Everything is Not Okay in Your Ministry. And That’s a Good Thing.

Seth Godin writes:

Is everything okay?

Unless you work in a nuclear power plant, the answer is certainly no (and if you work there, I hope the answer is yes.)

No, everything is not okay. Not in a growing organization. Not if your company is making change happen, or dealing with customers. How could it be?

This certainly applies to Christian ministry. Sin and suffering exist–therefore, everything will never be “okay” in our ministries. There will always be people to reach with the Gospel, individuals in need of the fullness of life with Jesus in the Holy Spirit, individuals on the margins desiring authentic human relationship and community.

As Fr. James Mallon explains in Divine Renovation: From a Maintenance to a Mission Parish,

Vision begins with a sense of discontent, of dissatisfaction with the way things are…the key to being passionate about our picture of the future is to find that dissatisfaction and scratch and scratch and scratch until it drives you crazy…too often, those in leadership positions ignore the itch or seek to medicate it. They seek to live peaceably within their reality. (p. 248).

Godin asserts that making everything okay is what many managers focus on. The quest for “okay” is what too many in ministry desire. A sense of “peace,” but not necessarily the holy peace of yielding to the Lord Jesus Christ. Peace of “okay-ness.” Stability. Getting a well-oiled program in place and running it, over and over and over without change. A parish that doesn’t have challenges to adapt to, that’s the goal–an “okay” parish without the need for agile leadership. A sudden or evolving shift in conditions, a change in the community–these are problems, rather than opportunities.

Godin explains:

We spend so much time smoothing things out, we lose the opportunity for change, or for texture or creativity. Instead of working so hard to make everything okay, perhaps it is more helpful to work hard at living with a world that rarely is.

As Paul VI so clearly explained, the Church exists to evangelize. Evangelization implies that everything isn’t okay. Let us aim not to make things “okay” in our ministries, but instead to cultivate the holy discontent to envision a better future in Christ Jesus and live joyfully knowing that the Holy Spirit enables us to bear fruit in the midst of ever present (and evolving!) opportunities and challenges.

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2 thoughts on “Everything is Not Okay in Your Ministry. And That’s a Good Thing.

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