Vision is what we see through the eyes of faith as God’s big picture call to service for our lives. Mission is what we do about our vision. Mission produces results, and for that we must have a strategy that is operationally effective enough to propel our vision beyond our visible horizon.
The apostle Paul was convinced that God “set him apart”, that he was a “chosen instrument”, for a purpose: to “preach the gospel where Christ was not known”.
His vision: be a pioneer representative and ambassador of Jesus to a non-Jewish constituency.
The mission: teach as many people as he could what he considered most important for them to know about Jesus Christ and what it meant to be His followers. 1
His mission, his strategy, and their outcomes are found in Acts, chapters 16-20.
The strategy: work in small teams, using the mission for hands-on mentorship of future leaders.2
The product: communities of Christ-followers at Philippi, Thessalonica, Corinth, Ephesus, and other cities; each would end up with established local leadership. Some of these local leaders were understudies of Paul or had been his former teammates.
The genius of Paul’s strategy was this: team members were young enough to outlive him, these men and women knew the terrain as well he did, and he imparted his vision to them.
When the mission opportunities changed following Paul’s imprisonment, the operational effectiveness of his strategy became apparent. All over the middle east and eastern Europe where he had gone, thriving groups of new Christian communities took up the task of caring for their members, and telling their neighbours about the virtues of becoming followers of Jesus and living by His teachings. Several of the leaders were native to these communities.
The EMAS Canada project in Burkina Faso aspires to this same strategy.
Working with the next generation of Burkinabe nuns, more experienced Sisters of Holy Cross are building a hospital with a focus on women’s health outside Ouagadougou. They also plan to invest in the secondary education of girls.
These Canadians and Burkinabe are inspired by their vision of seeing the life, teachings, and values of Jesus replicated among the Burkinabe. Healthcare and education are their primary tools for making tangible outcomes from their vision.
They do mission through the ministry of health and education.
We’ve been reminded in the recent months of the inevitability of change and the unpredictability of its timing.
In the Burkina Faso project, another way of protecting our vision for a future beyond our time is engaging those younger than ourselves with the responsibility of funding. This places the ownership on people who will outlive the pioneers.
To this end, I invite you to share the opportunity of coming alongside a former student of the project team leader in fundraising. This benefactor has committed to match every donation received until December 15, 2021, for the health centre in Songdin, Burkina Faso to a total of $75,000!
Donate here and select Burkina Faso
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1. 1 Corinthians 15:1-11, 2. Acts 18:1-5 & 20:1-5
All Scripture references are taken from the New International Version (NIV)
Feature image: photo used with permission.