In his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, author Stephen R. Covey promoted a principle to be considered by every leader and organization. It was called “First Things First.” Through this idea, he advocated for leaders to focus on what would advance the mission of an organization. “Putting first things first means organizing and executing around your most important priorities,” Covey wrote. “It is living and being driven by the principles you value most, not by the agendas and forces surrounding you.”
When Jesus met Peter, Andrew, James, John and the others who would become His disciples, He mentioned a “first things first” philosophy to them when He said, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matt. 4:19, NKJV). We know this was a major priority in His personal mission, for when He visited the home of Zacchaeus—the despised publican—He told the critics, “For the Son of Man has come to seek and save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10, NKJV).
“Mission First” is the theme of this annual report because I believe that if we are going to be faithful to our Lord’s call to follow Him, we must be about reaching people with the good news of His love and grace. This is our mission and priority. Our “first things first.” Our raison d’etre. And it is done in the context of waiting, watching and working for the return of Christ.
How about you? How are you putting mission first? Regardless of your role— teacher, evangelist, greeter, prayer warrior, encourager, ministry leader, preacher, treasurer—your skills and talents are needed and essential in accomplishing the mission here in the Columbia Union territory.
More than 60 million people live here, many of whom have never heard about the good news of Jesus and His plan of salvation. That’s why I’m thankful for the many initiatives and efforts from the leaders and members in our field. In 2018, for example, all eight conferences and this union concluded an 18-month evangelism emphasis that we called “Share the Light, Share the Hope.” All around our union, pastors, leaders and lay members led meetings and shared their faith. These efforts resulted in a significant number of baptisms! Praise the Lord!
In this report, we share a snippet of how God blessed our union in the last year. We hope it will encourage and affirm your ministries and inspire others to put mission first in 2019.
Dave Weigley, Ph.D., MBA
Columbia Union Conference