When I think about the vision for Central, I think about a community that has a strong sense of community, like a big tree planted by streams of water, it provides a shade of rest and vitality of rejuvenation to all kinds of people so that they can get refreshed and recharged to get up and work. A community that is living and flows without stopping or decaying. Is Central that kind of community?
I envision Central to be end-user friendly. Central needs to be in tune with the needs of the students and eventually with the needs of the world. Do students like our service? Does the world like our service? Eventually, does God like and is pleased with our service?
I dream of Central to be a community that listens deeply. Paul Tillich once said, “The first duty of love is listening.” Throughout the Bible we encounter the theme of God hearing the cries of individuals and groups of people. Central needs to listen not only to ourselves, but also to the voices of our constituents, and the voices of the world, but eventually to the voice of God who says, “Hear, O Israel.” After all, God is our Shepherd who speaks and hears our voices. Are we listening?
I envision Central to have a good reputation globally. In contrast to the long history, Central is relatively not well-known outside of the Midwest. Central becomes almost non-existent outside the United States. That’s why Central needs to be entrepreneurial to establish its presence both locally and globally. We already have our presence in the Korean community within the United States and in the Myanmar community, both here and in Myanmar. But it can expand and grow. We also need to find our presence in other global communities and offer what we are best known for: personal and theological hospitality. Do we desire to have a good global reputation?
I think of Central that is agile and lean in these times of rapid and discontinuous change. Schools struggle financially and lack the diversity found in society. The U.S. demographics are changing rapidly. Central has taken initiatives to reflect diversity in our constituency. The agile Central will also try to find our blue oceans, whatever they might be. Are we agile enough to dare to look for those blue oceans?
Finally, I envision Central to be a deep learning community. Any individual or organization that does not learn will lose effectiveness and disappear. In a learning community, mistakes and experimentations are welcome. If we do the same things the same way again and again, we’ll lose our edge. A learning community constantly looks at the horizon and around to learn and engage. Anchored in the truths of God, engaging, innovative, and creative learning will prepare us for the future. Are we learning?
I want Central to be a community that is fiercely and lovingly dangerous for God, for our Church, and for our humanity.