What I Write About

I write about the infinite number of intersections between every day life and the good news of the God who has come to get us.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

"Physician, Heal Thyself"

We've spent much of the first half of the semester on campus talking about raw, intentional, transformational relationships. We've had some fantastic speakers cast powerful vision for authentic spiritual community, and lots of folks are at the point of holy dissatisfaction: they realize that the relationships around them are not at a truly genuine level of authenticity, spirituality, honesty, prayer.

So my job this Thursday as I prepare to speak is to give students some practical steps. The place of holy discontent is great. There is no change without discontent with the status quo. But it is also a very tenuous place--no one can stay there very long.

One of the primary issues I'm taking aim at: busyness. UNC culture promotes and encourages an activity level that is simply incompatible with genuine community. Busyness is the breeding ground of loneliness. Relationships require margin. Without margin, there is no real relating to people.

So I'm pumped about bringing this to my tired community and sounding a prophetic call and invitation to the chapter to find life outside of busyness--to break away from the herd mentality and live a life that's qualitatively better, richer, more settled, more at peace.

But then I look at my calendar. And I realize that I've booked myself to speak this week on campus and at a local church on Sunday. And I realize that I'm maxing myself out and living my life about as close to my limit as possible. And I see that I have very little margin for community...I'm barely able to serve my family and give them the time that they deserve.

So I'm in process of repenting myself today as I practice this talk that calls my students to repent. I pray that this might not only transform them, but that it might be taking root in my own soul (and my own calendar), as well as theirs. It is a good thing for me to speak as one who knows he is also on the journey, not as one who thinks he has it altogether.


TwoSquareMeals said...

Do you ever worry that this sort of message could backfire in a student-led ministry? I think it is a good message, don't get me wrong. But I also know that at least one former IVer left leadership because she wanted to step back from busyness and have time for real relationships.

So where is the balance? How can IV, or a church, or any organized Christian group run effectively while still making sure that everyone has time for forming real community and real relationships? I'm not attacking here, just posing a question that I have been thinking about a lot lately and hoping you may have some insight since your chapter has been thinking about this too. I'd love to hear more of what you have to say on the subject.

Jason M said...

Some thoughts in response to your comment 2squaremeals:

I'd say that the success (or number of leaders for a ministry or church) is ultimately irrelevant. For the IV staff worker or church leadership, the primary purpose (important as it is) is not to build a successful and effective ministry, but to help form a community where people can connect with each other at a deep and real level and connect with God in a real way in the midst of that community. This does require leaders, but not leaders who are sacrificing their own God-given need for community and relationships in order to develop the ministry.

Like Alex, I have students who are grossly overcommitted to any number of organizations on campus, not to mention their classes and intramural sports. So I'm constantly having conversations about priorities and looking at how we're spending time (I'm in the midst of doing that for my own life because, like Alex said, it's so easy to just max out your schedule and not make time for people - like my wife . . .) But when it comes down to it, I'd rather have a student step down from leadership than continue to try to serve and sacrifice their relationship with other people (and God). My ultimate concern is for growing disciples, so if that means the ministry takes a hit, then so be it.

Just some rambling thoughts - I know there's so much more to this conversation . . . but it's been a while since I've commented on any of your awesome postings, Alex!

Alex said...

two-square: we'll see after tonight's talk! it's something that i have to constantly lay before the Lord...and evaluate myself: how much am i a part of the problem??

maybe there will be fall-out/more thoughts over the next couple days.

jason, great to hear from you, bro! and amen to your great comment...

Marshall Benbow said...

I agree with AK - I think that we (IV, the Church) perpetuate the problem, and perhaps if more people did less, there would be as much work being done with more excellence.

AK, I am SURE that you are listening to Take It to The Limit, aren't you?