VISION & Mission, Core-values, Core-competencies … what is the difference?

by Bob Whitesel D.Min., Ph.D., 9/15/15.

A student once shared he was trying to distinguish between these four types of statements: core-values, core-competencies, mission and vision.  I tried to simplify them (perhaps overly so), but I wanted to share that synopsis in case you were in a similar scenario.

Here is my response.


Hello ___student_name____,

I don’t blame anyone for getting bogged down today in word-smithing, for there are many writers writing on the same thing, and they often mix their terms.   But, I like most of you believe that a vision statement is important for answering the “why” of an organization.

Thus, here is how I would succinctly explain the difference between a mission statement, a vision statement, core values and core competencies.

Mission: Tells us the what.

Core-values: Tell us the why.

Core-competencies: Tell us the best how (based in part upon how the world thinks we can do it).

Vision: Pictures the future goal of the how.


in addition, here is a chapter from my book A House Divided: Bridging the Generation Gaps in Your Church on the difference between mission, vision and value statements.  As customary, if this helps you consider supporting the publisher and the author by purchasing the book: House_Divided_Chpt5_Vision©BobWhitesel