Terrorists, Dr. Kevorkian, and Other Ways to End Things



By Amanda Leavitt

An associate of mine loves to suggest that we “blow up” or “kill” certain older, sick, and dying ministry models. I have considered calling him a “ministry terrorist.”

I’d rather we lead these ministries into a quiet coma where they die unnoticed. I have considered calling myself “a ministry Kevorkian.” I’d be comfortable euthanizing our old, sick, and dying ministry models, and then replacing them with new ones totally unnoticed. Too bad people always notice.

One picture is a violent end while the other a peaceful deliberate exit. The intentions of both are complete termination. Both, often well intended by the ones who have arranged them, are destructive, and leave behind wounded survivors, bitter over what was taken from them.

In a conversation with some high school students about the paradoxical connections between prayer, suffering, and death, I gained perspective from one insightful student’s thoughts: “Sometimes people respond to death as though it is the worst possible thing, but it isn’t.” She was talking about the loss of people, but I think it applies generally to our expectations of life.

And while the end of anything, no matter how it leaves us, will be followed by mourning for some, the Christian reality of death is resurrection, new life, glory, and the presence of God. Perhaps that’s why my one associate finds so much joy in the thought of “killing” certain ministries, because in these “deaths“ lie the potential for new life and something gloriously filled with the presence of God.

I have become fascinated with the concept of “re- visioning.” It is a less icky mind-picture than the carnage involved in “blowing things up” or “euthanizing” them. “Re-visioning” is instead a willingness to accept that all things end while at the same time dreaming of the glorious, God filled, lively experiences to come.

The 30 Hour Famine has been going on for years. The stories written on this blog are a testament to the amazing life yielded as we “re-vision” with our ministry teams and students. In life as believers we all reflect at times and see what is aging in our lives and ministries. We are of course allowed to mourn the losses as they come, but we ought to keep in the habit of “re-visioning.” In this way God’s promises become reliable assurances to us when things age and begin to die off.

Whether you are a youth pastor, a youth leader, a parent, or a student reading here today, how are you patterning your life to allow God to “re-vision” with you through the life cycles; in your personal life? In your family life? In your walk with Him? In ministry? With your friends or coworkers? In your habits? In your hopes and dreams?

As you intentionally consider this question, meditate on these scriptures:

John 12:24
Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.

Psalm 30:5
Weeping may last for the night, But a shout of joy comes in the morning.