Afraid in Public

This is the eleventh post in my series reflecting on ONS. For more posts in this series, check out the series frontpage: InterVarsity's Orientation for New Staff

Fear is a frequent companion in ministry.

We fear rejection.
We fear failure.
We fear persecution.
We fear shame.

And when we're afraid, we often hide. We hide by not doing. We hide by putting on masks. We hide in busyness and laziness and hyper-spirituality. In this, InterVarsity Staff are exactly like everyone else.

One of the most difficult tasks of a minister is to be afraid in public.

Today, our ONS group worked on an evangelism project. We learned how to use a new tool, thought about God's role in evangelism, and actually went out and talked to people about Jesus.

That's right, we actually went out and talked to strangers.

I was terrified.

I don't feel comfortable talking to strangers at parties, much less on the streets of mid-sized, Midwestern Madison. My mother taught me not to talk to strangers (unless they said our secret password ... which was "jellybean").

On top of this, I found myself paired up with a friend, who is a new Staffworker in my Region. What would she think of my fear?

I considered backing out, pairing her up with someone else and spending the afternoon just praying for our Staff as they went out and talked to people.

I considered faking a false confidence, putting on a character and detaching myself from the real people we were meeting. A salesman, a clown.

I considered pretending to be sick, claiming to have too much work to do, walking and talking very very very slowly.

At the end of the day, today, I managed to share my fear, to move forward in the face of fear, to be afraid in public.

I think it helped my friend.
I think it helped the people we talked to.
I know it helped me.

What do you think would happen if more ministers felt more comfortable to authentically share their fear?

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