William Carey, a British missionary to India during the late 18th/early 19th centuries, once said, "Expect great things from God, attempt great things for God." I've lately been thinking a lot about this new favorite quote as our CoMission staff have been looking toward the future while going through a 10-month seminar called Campus Multiplication Network.
This month, we completed our first homework module which was all about casting vision, and Carey's quote was basically the theme of the module. We were given some articles to read and videos to watch, followed by a list of discussion questions that we had to answer about the materials. What were some takeaways? What stood out? What questions did these materials pose? Naturally, something that stood out to me was the necessity of casting a vision for the work we're doing in order to stay motivated on the mission. The article, "What is Your Mission and Vision?," written by Gary Stidham is basically what inspired this week's blog.
Like any other good business, campus ministries need mission statements that clearly explain what they do and why. The "why" aspect of our ministries however, is oftentimes overlooked and this is an important facet that plays into our vision. After all, it's the vision that "keeps us motivated because, by faith, we can see God accomplish it in the immediate future" (Stidham); an ideal picture of where our ministry could be in three to five years from now. Stidham clarifies the meaning of vision, quoting Andy Stanley, "Vision is a clear mental picture of what could be, fueled by the conviction that it should be." Without a vision, I don't believe our ministry can do what we do as effectively because we wouldn't have a picture of the future to fuel our motivation for the labors we exert in the here and now.
Over the summer, our CoMission staff spent an estimated total of 24 hours (3 hours a day for eight days in a two-week period) strategizing and brainstorming to come up with a solid mission statement, plus many other details, for our organization. Today, that statement is "To relentlessly raise up college students as disciple-making teams that glorify God at any cost." While this statement clearly explains what we do, I realized several weeks ago that we completely neglected to incorporate the vision aspect. Looking back at our meeting notes, I noticed that we answered the question of why we exist, but not why we do what we do. Although, I believe each of our staff might have our own mini vision for CoMission, we never considered together what that vision could be for our team as a whole. Lord willing, we'll come to that consensus one of these days but in the meantime, we can each put William Carey's words to practice.
Whatever great things we expect God to do in the next several years, we should allow those expectations to motivate us to keep attempting great things for His glory now.
"Where there is no vision, the people perish." - Proverbs 29:18