necessity’s niños

While it has been interesting exploring that peculiar element called Sunday school (or the lack thereof) in college ministries, there’s a moral to the story that goes far beyond that specific element.

[Some particularly helpful comments have been left, by the way. The first post on Sunday school is here. The second post is here.]

Even if you don’t deal with the occasional difficulties of Sunday morning Bible study, we who labor in the field of Collegiate Ministry have all kinds of other tricky “necessities” to deal with, right?

Like the necessity of creatively dealing with commuter students. Or working in a multi-campus setting. Ooh – urban settings are toughies. Far-away-from-any-college settings, too. Weird demands from those above us. Weird measures of success. Weird hours. Weird students. Few students. Sometimes very few students.

Of course, there’s also the necessity of leading commitment-phobic students. Or dealing with psycho volunteers. Or a lack of volunteers. We also must work with school administration, school rules, space issues, and money issues. Many of us wear several hats at our jobs. And our hats can also include husband, father, wife, mother, boyfriend, girlfriend, or some combination thereof. (Meanwhile, none of those “hats” are ones I wear at the moment. But I hear those roles exist!)

Difficult “necessities” sometimes burden us, so it’s awfully easy just to ignore them. It’s all too tempting simply to “accept” our tricky necessities as “the way it is” and focus on the less-hindered portions of our ministries.

But then Necessity stays barren.

Necessity is supposed to be the mother of Invention, right? I think Necessity wants to have lots of Invention-babies – even in the area of college ministry! Annoying necessities can lead to inventions of all varieties – a tweak here, an imaginative work-around there, even brand-new solutions to annoying ministry problems nobody’s ever thought of before. Necessity provides an impetus to figure it out and invent something new.

Then you can blog about it, or write books about it, and we’ll all be better because of your Invention.

If God is brilliant (and I think He is), then I figure He’d love His brilliance applied in this vital ministry. Maybe just maybe He has left the occasional annoyances of Necessity in the picture as a chance to show off a bit, as He – through us – invents.

So the simple moral of the Sunday school story is, as we have opportunity, to let even “little” necessities become battlegrounds of brilliance:

  • Pray like crazy
  • Think like inventors
  • Muster all the counsel we can

We might just be amazed at the Invention born!

Written from Pacific Palisades, California

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