Posted by: Justin Wallace | December 6, 2010

Long Distant Friends :: From Andrew in Australia

*Sometimes I feel like a like a lion stuck in a cage. I can only see the 4 walls that have captured me. My world view is small and minimized. I wonder if, at times, we approach ministry from this place. We only see ministry from the perspective of our context, our culture, our generation, our 4 walls. So, we spin our wheels, thinking that we’re moving but instead the back axle is sinking deeper and deeper in the mud. I see this as a huge temptation that we as American college ministers face. We become so locked into how ministry is done in the context of America that we become more like America than like the Kingdom of Heaven. What is the remedy? How do we protect ourselves from such a myopic view of ministry? I believe we must surround ourselves with friends, mentors and Christian family from outside the 4 walls of this country. I have asked 4 of my friends that work with College students in other countries, other contexts, to share their views of college ministry and their suggestions for us here in America. I asked them, “What would you, someone outside the four walls of the US, say to those of us that are working with college students in the US? Suggestion? Warnings? Advice?” Today’s post comes from Andrew Baron in Australia. (You can read part 1 of this series, a message from Robert Millar in Munich, Germany, HERE and part 2, a message from Greg Millsaps in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico, HERE)

Aussies have no problem challenging leadership. I discovered this quickly after helping cast vision to our student leaders 2 years ago in Brisbane Australia. Hours after meeting them for the first time, they quickly challenged our vision, wrestled with it, and had no problem showing their disdain for it. Although I spent the first few weeks fighting this attitude and lost hours of sleep processing it, eventually God began to reveal a whole lot truth regarding a ministry and its vision.

A vision is worthless unless a student, staff or community owns the vision and sees himself as a means of fulfilling it. As the axiom goes, “visions leak”.

I have discovered that there is a huge difference between students initially accepting a vision and actually adopting it or owning it. A “hand-me-down” vision can lead to confusion, frustration and a “pharisee mentality”. Instead of having students and leaders viewing themselves as free to dream, lead and serve passionately , they become religious and task oriented. Instead of seeing themselves as co-laborers in the great commission, they view themselves as limited followers.

As shepherds of your flock, I pray that you know full well what your vision is and continue to communicate it.

Have you invited your students to cultivate a vision?

Have you allowed them to become apart of that vision and do they pray that it becomes fulfilled?

Do you continually remind them of it?

Are you willing to empower them to fulfill it?

Australia has taught me that a ministry dies when the vision dies.


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