family business

I was reminded this week of the value of discussing “family business” – you know, those ministry realities that we’d rather not share. When a leadership change needs to be made, when a program fails, or when some other disappointing, behind-the-scenes reality shifts our ministry’s journey.

This is an encouragement for you to lean into those sorts of conversations with your students.

Your regular college students have given to you from their limited hours, investing not only in their own spiritual development, but also investing in the ministry you lead. Many of your students have taken ownership by leading or volunteering or simply bringing buddies. And they’re adults, or close enough to it that no one laughs at that statement.

So don’t they deserve straightforwardness whenever possible? And can’t they learn a lot from “hard conversations” about ministry and life and sin?

Another important reminder on this topic: Some of your Christian students came out of youth groups or churches where straightforwardness was not the norm, where “information management” was commonplace, or at least where they weren’t debriefed when something went terribly wrong. A youth leader simply “disappeared” one week, and – at least for awhile – gossip was the only chance to learn why. The church’s pastor left, and no one told “the kids” why. Or some leader blatantly fell into sin, and everyone knew why, but no one helped the students process in a way that didn’t leave enormous scars. This sort of thing doesn’t apply to everyone in your ministry, but perhaps more of them experienced some sort of church terribleness than you realize.

So no college minister wants to remind students of those painful times, by avoiding the hard conversation or the direct truth. And for everybody else, these students need you to lead them in the sin-carved valleys. There are times (obviously) for patience or reticence. But not as often as most of us tend to default to. Right?

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