One Writer’s Inspired Mission Statement

In his Message for the 46th World Day of Communication, Pope Benedict XVI directly quoted only one Scripture passage: 1 John 1: 3 “to communicate what we have seen and heard.” After reading the Message, I felt invited to spend some time with the beginning of 1 John, and re-discovered a passage that I’d always planned to go back to:

“We declare to you what was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the word of life—this life was revealed, and we have seen it and testify to it, and declare to you the eternal life that was with the Father and was revealed to us—we declare to you what we have seen and heard so that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. We are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.” (1 John 1:1-4) *

This is the very beginning of the 1st Letter of John. It is the inspired Word of God, a beautiful explanation of evangelization (to witness to what we have seen, heard, and touched), and it is a succinct and tremendously profound mission statement for this letter.

Writing a mission statements can be very powerful for a writer; the mission statement can be a motivating force when the project is bogged down; it gives a focus to the project; and it clarifies for the writer his or her own intentions in writing. I have found the writing of a mission statement for my projects very helpful, and I’ve gradually come to realize that I need to spend time developing a mission statement for all of my writing.

I was not expecting it, but this passage from the First Letter of John is going to be my model and inspiration.

*This is the NRSV translation, whose publishers are so gracious that writers are allowed to quote from the text within generous limits and if they give credit (see the sidebar of my website). However, my favorite translation for this particular passage is even more powerful for me as a writer; the New Jerusalem Bible translation really makes it stand out as a writer’s mission statement. I cannot quote NJB without a lengthy process to obtain permission, but I can refer you to it online here. What is the “theme” of your life, that has become the “theme” of your writing, and how would you describe it?


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