A couple of weeks ago, one of our teammates challenged us to think about a very basic question: Why does Bethel exist?
The question is poignant in its simplicity. And as we talked about why Bethel exists I found myself moving beyond mission statement and core values to an equally simple answer. Bethel exists because we believe we’re doing good in the world.
There’s obviously a lot more to be said about it, but at our core we want to make the world a better place by preparing people to add their own unique contributions to that end.
Why am I here?
My teammate’s question was one I needed to hear and spend time thinking about. It also got me thinking about why I’m here.
Working on a university website can be painful. It’s easy to get discouraged by the magnitude of our task or bogged down by the glacial pace of change or just distracted by the day-to-day. Sometimes I feel like I’m trying to knock down a brick wall with my face. Another teammate compared our work to the myth of Sisyphus (her metaphor was more eloquent than mine). We set a goal, struggle to reach it, and then start again at the bottom when a new group has new needs, or priorities shift, or the online landscape changes.
I bet all of you can relate.
But when I cut away all the confusion and frustration and complexity of writing for Bethel’s website, I know why I do it. I’m here because I believe Bethel is working to make the world better. I believe that our community is full of good people doing good things. I believe that Bethel can prepare those good people to go out into the world and make a real difference. And I hope my efforts to share that message will reach people who want to join us and add their own contributions to making the world better.
How about you?
I challenge you to ask yourself: Why do you think Bethel exists? Why are you here?
For me, answering these questions in the simplest terms possible was a breath of fresh air. It reminded me that we’re all on the same team, and challenges arise not because we have different goals, but because we have different ideas about the best way to accomplish the same goals. And our shared goals are noble, important, and worth working for.
If you’re anything like me, taking some time to think about these questions for yourself will energize you when you get frustrated, help you reach out to your audience in authentic ways, and inspire you to do great work.