At the 2010 Catalyst Conference in Atlanta, Andy Stanley’s closing talk was about “The Upside of Tension.” As leaders, we generally think that all tensions within teams and organizations and among people are problems that must be solved. But some tensions are a necessary part of life and just need to be managed.

Stanley’s talk has continued to challenge my thinking and reframe my understanding, not just as a leader but also in my personal life. Here are some examples of tensions I have observed or experienced:

  • Participation vs. excellence
  • Being stretched vs. working out of my strengths
  • Serving in humility vs. building a platform
  • Church budgeting: spending conservatively (wisely?) vs. dreaming big and taking risks (trusting God?)
  • Breadth vs. depth
Stanley says we should quit trying to solve these tensions and think instead in terms of rhythm, not balance.

What are some tensions you have seen or experienced in your life and ministry?


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