A few weeks ago I spent some time with a group of potential church planters in Connecticut. For these men and women, the week was labeled an Assessment Center. Over the course of 2 1/2 days, they and their spouses spent a great deal of time being interviewed about ministry vision, marriage and family health, spiritual life, and more. Almost five years ago I walked through the same process with my wife Carrie.
I remember the intensity of that week. I remember feeling as if much of our future was dependent on the decision of this team of assessors whether we were fit to start a brand new church. Not only did their approval mean we were sent, but it also allowed for denominational funding and a great deal of future support. To say the least, it was a week of stress and wonder about what God was doing in our lives.
It was a week of tension.
So this week, I had the privilege of serving as one of these assessors and experiencing the other side of this process. It is a great honor to be allowed into the personal space of men and women who are passionately risking it all to follow God’s call into church planting. To sit and listen to their stories, their experiences, and their questions about the future of ministry and then sit with other godly men and women as we prayerfully ask for God’s wisdom is a great weight.
What I found was that the tension was no less.
When Carrie and I walked through the assessment, I remember about halfway through telling her that no matter what happened this had been a good process. My stress and worry over whether the assessors would “accept” me slowly dissipated as I realized that we were not two groups, but rather one group seeking God’s direction for my life. And that was an incredibly powerful realization. I couldn’t remember the last time a group of godly leaders stood beside me asking for God’s calling on behalf of me. Of course it was still full of tension, but it was a different sort of tension–a unified tension.
Patrick Lencioni, a great author and organizational thinker, makes a powerful statement:
“Trust is knowing that when a team member does push you, they’re doing it because they care about the team.”
So, for several years I wrote a personal blog that was full of ramblings about life and ministry, leadership and fun. And it was a great outlet for me. But then, I started a doctorate program and got swallowed up in reading and writing research papers. I’m still in that world, but I’ve found some margin and have started to understand that I truly need a bit of creative outlet.
That’s what has led me to launch Tension Leads.
I don’t want my creative outlet to simply offer more ramblings. My goal is that it would enter into the natural tension of others’ lives and possibly add more tension. But not tension for the sake of tension; instead, I’m hoping this is a unified tension that leads us all to better places. I’m praying that the tension we engage here–focused primarily on emerging leaders who are walking toward the things God has for them–will make us stronger. I’m praying that our pushing of each other through these writings and dialogue comes from a deep awareness of care for each other.
So have fun here as we dig deep. Comment on what you care about. Disagree where you’d like. And more than anything, let me know how I might be able to help by bringing more tension to your world!