I fear that some of us have convinced ourselves that New England modesty and propriety inhibits us from being bold or daring. As a result, we have tried to get by with limited resources and scaled-back plans. But I'm convinced that "good enough" never is.
Going forward, if Gordon has been doing "X," I want us to do "X-squared."
We are already making a huge difference through community engagement in the nearby city of Lynn and through managing Old Town Hall in historic Salem. We are the institutional home for Christians in the visual arts, and in May will host the next gathering of Christians in Political Science. But we can do so much more.
If we want to inspire the next generation, we have to articulate a vision for serving not just our own interests but also the interests of others. So to elevate our contribution, we have to ask "How can Gordon College support and encourage the good efforts of those around us to be better aligned with the purposes of God and the flourishing of our world?"
Thomas Merton once wrote, "You are made in the image of what you desire." Stretching the mind, deepening the faith, and elevating the contribution. That is our calling; that is our desire. I pledge to do everything in my power to guide and equip the next generation of Christian leaders with a framework of faithfulness as they influence cultures throughout the world. And I trust you will join me in this effort.
The Gordon Commission is a communal endeavor. But it's not really a strategic plan, and it's certainly not a marketing gimmick. It's the process of weaving together our individual contributions to meet the needs of those around us. It's how our individual stories relate to our collective mission.
May we be an institution that does this and much more in the lives of our students and our community.
God bless you all.