This is one of those instances where something I’m learning fits the blog… but it might be something many of you are well ahead of me on.
I’m learning golf.
I’ve never been a golfer. I had played one – maybe two – “best ball”-style tournaments for my Christian fraternity. But you can be terrible for those.
But with a father-in-law and brother-in-law who play, with guys in my church small group who play, with another brother-in-law who plays, with coworkers who play… I’ve realized the merits of getting “just good enough to hang out occasionally.” It’s hard work, and it’s not always something I feel like doing. (And plenty of times, it’s pretty fun, too.)
What have you learned – or “learned” well enough to hang out with your students – since becoming a college minister? This may have meant reading books your students were reading (even if you couldn’t care less). It might have been video games, or sports, or fandom at your campus. Being “on mission” among your particular campus tribe might have meant learning enough to have a conversation about engineering, or architecture, or politics, or finance.
Obviously, it’s all a balance. You have to discern where to spend your time and your money. But sometimes, we let ministry become more about a narrowly defined view of what’s either “spiritual” or “organizational,” and it gets harder to spend our time – in ways that seem less efficient or less productive – gaining what’s pastoral.
But this summer, while you’re doing everything else to prepare for next semester, you might just need to pick up a book.
Or some clubs.