Managing the Tension

In a couple of my classes over the past couple years, we’ve talked about varying models of the Kingdom, and hence models of ministry. This semester in particular, I have been challenged to choose a model of ministry for campus ministry, explaining why I think that one best fits my ideas of effective discipleship, evangelism, and leadership development. I really believe there are various models that are “best”, meaning one model can’t claim a corner market. However, there may be one that I simply like best and am best able to work out of.

So, saying all of this, I’m feeling a tension between two: 1.) Doing ministry by living out countercultural models, trusting that God will bring people close to Him through this alternate lifestyle. I like this because I primarily see the Kingdom as a subversive kingdom with countercultural values and practices, and 2.) Being missional, meaning instead of being attractional by countercultural values, going out into the marketplace and finding ways to meet them on their turf, engaging with them in all ways that we can.

Perhaps this tension is an appropriate one? If I didn’t have this tension, perhaps I would either promote Puritanism or syncretism. I think this is why I’m intrigued and drawn to the New Monastic Movement— a movement who is committed to spiritual practices, community, generosity, etc. BUT is also very concerned with living in the world- playing with neighborhood kids, opening their homes to strangers, and sharing meals with those who can’t offer back an invitation.

This is a tough tension for me to live with, but as Andy Stanley said at Catalyst 2010, tension is good! In order for us to be successful in leadership, it’s our job to monitor and leverage the tension. The tension between discipleship and evangelism. Between global missions and local missions. Between feeding the hungry and creating spaces for worship. Money creates tension. Relationships create tension.

Where do you most feel this kind of tension in your life and/or ministry?

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