John Ed Mathison headshot

John Ed Mathison

About fifteen years ago Dr. Bill Bright, founder of Campus Crusade (now CRU), largest parachurch ministry in the world, called and invited me to a meeting in Atlanta. I was invited because I was the Methodist that he knew, and he wanted participation by all denominations. I went and was exposed to some of the great leaders in the Christian movement from around the world. I felt like a mule at the Kentucky Derby!

Dr. Bright shared his vision and invited us to join him in starting five million new churches and reaching one billion new believers by 2020. Wow! That is a bold goal. I was invited to serve on the steering committee.

Being a part of that vision for the past few years has taught me a lot about the process of goal setting, then reaching that goal. I designed the following simple plan that’s been helpful to me at all levels of life. Each step is essential.

SEE THE NEED – Dr. Bright could see the need for a bold new commitment to God’s plan for the world. He saw the need, and communicated it effectively to us. If you never see the need, you never have an urgency to set a goal to meet that need. The size of the need will determine the size of the goal!

SET THE SPECIFICS - Dr. Bright gave specific numbers to the goal – to start five million churches and to win one billion new believers. He put it in print. To see a need or have a great idea and fail to set a specific goal usually means the need will never be met. The goal must be measurable, motivational, and meaningful to the people involved.

START THE PROCESS – Dr. Bright immediately assigned different people responsibilities around the world. He gave a specific time to start and a specific time to finish the goal. A lot of folks have great ideas, but they never get started. One poor excuse is to say that we might start tomorrow or someday. Tomorrow and someday are not 2 of the 7 days of the week! Get started!

SUSTAIN YOUR EFFORTS – When a goal is really big there will be times where you will get discouraged, or distracted. Those are two of the best tools that Satan uses to stop God’s work.

My specific assignment for the God-sized Vision was India. I have been there five times and ministered to three thousand pastors. Many of them have been persecuted. One was severely beaten. Another had his kids kidnapped. One has gone missing. We don’t suffer anything like that here in the United States. They have a passion to carry out the Great Commission – they won’t let anything stop them.

SURPASS THE EXPECTATIONS – Many people said that Dr. Bright’s vision was impossible. We’re at just over 91% of the goal! We will surpass the goal by 2020!! So many of you have been involved in my participation of this God-sized goal through financial giving that has provided materials, meals, expenses, etc., and by praying bodaciously.

What kind of goals are you willing to set for 2019? I dare you to follow this simple process: See the need, set the specifics, start the process, sustain your efforts, surpass the expectations.

If we use and adapt this or some similar process each day – each week – each year in, as Dr. Bill Bright did, we can one day say with Paul, “I have fought a good fight, I finished the course, I have kept the faith.” (II Tim 4:7) The greatest words we can hear from Jesus when our lives end would be, “Welcome, you have been faithful!” (Matt 25:33)

I pray 2019 will be a faithful year for you!

Contributing Writer