A corollary to yesterday’s thought on “organic ordination“: Though we may want to allow more of our outreach opportunities to be determined by our students’ present involvements and passions, that doesn’t mean we move quickly to “ordain” these as good ministry-wide outlets for service.
Instead of being hasty with “the laying on of hands,” my present job has reminded me of the value of playing it slow.
Wait. Watch. See how an organization’s work unfolds. Get to know its leaders. If it’s a cause, learn all you can about the history, the why, the how. Maybe put a student or volunteer team in charge of vetting causes and opportunities, and shepherd them through months of discernment. Perhaps you’ll find that a cause isn’t worth fighting, or that a cause is worth fighting – but in a different way than students presently do. Maybe you’ll discover that an organization isn’t quite as excellent, as Christ-centered, or as focused as you thought… or maybe you’ll find those perfect partners that you can’t wait to direct students to.
It’s okay if a cause or an organization simply percolates for a semester or a year! Of course it’s good if we’re using that time well (and not simply pausing for pausing’s sake). But in the end, it’s far better to choose carefully (even if we are choosing more organically) than to point students to organizations or efforts that aren’t worth the push.