Monday, May 17

Some Holy Discomfort

A couple of weeks ago, I had the privilege of getting together with nineteen of the finest Christian men in our country. The things that brought us together were the fact that we each have been in ministry on college and university campuses for at least 20 years (in fact, the total combined experienced was over 500 years) and a love for the Kingdom of God and a desire to see it grow - especially on college and university campuses.

Though we spent some time talking about transitions and the next steps for us and the ministries we work with, what I mostly experienced was a continued enthusiasm for ministry to college students. We spent more time talking about how to channel our strengths and opportunities and overcome our weaknesses and challenges than we did about what comes next for us as individuals. That is one of the reasons why I have such great respect for the men I was with (and others, who weren't able to be there). They have been through the battles on campuses and with Christians who don't grasp the vision of campus ministry. They have spent decades teaching students, training staff, raising millions of dollars of support, and traveling all over the world in a ministry setting that has few of the "perks" of many church settings. But rather than counting down the days until they can transition out, their minds were on what's next for the Kingdom and the ministries that we believe in and care about so deeply. After spending a couple of days together, I left as enthused about campus ministry as I have ever been.

But I also left challenged. Late one night, after our day's meetings were completed, a small group of us were sitting around and chatting. One of the group asked, "What in your life or ministry is making you rely upon God right now?" One by one, friends shared about the things taking place in their lives or ministries that were keeping them on the "edge" of their faith - things that were pushing the envelope of their abilities and resources and forcing them to rely upon God. As I listened, I came to realize that, even though I wasn't just going through the motions of ministry and that we have seen God do some amazing things in the lives of students over the past few months, I have been operating pretty much in my comfort zone. The ministry is going well. My family is doing well. Our ministry's financial situation has been pretty stable. It has been a pretty comfortable place to be.

But I don't think God calls us to just be comfortable. And I don't want to just be comfortable. I want to walk in faith. I want to trust God. I don't want to be content with visions and dreams that are small enough that I can accomplish them. I want to be moved by God's visions and dreams - things that are only accomplished when God is providing the power and wisdom and resources. I don't know what any of that means right now. But I am praying for some holy discomfort.

1 comment:

Gretchen Magruder said...

I'm so thankful for the "long-termers" (sounded nicer than "old-timers"!) in campus ministry and the example you guys set. Excited to see what comes from this discontent...