There was a time when I first started in student ministry that I wanted to answer every question a student had. I wanted to fix all their problems. I basically wanted to be Superman. You’ve been there haven’t you? You want to sweep in and rescue a student in their moment of struggle or need.

I fail at that. A lot.

Over the last 15 plus years of my ministry I have learned a very important lesson—there is an important polarity to live with in ministry. That polarity is this—the bad news: only God can change a human heart. The good news: only God can change a human heart.

You see, as students have questions or are walking through seasons you will likely want to be an immediate fix to whatever is going on. But much like a Band-Aid, you only cover the problem; you don’t really fix it. Only our Creator can really fix our hearts. We can love someone. We can pray for them. We can share Biblical truth with them. We can provide a safe community to help them navigate their season, but there is going to be a tension to doing relational ministry. I’ve learned that the tension is a very healthy thing.

There is a very real tension in ministry. It’s the tension you feel when you realize that at the end of the day, it’s not about us. We can only do so much. We have to lean into and trust the Lord to do what only He can. It’s a healthy tension, but at times it can be tough. When you are relationally connected and care about someone you want the best for them. You hurt when they hurt.
For me, this tension is a regular reminder that I’m not in control; I’ve simply been given stewardship of them for a season. “My” students are not really mine. They are the Lord’s. That tension is good. It’s a great reminder that one of the best things I can regularly do in my ministry is to open my hands and let it go. Tension is good if it leads you to trust Him more. Embrace the tension by leaning more and more into your Heavenly Father. It’s the best thing you can do for them anyway!

How does this tension play out in your ministry? How can you allow it to lead you into a deeper relationship with Him?

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