen to the Inside Out conversation with Joelle and Jamie Zimmerman by clicking on the Listen or Download icon above.

“Putting God at the center of our families is an urgent matter and takes focus and intentionality,” says Jamie in our interview. “The mission statement is a tool. And the process of developing one, within a group of like-minded families, can provide a compass for a healthy, Christ-centered family.”

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Inside Out airs Wednesdays at 12:20pm EST during the Family Life Noon Report.

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