Arise: Think Outside the Box
Following through on our commitment to make disciples requires us to step outside of the box and into a world where only our God can guide us through.
Of all the fun things I’ve done in my life, I think having the opportunity to perform in the theater is near the top of the list.
Thinking through the roles I was fortunate to play, nearly all my favorites were in comedies. There’s just something invigorating about hearing a crowd explode in laughter when the timing of a joke is just right. Despite what the students at our church might tell you I think I possess the ability to make people laugh, especially when I start using the token teenage patois. Know what I’m sayin’, bruh?
Students love when I do that.
Think Outside the Box
There’s this saying in the theater world that gets thrown around by directors when a person is crafting a role for a performance. You’ve probably heard this in other contexts, “Think outside the box.” This phrase gets ping-ponged back and forth so much during rehearsals that it’s bound to give someone a headache. The idea is to get a performer to do something, or to think in a way, that he or she might not normally otherwise. A director’s job is to help a performer break down barriers that might be guarding a performance worthy of a standing ovation. The director wants an actor to be vulnerable because a vulnerable actor is a great actor.
Many of us have told stories to our youth groups that might be embarrassing or revealing in some way. This level of vulnerability allows us to connect with our students in a unique way. A few years back the Lord convicted me to take this concept from theater a few steps further to reach students whom I felt the church hasn’t done a great job reaching.
I’m willing to bet this also is on many of your agendas. Our burdens are certainly varied and many of us ministering in this current age feel some sense of urgency to connect with people we feel the church has left behind. If you’re anything like me, you have probably even ventured into these waters only to find yourselves throwing up your hands at a loss.
Stories of Vulnerability in the Bible
The Bible is littered with stories about people diving into situations with which they have little to no experience in handling. Abraham, Moses, Esther, Jonah, Ruth, Paul…the list is seemingly endless; and these are just some stories we talk about all the time, let alone the stuff we rarely ever touch. The thing that continues to connect us to stories like this is the simple fact that these biblical juggernauts venture into the unknown with their mustard seed of faith intact. They become vulnerable by stepping outside the box. Theological minutiae aside, it seems to me that God wants us to do the same when He asks us to do important stuff.
One great instance of vulnerability in the Bible is when Abraham leads Isaac up the mountain to the altar of the Lord. Imagine Abraham retelling this story to his friends:
“So, I was heading up the mountain with my son Isaac. You know, the only son I have? I built the altar and fired up the wood. About that time Isaac asks me, ‘Where’s the lamb, dad?’ So I looked at him and said the Lord will provide, son.”
And he did, but this story has the appearance that Abraham had manned up enough to look his son dead in the eye and answer his question without hesitation. I think there’s little chance he didn’t have trembling in his voice. My guess is that Abraham was ready to answer this question, but he did so with a fearsome anxiety towards what would happen if the Lord allowed this thing to end in a tragedy.
Abraham didn’t exactly know how the Lord was going to provide for him that day, but he was vulnerable enough to know if he continued cultivating his mustard seed the Lord would get him out of this situation.
I don’t always understand things. This has been frustrating for me at times because I feel inadequate when I can’t explain the things going on around me. I feel like I owe it to people to be able to write a dissertation on why exactly I’m committed to reach the students I feel burdened to reach. The problem with stepping outside the box is realizing how scary it is outside of the box!
I think this is what the Lord is asking of us.
Vulnerability is the space when Proverbs 3:3-5 becomes more than a neat tattoo or a quotable bible verse. Following through on our commitment to make disciples requires us to step outside of the box and into a world where only our God can guide us through. It won’t be easy, but you know what they say about things that aren’t easy…
Seth Millhoan is a family man from Cincinnati. His wife and three daughters keep him on his toes at all times (wife Michelle adds this more accurately describes how they feel about him). Seth is the Student Minister at a church called LifeSpring Christian Church. Catch up with him at Bloc Coffee Co. this November at NYWC while your exploring the Queen City. He’s on Twitter and Instagram as @queencityseth.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the YS Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of YS.