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16 January 2012

Do I Have a Dream?

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Today we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. King’s name and his famous speech have been referred to a lot in the last several days, and I want to share a thought about why I believe his impact was so great.

You may have heard it said, “Dr. King delivered the ‘I Have A Dream’ speech, not the ‘I Have A Plan’ speech.  Speakers and writers take a different slant on why the distinction is important. But one, author and marketing consultant Simon Sinek, said at a TED conference in Seattle that the “dream” is the key to unlocking a true connection between what a company offers and how the public responds to it.

Other revolutionary thinkers agree. Horst Schulze, former president and COO of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Group, says that if we hire people just to fulfill a function, the employee becomes no different from a chair that fulfills a function. Instead, he says, “We should hire people to participate with us in our dreams.” And when our dreams become their dreams, the services we provide will be measurably better because of the emotional investment of our team members.

It’s all about getting to the “why” – why we do what we do. In Christian camping ministry, it’s quite easy to explain what we do: spiritual formation, horse programs, water sports, outdoor education. But how often do we dig down to the why?

I have a dream that Christian camping will be seen as the No. 1 feeder system of new and renewed Jesus-followers to the church. And that will be because people everywhere will see camping as the most effective way of providing a powerful environment for a connection with God.  Or, as my friend John McAuley of Muskoka Woods said last week: “Camping is the hope of the church.”

That’s a huge “why” at the heart of what we do in Christian camping and at CCCA.

If Dr. King had shared a plan, it likely would have been dismissed by a huge portion of the U.S. population as one more activist’s attempts to affect change. But when he shared his dream, he cast a vision that the listener couldn’t help but imagine. He captured the imagination of a nation the way a TV program captures your attention as you walk into a room, particularly a drama or action/adventure show that you can’t look away from. The visual images King painted with his words spoke passionately and clearly what was in his heart.

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama,… little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.”

See full text of the speech here: http://tinyurl.com/8a4xcjf

How long has it been since you expressed your dreams to someone: your spouse, friends, co-workers, staff members, board members or donors to your ministry? Do they know why you do what you do? Do you?

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