First Third Conversations

Resource for Ministry: Daring Greatly

VulnerabilityA blog post by Aaron Fuller

Some of you may be familiar with researcher and author Brené Brown. She’s gained traction through TED Talks and David Lose Her work centers around understanding human connection and the dynamics of shame and vulnerability. I’ve been reading her latest book, Daring Greatly: How the Courage to be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead.

I’ll just say it: you need to read this book if you work in ministry. If you need convincing, here’s an excerpt from her book:

“Vulnerability is not knowing victory or defeat, it’s understanding the necessity of both; it’s engaging. It’s being all in. Vulnerability is not a weakness, and the uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure we face every day are not optional. Our only choice is a question of engagement. Our willingness to own and engage with our vulnerability determines the depth of our courage and the clarity of our purpose; the level to which we protect ourselves from being vulnerable is a measure of our fear and disconnection” (pg 2).

When I read this, I immediately thought: Theology of the Cross.

Folks in FirstThird ministry, this is a developed, ongoing movement within our ministry: the call for incarnational, relational ministry -- ministry that follows in the way of the cross. Yet we’re missing one small, but vital, part of engaging in that ministry: deep reflection on who we are and wrestling with the reality that in order for us to call people into vulnerable relationships, we ourselves first need to develop the capacity to be vulnerable people. We do so because God in Christ was vulnerable with us first on the Cross.

Brown tweeted this thought, and a pretty profound one: “The paradox of vulnerability: it’s the first thing I see in you, and the last thing I want you to see in me.”

I encourage you to check out this book. It won’t give you any pragmatic “how tos” for your ministry, but if you’re needing some theological and personal reflection these days that will change your ministry, then you need to read this book.

Aaron FullerAuthor Bio:
Aaron Fuller has done a lot of things and been a lot of places: grew up on a dairy farm, drove submarines, taught on a college campus, wrestled competitively, and coached wrestling, just to name a few. He now adds pastor to his list. Aaron is deeply committed to a multi vocational way of living out life and faith…because that’s exactly how it works for the rest of us, young and old alike.

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