I love the difficult questions because they make me think. For the last couple of weeks I’ve been blessed to spend time every day with a room full of thinking people who minister to children, teens, young adults and their families. We’re at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary on the beautiful North Shore of Boston (yes, it’s very easy to go to school in a place that looks like this!) for an intensive residency as students work towards their Doctor of Ministry degree in Ministry to the Emerging Generations. While I’m a member of the three-headed teaching team that includes Duffy Robbins and Adonis Vidu, I’m blessed to be learning and stretched in ways that I hope will make be a better follower of Jesus Christ and a better ministry practitioner.
We’ve had some stimulating and theologically deep conversations about these matters with this cohort of doctoral students. These aren’t easy questions and we rarely all agree, but they are questions we need to be asking. This year we’ve consulted with some great writers who have led us into pondering the why and how of what we do. . . people like Gordon Smith, Eugene Peterson, N.T. Wright, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and Dallas Willard. In his book The Spirit of the Disciplines, Willard has a little section under the heading “Christian Leaders Responsible for the Future of the World” . . . that’s on page 245ff if you’re following along at home! What Willard says here is worth thinking about as we ponder how we do ministry in our unique ministry settings. He says, ” . . . the responsibility for the condition of the world in years or centuries to come rests upon the leaders and teachers of the Christian church. They alone have at their disposal the means to bring the world effectively under the rule of God.” Simply stated, what I plan to do in youth group tonight and how I choose to do it has deep deep implications for the future. . . a kind of “butterfly effect” if you will.