Vulnerable ministry resonates with folks in my generation, at least it does with me.
Why is that?
1) We know our own brokenness
2) We've been burnt by authority
3) We long for connection
I think this is true and that I can both defend and explain this. But I wonder if there's more to it than simple generational resonance.
I've been wrestling with this teaching on vulnerability since the Urbana conversation on Jesus' Incarnation. Why did Jesus make himself vulnerable?
In our Small Group at the LaFe Staff Conference today, we studied the beginning of Luke 4, where Jesus is tempted. Jesus allows himself to be tempted by the devil. The passage even says that the devil led Jesus around (to a high place and to the top of the temple in Jerusalem). He went into the desert and fasted for forty days, making himself weak. Why did he do that?
Jesus made himself vulnerable, facing rejection, misunderstanding, abandonment, fear, exhaustion, humiliation, failure and death, even death on a cross. And he could have had a successful ministry without any of this. "Successful."
Jesus could have commanded loyalty, projected clarity, forced commitment, demolished threats, worked without tiring, led without suffering, thrived and shattered the cross. Who wants a cross? Who wants a weak God, a God who can die?
I don't always want a God who can die. I'll be honest. But I treasure the truth that I have a God who will die, who would die, who did die, who did more than just die, who died and lives and works wildly in this world and in me and in us.
Two rationales for vulnerable ministry, then, are these:
1) Vulnerable ministry resonates with this generation
2) Jesus' ministry hinged on his vulnerability