One of my fellow speakers and I had a great conversation about incarnational ministry between sessions at the Rooted Conference. This event brings together the passion of youth ministry and the necessity of the gospel. Youth conferences bring out the differences in us unlike any other situation.
His position is that incarnation ministry is a misnomer since Jesus works in a realm we can’t. I wouldn’t completely disagree, but I have been a part of a ministry that constantly puts a face on the gospel. Some people would say that we are Jesus to teenagers. I’m not sure I can go that far, but I see both sides of the practice of the incarnation.
What brought this into a particular focus was a friend’s obsession with TLC show Toddlers and Tiaras. This show, if you haven’t seen it (or just wouldn’t admit to seeing it) tells the story of young girls who compete in beauty contests. It becomes a caricature of human nature. Beauty is no longer about grace or even anatomy. Most of the girls where wigs, false teeth and so much makeup that they are barely recognizable.
I thought about this show as I was having the conversation about incarnation. It’s so easy to take one role Jesus played and make a caricature from it. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with incarnational ministry. That is, as long as it represents the whole gospel. Anything else breaks down into a caricature.
Here’s a great example. The mom is a future glimpse of the daughter, btw.