If you are like most pastors you wish you could risk a little more.
Take some chances on personal growth and transformation. Launch a new ministry your church has not explored before. Unveil a new community strategy that could actually change the place where you live. Make long overdue changes in your approach to worship. Gently ease out some timeworn yet cherished programs that speak more to your church’s past than your current mission.
Yet taking risks in the church is fraught with – well – risk.
For many people the church is a safe place, unchanging in a rapidly changing world. Others are invested in programs and plans and institutions that are threatened by change. Some fear that change will mean loss of position and influence or comfort for them. Others are worried that change may represent theological drift.
As long as the congregation is relatively happy and the church is financially secure, many pastors will delay risk or put it off entirely.
We get it.
But that doesn’t change the fact that you were made for more, that there is a restlessness inside of you that wants you as a leader and your church to be all that it can be for God and God’s Kingdom.
So, in this season of giving gifts in honor of Jesus – God’s greatest gift of all – we invite you to give yourself as a church leader the very special gift of risk.
Don’t be alarmed; we’re not advocating that you make big changes in the church between now and the end of the year! That’s probably not a great idea.
But the end of the year – especially the period between Christmas and New Year’s – gives many pastors time to reflect, plan, and regroup.
So, here’s the way the gift of risk we’d like you to consider giving yourself could unfold. Note: it’s all about private reflection and self-awareness first.
The gift starts with two questions, to be asked and answered in the presence of God:
- What is it that keeps me as a pastor from taking more risks? List every factor you can think of, including the ones you are a little embarrassed by.
- If I could record the voice in my head that says “Don’t take that risk!” whose voice does it sound like? Have I heard that voice before? What else is that voice saying?
Here’s the deal – no risk worth taking should be taken without lots of thought, prayer and self-examination. That’s where you can start. And whether or not you take a flying leap of a ministry risk in 2017 or not, wrestling with these questions is guaranteed to deepen your awareness of yourself and your relationship with God.
And if, in the New Year, you’d like to talk about making plans for some new ministry ventures, please let us know. We’d love to help! You can reach out to us here.