It's not uncommon for me to remind the leaders at Saddleback that they have my permission to make at least one mistake a week. I tell this to staff members and to lay leaders, explaining periodically that it's OK to make mistakes—provided they're not making the same mistakes over and over again each week.
Now, obviously, I don't want the leaders at Saddleback to fall into sloppy habits, but I do want them to feel free to fail because that means they'll also feel free to take risks! My point is that, if you're not making mistakes, then you're probably not trying anything new. And, if you're not trying anything new, then you're not learning, and if you're not learning, then you and your ministry will quickly be out-of-date, perhaps even irrelevant.
The secret to being innovative is not being afraid to fail. So, let me encourage you to take risks in your ministry. Don't be afraid to try different methods or to think way out of the box.
The great inventor, Thomas Edison, saw mistakes in a positive light, saying they taught you the things that won't work, freeing you to discover what will succeed. Edison moved on from mistakes and failures, inventing, among many things, the light bulb.
Few great things have ever been accomplished without risk-taking, and we need to teach our leaders, and our members, to take risks in their ministry for Christ. One reason this is so critical to your ministry is that it ties into faith-building. In other words, risk-taking is an expression of faith, and a godly risk-taker is being faithful in his service to God.
Will we believe God for big things? If the answer is 'yes,' then we automatically become godly 'risk-takers'—men and women who trust God and live by faith and not by sight. When we teach our people to take risks, we are teaching them to develop faith in God.
One way to teach this concept is to take people to Mark 10:27: "... (W)ith God all things are possible." Ask your leaders to circle the word "all" and to write the letters "NSD" next to that verse. "NSD" means No Small Dreams. We serve a big God, and he says the size of our faith will determine the size of our blessings in life: "According to your faith, let it be done for you" (Matt. 9:29).
A great biblical example of faithful risk-taking is in Matthew 25, where Jesus tells the story of three servants who are given a varying amount of talents by their master just before he goes on a long journey. Jesus says one servant was given 10 talents, which he went out and doubled; another servant was given five talents, which he also doubled. When the master returned, he told these servants, "Well done, you good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a few things. I will make you ruler over many things. Enter the joy of your master" (Matthew 25:23). In many biblical translations, the master describes these servants as faithful.
But, in the story, the servant who was given one talent proves to be unfaithful, telling his returning master, "Master, I knew that you are a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not winnow. So I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours" (Matt. 25:24b-25).
Jesus says the master was furious, and he told the servant: "You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not winnowed. Then you ought to have given my money to the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest" (Matt. 25:26-27).
The master then said the single talent should be given to the one who risked the most: "And throw the unprofitable servant into outer darkness" (Matt. 25:29).
The point is, when you're not taking risks with God, you're being unfaithful.
Pastor, if we're not taking any risks in our ministries, then we're really not exercising any faith, and if we're not exercising any faith, then we're being faith-less. This week, think about the risks you are taking, or that you should be taking in your ministry.
Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America's largest and most influential churches. Rick is author of the New York Times bestseller The Purpose Driven Life. His book, The Purpose Driven Church, was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also founder of Pastors.com, a global Internet community for pastors.
For the original article, visit pastors.com.
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