Skip to main content

Standing

I’ve been reading Strong and Weak by Andy Crouch with my Facebook reading group over the last few weeks. He defines “flourishing” differently that I would have initially, but after his explanation, I agree with him. My paraphrase of his definition is doing the thing that requires risk and all of you- and doing it with abandon. It doesn’t really matter if you succeed from the perspective of the onlookers, it doesn’t matter if you’re the best at it, it doesn’t matter if you entirely fulfill your goal. It’s the heart behind what you do, it’s the motivator for why you do what you do. 

I kept comparing his definition of flourishing to parenting initially, as did some of my friends who are also reading the book. Parenting is tough. It is a daily sacrifice and servanthood to little people who may or may not ever know. It’s a stretching past limits I previously thought I couldn’t reach. It’s relying on Jesus in a way I never knew...because I simply want to do it better than I’ve seen it done before....or just better than I did it yesterday. 

But then I started to apply this expression of flourishing to ministry, campus ministry in a dark and empty place. What does it look like to flourish at this, here in this place? 

If I use Crouch’s definition, it really has nothing to do with huge numbers, crazy growth, big names or respect from fellow ministers or missionaries. It has to do with challenging the one to grow, with pushing the few farther than they’ve been pushed before, it has to do with being obedient even when it seems to not make sense, it has to do with being brave and creative and willing. And at the core of it all, flourishing can sometime be just standing and not swaying. 


Serving in our ministry capacity, as far as flourishing is concerned, is simple to say and hard to do. It’s being vulnerable and leading. Vulnerable to extend yourself beyond your limits. Vulnerable to share your life with people that may or may not ever know or care. It’s vulnerably giving up your assumed right of a “successful looking from the outside” ministry. It’s leading because it requires speaking about something that isn’t yet visible. It’s leading because it telling people what it could and will look like. It’s being there for the seemingly unimportant things. It’s training and teaching. It’s having a broader perspective of things than others, yet leading from a place where others sit. Again and again and again. 


And ultimately, at it’s most basic job description, flourishing in our context- whether others agree or believe it- is just standing. It’s having the honor of the one to declare that where you stand is Holy Ground. It’s representing Christ in a place where He is ignored. It’s putting the time in even when it feels pointless. It’s doing what God has asked you to do whether anyone ever sees it or values it or high-fives you for it. It’s praying for miracles and being ok with not getting the chance to see them happen. It’s throwing the seed on the ground that isn’t ready, or acts like it isn’t ready, or just doesn’t want it. 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Tattered Towels and Bumpy Blankets

14 years and 11 months. 179 months. 5449 days ago Gil and I got married. We were blessed with some amazing bridal showers and wedding gifts, all of which filled cabinets and closets with wonderful things that made our home comfortable. We had a big stack of navy blue towels, light blue towels, and a arm load of sheets. Large creamy blankets, dish towels, and cozy throw blankets for the couch. A large portion of those linens died miserable deaths over the years, but the blue towels and the creamy blankets still remain. I remember trying to use the towels without washing them (gross, I know, but I was a new wife and didn’t think about all the grossness hanging out on them) and how they left navy blue fuzz all over us. The blue towels taught me that new towels aren’t useful until they have been washed several times. These towels dried sweet baby faces, cleaned up mega messes, and have hung- practically every day- in my bathrooms for 15 years. Recently, they have been showing their age. O…

Move Over Monday: 26 Followers

Today launches a new edition to Oaks Replanted. Each Monday, I'll move a post over from my old blog. I selected this particular post in honor of my friend Mia. This story happened to me on my way home from a visit with her.

Ready?

Wait, before I share it…could you take a second and become a follower of this blog. It's easy, just sign up in the little box --------> to the right. Thanks!

Here it is:

26 Followers 

I was on the platform first. No signs. No train employees. Just a few benches and a smelly trashcan.  I made my track choice based on the track I arrived on a week prior. Before, I went south and stepped off the train on the far side. So this time, in my limited knowledge of train timetables and track schedules, I assumed I needed to be on this side to return north. I had a 50/50 chance. Now it was time to wait.  My backup plan: Worse case scenario, I grab my bags and make a mad dash down the ramp, under the tracks, back up the ramp on the other side and climb aboard. A…