As the tributes to Tim Keller continue to pour in, I was struck by a comment my wife Melissa made recently in a podcast with Collin Hansen. As they discussed Tim’s ministry, she made the observation that Tim had the ability to make a person feel ‘seen’ rather than ‘watched’ (starting at 19:33).
I thought that insight was so profound, and so critical for ministry, that I wanted to offer my own reflections on it. In fact, I think the “see” vs. “watch” framework can be a shorthand way to capture two very different approaches to ministry. So, here are a few diagnostic questions for Christian leaders (myself included) to makes sure we are on a healthy path.
In the Room Where It Happens
Here’s the first diagnostic question I would ask: What kind of people do you typically pay attention to? If you are at a Christian gathering of some sort, who are you most interested in talking to?
As I have observed Christian leadership spaces over the last number of years, I have been struck by how many people seem intent on finding the most influential people in the room and making a bee line to them for a conversation. Usually, this happens under the heading of “networking,” but it is remarkable how that always involves talking with people more accomplished or more famous.
I suppose at one level we all want to be among the power players. We want to be with the influencers. We want to be “In the Room Where It Happens.”
Consequently, if we are not careful, Christian ministry can start feeling a lot like politics. It’s all about position, power, and who you know. And that is not only exhausting, but incredibly disheartening.
But, there’s another way—a better way. [Continue reading]