One reason, among many, that I love the way Desire Street Ministries operates, is how we don’t operate. We are not a consulting firm being hired by ministry leaders to help them reach their mission. Instead, we have a partnership model, in which our intent is to walk alongside ministry leaders working in the most at-risk neighborhoods of the Southeast, and partner with them to achieve their mission. The difference may seem subtle, but it is actually huge.
It is not about Desire Street giving our recommendations which end up sitting on a shelf, while we move on to the next gig. It is about allowing the Holy Spirit to reveal to the leaders, and to our ministry staff, where there is stirring to step ahead or in a different direction, or perhaps to tighten a particular area of their ministry. A practical example of this is when we administer the Thriving Index and together we see what may need to be addressed—such as a more functioning and cohesive staff, or expanding and strengthening the board.
When we have ideas and solutions, we can help our partner implement those through coaching, tools, and resources. This is helpful because often they feel isolated and don’t have access to this kind of support.
Yet there are those times when we don’t have any answers, or if we do, they are answers that are “surface” and don’t really address the issue. There are moments in conversations where we can’t say “the Lord will restore your marriage if you just do this…”, or “that mother in your neighborhood will stop abusing her daughter if you just say this…” There are some deep wounds of despair that we cannot provide answers for.
So we sit. We sit in the pain and suffering with our partners, and love them where they are. And, in prayer, bring the pain, in hope, to the feet of Jesus. The beauty of Desire Street’s collective group of 7 partners is that they do this for each other, and for each of us on staff of Desire Street.
In Luke 18: 9-14, Jesus addresses the Pharisees’ self-righteousness through the story of the humble tax collector’s prayer. The NIV version states, “For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” The Message version states, “If you are content to be simply yourself, you will become more than yourself.”
Where can you be comfortable in your life not knowing the answers, but allowing yourself to wrestle with the questions? Where can you simply be yourself today, and show love instead of knowledge, and compassion instead of solutions? I pray that today, you can just simply be. “Being” actually is loving, and loving brings healing. “Being” is the core of who we are as Christians.