At the University of South Florida in Tampa, one frequently encounters a simple, yet profound marketing statement: Big Dreams—Bold Future. It's a marketing piece aimed at recruiting and attracting students who are looking for a place to step out of the ordinary, into something larger, bolder, and more significant. Here at the threshold of our denomination's second century is a time to engage big dreams while anticipating a bold future.
This is a unique moment for Nazarenes everywhere. This is the moment to be done with little things—to extend our reach and enlarge our capacity in a spirit of holy boldness. To do this, five things must accompany our efforts:
- There must be a pervasive spirit of discovery. Jesus knew and communicated this truth to the disciples this way: Open your eyes and look! Big dreams can precipitate a bold future indeed, but not until our eyes are wide open to the discoveries God wants to show us.
- We must be alert to emerging opportunities. Jesus knew that we typically think of life according to its rhythms and seasons. In His day, farmers planted and waited. That's like saying Warren Buffet buys stocks and simply waits to see what will happen. Nonsense! Jesus told the disciples, "Do you not say, 'Four months more and then the harvest!' I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest" (John 4:35).
- The Church of the Nazarene must be known as an engaging community. About heart-deep inside this issue of Holiness Today is the story of the Church of the Undignified. Non-traditional, you ask? Oh, you haven't begun to imagine the whole story. Behind their narrative is an example of the apostolic conviction that no corner of hell itself was off limits to the evangelism of grace, mercy, and redemption through our Lord Jesus Christ. Evolve, our column for and about students, outlines the strategy of how youth can share their faith in their schools. This is about engaging the community of Nazarene teens and students.
- Our second century must confirm the wisdom of our first-century decision to extend our global reach. The first operational center for the Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Service, now known as QANTAS Airlines, was located in Longreach, Queensland, Australia. If you look at the fuselage of the Boeing 747s that QANTAS flies, you will read the name, Longreach. Boarding a QANTAS jet for Brisbane, I read that word, not knowing that it stood for the now-closed airport in the village of Longreach. Knowing I had 14 hours of flying ahead of me, I could only think of the long reach of aviation and how it puts the world within the grasp of frail humankind. In the same way, our church must have the concept of the long reach embedded in our convictions.
- Finally, we must be willing to embrace innovation. Access to a bold future is always through the doorway of big dreams. Change and variation are but two pathways to innovation. When communities change and when the law of diminishing returns accompanies our tried and true methodologies, then we must be willing to embrace innovation. Bresee and hundreds of other Nazarenes saw it—that bold future to which God was luring them. Between them, us, and the future toward which God is beckoning us stand the fertile fields of big dreams.
David J. Felter, editor in chief
Holiness Today, Sept/Oct 2008