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Pastors Can Be Friends with Church Members (and 4 Other Radical Ideas)

2. Leaders must take risks, even if you’ll look like a fool.

Here in the West, specifically in the United States, respectability is one of our idols. It just is.

And I believe it’s extremely influential in the realm of ministry because pastors are in roles that are seen by everyone. People are always watching you. Because of this, it would seem that over time it’s easy to become more concerned with being respected by people rather than being obedient to God.

It’s a subtle yet extremely easy rut to fall into. Yet the consequences can be devastating to the health and growth of the churches we serve.

Leaders need to be willing to take risks.

I learned this primarily through the ministry of John Wimber. He used to always say the word “faith” is spelled R-I-S-K.

I’m not talking about foolishly jumping off of cliffs and hoping magical carpets will fly to your rescue. No, that’s just stupid.

And lots of the things pastors do under the banner of “taking risks” is simply foolish and the “risk” card is played in order to manipulate people and cover one’s tracks. Yet there are times where God will lead us to make decisions that are risky.

That’s where faith comes in.

People might reject us. People might leave the church. People might slander you and spread lies about you.

But guess what?

They’ll probably do that even if you don’t take risks, so if God is leading you to faithfully trust him, I think you need to do it.

After all, walking in the Spirit is an adventure of sorts, and there are times we need to see God’s sovereign hand work in situations we feel completely alone on. Taking risks can actually help us remember God is God, and we are not.

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Luke Geraty has been lead pastor of Trinity Christian Fellowship for the past six years and is a member of the Society of Vineyard Scholars. Interested in missional theology within the rural context, Luke loves all things espresso, hockey, hip hop, and fly fishing (what a weird combo!). He and his wife have four children. He blogs regularly at ThinkTheology.org.