January 10, 2012


In what feels like a previous life I once held the position of 'Advertising Manager' at MSVU Students Union. It was a new position when I filled it, and I sincerely hope that whoever replaced me did better than I did. Never the less there are two things that stand out in my memory about that position. One was when I was asked to tell the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association that the Union was uncomfortable with their overt Christianity and we would only run their ads if they toned it down some (I am sure we will talk about that someday). And second were the giant metal monoliths that became our newspaper holders.

After I graduated in 2006 I kept popping into the school from time to time. Meghan, my wife was still a student there until 2009 as she worked on her Child & Youth degree and her Education degree. As I walked around the halls I kept seeing those giant ugly metal racks and I thought to myself, 'almost no one here knows that I am responsible for those things being there.' I realized that they had become my legacy there.

At which time I became depressed.

That was my legacy after three years at that school? Four ugly metal racks that I heard more complaints about than anything else? That was my legacy after years of sweat, toll and enduring feminists remarks about the evils of all men (we will have to talk about that one too some other time).

I mean when you think of it that is rather sad. Even Ozymandias did better than that!

...Nothing beside remains...
So why wax on about my legacy at MSVU?

Last night I walked passed a couch that I donated for the youth room. An ugly couch that really belonged in a youth room. I found myself thinking, will I leave more than this couch behind?

I am about to depart another job, another position, another community. I don't really have a great deal of time left to do much else. January 31st is coming fast. But that is OK. Because this is not the first time I asked myself what do I want my legacy to be. I also asked myself this question when I began my ministry. And I have spent the last 5 1/2 years trying to answer that very question.

I can't really guess what people will say in the weeks, months and years after I leave. But I know what I tried to do and what I accomplished. Here are three things that I swore would be part of my legacy, and things that I sincerely hope will be recognized as such;

1. The youth group is not to be built around how cool I (pretend) to be. Instead it will be built on a community of leaders connecting with youth in a genuine sense of fellowship. I swore that when I left I would do so with the youth group still standing. 

2. Christianity does not offer easy answers. But it does offer answers. I believe that no one should ever come to a point where they can no longer find Christianity to be intellectually viable. Our theology, beliefs and practices are all far too deep and wonderful to ever be summed up in 5 minutes or stretched on a napkin. I swore that the people I talked with would know that Christianity is deeper than a cross fitting into a hole, creating a bridge between sinful humanity and a Holy God.

3. The Christian life is much more than getting saved and being good while we wait for Jesus to return. We are called to do so much more than simply avoiding sin. I swore that people would know that they cannot fully live out their faith in their most comfortable easy chair.

I hope this is what people will remember my ministry as (among other things). The question I have for you, no matter where you are (home, work, church) and no matter what you do (clergy, office job, stay at home parent, professional sword fighter) what do you want your legacy to be? And what are you doing to see that it happens?