a culture of (hard) conversation

The church I’m part of, like all churches, has its own particular “personality.” There are areas where we seem to excel, and areas where we don’t… areas where we focus more than other churches, and areas where we focus less.

One area in which God seems to have developed our church is our willingness to have the “hard conversation,” to “push in” when conflict arises or confrontation is needed – not in order to fan the flames, but to build lasting peace and spur each other on. (We’ve even had the chance to share some of those principles in war-torn Africa, which is pretty neato.)

Of course it’s messy, and nobody gets it perfectly right, but it happens to be a random way our church tries to excel.

And lo and behold, I’m noticing that this “culture of conversation” is growing me. I’m becoming a little braver, a little more willing to have those conversations if/when they need to happen. I want to be wise. I want to overlook an insult whenever that’s needed. But there are times to speak rather than settle, and I’m more willing to do that now.

What does this have to do with your college ministry?

Possibly quite a bit.

Because I realized that this could be one of the most powerful ways you could grow individual students and a culture of discipleship in your whole ministry… if your students were simply brave and wise, loving but also truthful, willing to forego fake easy-peace and lingering resentment for the difficult but necessary conversations with roommates, friends, family members, and each other. Get that balance right, and this would change your ministry, and it would change them forever.

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