Vision Casting to a Church

Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle

The following text is a transcript of a talk I gave to my home church, Redemption Hill, about my vision for ministry. I used Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle rule to structure my invitation for partnership: I began with the why (the problem), continued with the how (the solution), and ended with the what (the need). Read the transcript below:

July 17, 2016

Good morning Redemption Hill. As Tim said, my name is Alex Burlingame and I have been a member of Redemption Hill for 3 years. Both my fiancee and I attend the 9 o’clock service here, so it is a great honor to share with you the work that God has called me to do with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship at UVA.

As I continue to process that decision to go on Staff with InterVarsity, and why I’m drawn to the college campus, I’m reminded that it is in high school when young people begin to ask really big questions like: “who am I” and “what’s my purpose in life.” But it’s not until they get to college that they really find answers to these questions. They will look to their textbooks, to their professors, to their roommates, and they will find answers.

But my concern is that instead of being told truth, they will begin to believe lies; instead of being told that they are a child of God, made in His image, they will be told that they can be whomever they want to be; and instead of being told that their chief end is to glorify God and enjoy him forever, they will be told that their purpose in life is just to be happy, however they define that.

When I think about the consequences of this –– that these students will go out into the world, living out what they’ve been told in college –– I’m reminded that while college students are only 6% of the US population, they will go on to become 90% of our leaders tomorrow. They are going to be the ones making our policy, leading innovation in the private sector, and shaping, effectively, our culture in the United States.

So my question is this: what can we do about it? Well, in InterVarsity, we believe in establishing witnessing communities on college campuses. And while that looks like bible studies, discipleship, mentorship, seminars, and retreats, it’s not just the 4 years that we have the ability to influence as Staff. We also have the ability to lay a foundation for the next 40 years of their lives, as these college students go on to become our leaders in the marketplace and in the church.

Moments before Kentaro became a Christian

I had the privilege of seeing this play out in my friend Kentaro’s life at VCU, when I was a student leader in InterVarsity. We began to meet every week, reading the Bible, when I quickly realize that Kentaro had never opened the Bible before. I learn that his father was a Mormon, his mother an atheist, and he had know idea who Jesus was. But after three months of getting to know Kentaro, I was able to sit down with him on a Wednesday morning –– February 12, 2014 –– and say to him: “Do you want to be not just be informed by this text, but to actually be transformed by the person and work of Jesus Christ?”

It was that morning that Kentaro said yes, smiling, that he wants Jesus in his life; he wants to become a Christian. So, after praying, we immediately grabbed towels from my apartment, drove down to the James River, and I got to baptize Kentaro that morning in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

But what is more moving than just Kentaro’s conversion story is what happened next. Since then, he has gone on to plant a Bible study in California where he’s from, and he has invited students and peers to Redemption Hill week after week to hear the Good News; he has come onto leadership with InterVarsity to organize our biggest events so that more people can hear the Gospel.

So my charge to you this morning, Redemption Hill, is to consider being a part of the good work the Lord is doing to reach every corner of campus, at UVA and beyond. I think Kentaro’s story is one of many that we could hear from students as we do this work.

In order to do that, I have a $45,000 budget*, and in the next six weeks I have 44%** of it left to raise. So I invite you to pray for me consistently, and to consider giving monthly to this cause. You can find more information about that in your bulletin, and by following either link you can get my email address and we can get in contact.

Thank you so much.


*My budget is actually $50,384. The number I quoted reflected an error in my budget calculations.

**I would have had 51% left to raise when I gave this talk. As of now (August 4, 2016), I have 39% remaining.

A big thanks to Redemption Hill for letting me speak, and to the members who decided to support as a result of this talk. If you’re interested in supporting this ministry, shoot me an email or visit this link. And keep up with this blog for continual updates on the ministry!