"View Wide, Engage Deep"

Kara Powell | Aug 24, 2011

As I mentioned in yesterday’s blog, we at FYI are big fans of and good friends with Dave Livermore and Terry Linhart. Having read their new book, “What Can We Do?”, I’m also a fan of this book.

The book walks youth ministries through justice responses to a variety of our world’s problems, ranging from AIDS to water shortage to global warming. They open one of their latter chapters with the question, “Do you feel overwhelmed?”

I’m glad they asked, because at that point in the book, I actually did.

I often get overwhelmed when I look at the needs of the world and think about the LONG LIST of ways I would like to respond. A list that is so long that if I worked 24/7, I would never complete them all.

That’s why I was relieved and encouraged by Dave and Terry’s advice in that chapter: “View wide, engage deep”. When it comes to world justice issues, I think we as believers should be some of the most savvy, best-informed folks on the planet, on a variety of topics. But we’ll be most effective when we do what Dave and Terry suggest: pick an issue, and pick a place.

What justice issues most resonate with your students? Do the teen girls you know seem especially touched by sex trafficking? Do the kids in your community who have had either stellar or subpar experiences with public education have a consequent burden to tutor younger kids?

This means baby steps. But baby steps down a clear path with a clear focus, instead of our common tendency to take one baby step to help one issue, and one baby step to make a difference in another issue, and still another baby step in a third issue. Which if you think about it just means we end up walking in circles.

Kara Powell

Dr. Kara Powell is the Executive Director of the Fuller Youth Institute (FYI), a faculty member at Fuller Theological Seminary, and Fuller's Chief of Leadership Formation. Named by Christianity Today as one of “50 Women You Should Know,” Kara serves as a Youth and Family Strategist for Orange, and also speaks regularly at parenting and leadership conferences. Kara is the author or coauthor of a number of books, including Growing Young, Growing With, The Sticky Faith Guide for Your Family, Sticky Faith Curriculum, Can I Ask That?, Deep Justice Journeys, Deep Justice in a Broken World, Deep Ministry in a Shallow World, and the Good Sex Youth Ministry Curriculum. Kara lives with her husband Dave and their three children, Nathan, Krista, and Jessica, in Southern California.


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