Do You Have a Mission Statement?

Several weeks ago a physician encouraged members of the Christian Medical Society (CMS)/CMDA at Penn State Hershey College of Medicine to develop personal mission statements.  Yesterday morning I engaged in an on-line discussion regarding ministry mission/vision statements.  In the afternoon, I came across an “amusing” but “hard” video regarding the realities/challenges an Emerging Scholar in the Humanities faces (and/or perceives), So you Want to Get a PhD in the Humanities (see below)?*

All this leads me to ask, “Do you have a personal mission statement? If so, how did you come about one?  Was this a part of (or separate from) your undergraduate/graduate academic community, adviser’s mentoring, campus ministry,  “journey,” training?  How do (or would) personal mission/vision statements help address the concerns such as those raised in So you Want to Get a PhD in the Humanities?”

PS.  Some notes from the physician who spoke at the Christian Medical Society Lunch Lecture.  More coming, but I would first like to hear from you 😉

  • Success defined as “‘Be smart + work hard + be nice’ plus some God” is incomplete.  We must be open and available to God integrating into all aspects of our life, even the good onesImagine a Calculus integration problem 😉
    • Note:  I [Tom] understand this to be walking in the Presence of and depending upon the Triune God of Scripture each step of the way. The reshaping of one’s life by the Father’s Love, the Word, the Spirit, and the Body of Christ in the mundane (and at times the extraordinary) enables one to become more and more as God intended one to be.  That is, one created in His image.  One who enjoys, flourishes in, and blesses others with the gifts, abilities, and resources given by God the Father to steward/invest while living One More Day on the creation.  And one who, by the grace of God, also sets one’s heart, will, and action to casting out sin, darkness, and the evil one from all aspects of life, family, and community.
  • Cultivate a vision for life:  a single image which captures your imagination, as it is inspired by God, in movement toward an ultimate goal.
    • Note:  What wakes me up in the morning and brings me to the computer to read/post materials for the Emerging Scholars Network (versus doing so many other things with my life)? The awe-inspiring image of Emerging Scholars on the last day offering the plenty which has arisen from the good growth/investment of head, heart, and hands. An offering which is not given in isolation, but as part of joyous family, friends, and people of God from across the nations throughout history. **

*Passed along to me by a retired faculty friend who commented, “so you want to get a PhD, and teach college…hilarious video…sadly too much truth…” Later I saw posted on the Chronicle of Higher Education and the Michael W. Austin’s blog.

**The Emerging Scholars Network’s Mission Statement The Emerging Scholars Network (ESN) is called to identify, encourage, and equip the next generation of Christian scholars who will be a redeeming influence within higher education.

ESN’s mission is part of the larger vision of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA to see students and faculty transformed, campuses renewed, and world changers developed.

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Tom Grosh IV

Tom enjoys daily conversations regarding living out the Biblical Story with his wife Theresa and their four girls, around the block, at Elizabethtown Brethren in Christ Church (where he teaches adult electives and co-leads a small group), among healthcare professionals as the South Central PA Area Director for the Christian Medical & Dental Associations (CMDA), and in higher ed as a volunteer with the Emerging Scholars Network (ESN). The Christian Medical Society / CMDA at Penn State College of Medicine is the hub of his ministry with CMDA. Note: Tom served with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship / USA for 20+ years, including 6+ years as the Associate Director of ESN. He has written for the ESN blog from its launch in August 2008. He has studied Biology (B.S.), Higher Education (M.A.), Spiritual Direction (Certificate), Spiritual Formation (M.A.R.), Ministry to Emerging Generations (D.Min.). To God be the glory!

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    Mike Austin commented on October 31, 2010 Reply

    This isn’t exactly on topic, but is related to the video and a bit to mission. I was working in a parachurch ministry in the early 90s, when I sensed a call to academia in general, and philosophy in particular. The job outlook in philosophy was poor, and people tried to discourage me from this path. One person said I should get a PhD in communications, since jobs were easier to find and I could still teach critical thinking. I’m glad I didn’t, and although it was tough, I got a tenure-track job right out of grad school even though I did an MA at a Christian university and got a PhD from an excellent institution that still doesn’t have the juice of a top 5 or 10 program. My point is if you are pursuing your true vocation, your true mission, so to speak, there will be a way to fulfill it.

  • Tom Grosh IV commented on October 31, 2010 Reply

    Mike, Thank-you for sharing some of your story!

    BTW, I’m reading, appreciating, and sharing “Wise Stewards: Philosophical Foundations of Christian Parenting” (Kregel Academic, 2009). It “integrates” well with and further develops my understanding of “nations, vocations, families, and individuals offering the gifts of God and creation back to the Father on the last day.”

    This vision has been informed by a number of materials, but the two books mentioned above have been particularly helpful:

    1. Richard Mouw’s exploration of Revelation 21-22 in “When the Kings Come Marching In: Isaiah and the New Jerusalem” (Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. 2002)

    2. Dennis Hollinger’s “Head, Heart & Hands: Bringing Together Christian Thought, Passion, & Action” (InterVarsity Press. 2005).

    Thank-you for your scholarship and writing on the topic of Christian parenting.

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