My name is Jeff Stoner, and I currently serve as board secretary for HOH. I am married to Jesslyn and have five children ages 9-21, four daughters and one son. I came on the board in 2007 at age 32. If you would have cut all the other board members age in half, I would still have been the youngest board member. Now that I have served for 15 years, I am no longer the youngest board member, but I have the longest tenure.
So, what has changed since 2007? We have seen lean years, where donations were down and we were really pulling our reserve funds, and years where funds were plentiful. We have seen the budget double in size since 2007, but more than that are the internal changes. About three to four years ago we had some board meetings where we talked about mission, vision, and values. Some of this was spawned by the need to transition, as Bob Kauffman was retiring, and J. Mark expressed the desire to transition at age 65. So, we needed to hire some new staff and define what their responsibilities were going to be, if the ministry was going to carry on for another generation. Part of the outcome was the creation of a new position, that of Executive Director, which Tony High was hired to fill. He has been such a blessing to the ministry.
When we first started talking about mission, vision, and values, a guest speaker came and spoke to the board, and I remember thinking—is this really necessary? We know what our mission is, to spread the gospel, and we are doing it. “On the Air until Jesus Comes in the Air” and “Circling the Globe with the Gospel of Jesus Christ” are two of the older mottoes of HOH. Our values aren’t changing, we are still committed to the Word of God. (One job of the board is to hold the ministry accountable and make sure it doesn’t drift away from its core values.)
Over time, I have come to see the value of taking the extra time to clarify our mission and vision. HOH’s condensed and revised mission is “We will use media to make disciples of Jesus Christ to accomplish the great commission in our lifetime.”
It is beneficial to have a well-defined mission/vision as we ask questions like—are the things we are doing day to day helping us reach our goal, or have we drifted off course a bit, and are we doing things that may be better suited for another ministry? For example, giving dollars for humanitarian aid rather than sharing the gospel. There is a limited amount of dollars in the budget. What are we going to use it for? Having a well-defined mission is helpful as new opportunities arise—does this fit our ministry? It can be hard to tell someone no. It is nothing personal, your work is a valid cause, but HOH’s focus is using media and literature (primarily Bibles) to share the gospel. That is where we will focus our energy and funds; other opportunities will be directed to other ministries.
Defining our mission and vision is key in keeping us focused and motivated. Our vision states we will work to accomplish the Great Commission in our lifetime. That can seem like an audacious goal. No, we don’t accomplish it on our own strength or by ourselves, but in God’s strength and in partnership with believers worldwide. The great commission seems huge. We can tend to think it won’t happen in our lifetime, so that can lead to not really working at it, and it becomes a self-fulfilling, self-defeating prophecy. We don’t want to be guilty of dreaming smaller than God.
I see a focus, not only on expanding the ministry, but on doing what we do, better. I know Arlin is always looking for ways to get Bibles printed at a better price and putting safeguards in place to be sure the Bibles are going where they are supposed to go. (Yes, unfortunately, there is sometimes corruption, even in things like Bible distribution.) Tony, Arlin, and Jeremy each brought new talent and ideas of how we can expand the ministry. Radio is still the main focus, but new technology has given many new opportunities to expand the ministry and reach more people.
I see a new level of excitement and energy at HOH. There will no doubt be more transition and changes in the coming months and years, but Lord willing, HOH will be “on the air until Jesus come in the air.”
– Jeff Stoner, HOH Board Secretary