“The most dangerous phrase in the language is ‘we’ve always done it this way.’” —Grace Hopper
I love this quote. As we welcome 2018, look back at the past year. Is there anything you need or want to change to get different results? Little changes can make big differences just as everyone doing a little can lead to a lot. “This is not your grandmother’s United Methodist Women” allows for everyone to define their experience in United Methodist Women. However, “This is your grandmother’s United Methodist Women” isn’t bad either! We have a strong legacy of mission and fundraising for a purpose. When we build on the “way we’ve always done things” we make it better.
It’s a new year, a new chance to start again, a new opportunity to set and achieve goals. United Methodist Women has been setting big goals since the very beginning. That first goal was nothing to laugh at—send two women missionaries to India. We have never shied away from big goals. This year shouldn’t be any different. We want to increase membership. We want to increase Mission Giving. The communication and invitations that didn’t work last year probably will not work again this year.
“We’ve always done it this way” does not have a place if it’s no longer working.
Figuring out what does have a place in United Methodist Women will take work. Big goals take more than one person to accomplish. They should scare you a little and expand your comfort zone. It’s not enough to state your goal— you need to define the steps to accomplish it.
My program manager in the Peace Corps always said, “If you are working alone, you are not doing development work.” Development work is mission work. We are a connectional organization. We are a community of women whose purpose is to know God and to experience freedom as whole persons through Jesus Christ. I remind myself over and over again when I feel overwhelmed by work and commitments to go back to the purpose and mission of my goals. Don’t just recite the Purpose of United Methodist Women. Use it as a guide to set your goals.
Does $60 million sound like a big goal? Does peace in the Middle East seem like a big goal? They should, because they are! But each day we get a little closer. The Legacy Fund was started to secure funding for United Methodist Women moving into the next 150 years, beyond the lifetimes of the current membership. With each gift of $18.69, less than the price of a restaurant meal, the dollar amount grows.
Big goals are scary because we can’t always see the progress we are making in accomplishing the small stuff. I encourage each of you to celebrate the small steps, review and keep doing what is working, and invite someone to help with the heavy lifting. The Purpose of United Methodist Women is a big goal but together, we make it happen. Together, we are the legacy of tomorrow’s United Methodist Women!