I Read This article by Pastor Steve Parrish of The Fathers House in Vancouver, Washington. I thought it was pretty awesome considering our own attempt at "risking it all" You can find a lot of fantastic, and helpful articles for planting and replanting churches at Steve's blog @ replant.blogspot.com. Check it out
Reasons To Risk It All
As Dwight would say, "Question..." (got to love The Office) Would you and your church be willing to risk the comfort of where you are for the sake of achieving something greater for the benefit of others? Don't just rush past that. Think about it for just a minute. Would you be willing to cash in all that you have for the opportunity to accomplishing something greater... at the risk of losing everything? As hard as it has been to carve out the spot where you stand, would you be willing to attempt to trade up, even if it meant ending up with nothing?
I sat at my desk considering my situation. I had been at our church for three years. Our gatherings had become relatively functional. I was no longer freaked out and embarrassed on Sundays. The bills were paid. There were testimonies of Jesus' hand in peoples lives. The building was renovated. The sanctuary and parking lot were above the 80% mark. We were doing a few things better than churches triple our size. We had a good mix of ages. People participated in our upbeat worship. We had a full time youth pastor. The parking lot was paved. There was money in the bank. I was cashing a great paycheck each week. And... I was torturously unhappy at the thought of maintaining that same spot for the rest of my life.
Without a radical change I knew that we would never move beyond that spot. It was a good spot. It was a better spot than where we were three years prior. But there was no room in the glass for another drop. Every new drop required the departure of an old drop. We had come to the place of maintaining. We would never move beyond the 150 mark without a "risk it all" type of move. We were hindered by our location and facility. We had topped out at a place sufficient for survival with no significant impact in our county. It was a wonderful place for us, but the Jesus of our church was relatively unknown by the majority of the 150,000 people in our community. I felt like the captain of a small life boat navigating through the body infested waters after the Titanic sank. I was safe. My people were safe. What about the others?
If we were to reach more, we would have to relocate. It was necessary, but oh so risky. Everything we had achieved could be lost in the attempt. We would lose the facilty we had renovated. We could potentially lose all of our money. We would go from debt-free to significantly in debt! There was the risk of losing our church family, our security, not to mention my paycheck and all that went with that. We would be risking our "perceived success" for possible failure.
While we were all grateful for what we had been given and what had been achieved, it wasn't enough, so we decided to relocate. Maintaining was not an option. We purchased land and started to build. We haven't completed the process yet (about 8 weeks away at the time of this article). There have been several dark moments when it felt like all might be lost. I am assuming that there might be several more of those moments in the future. In fact, failure is an option. It could happen. I wouldn't be the first, nor the last. But with that said, I think there are a few good reasons to risk what is for what can be, even if we fail.
1. He Risked Everything For Us - Jesus set aside the comfort and security of heaven to come to this dirt ball trapped in a clay costume to put it all on the line for you and me. He jumped without a parachute. He risked everything. While some might argue otherwise, I believe that he could have failed in his mission. The obstacles were huge. He risked failure. He risked rejection. He risked death. After being crucified, understand that He did not have the ability to resurrect Himself. He had to rely on the Spirit for that feat. But his risk was rewarded with salvation available for every person who has ever lived. His risk means eternity for me!
2. Risk Is A Component Of Faith - Faith is that thing that gets God attention, causes him to smile, and bring His hand of involvement. Every time we step out in faith, there is risk involved. Abraham left home. David stood before the giant. Peter stepped out of the boat. Jesus hung on the cross. The risk factor is what makes faith such a leap. It's a tradeoff. You trade what you have for something better, but you never receive the better if you aren't willing to risk what you have.
3. Eternity Is At Stake - What is one soul worth? Apparently, it was worth everything to Jesus. Just one. What are two souls worth? Three? Four? What would you give to reach one more? If the risk is rewarded by reaching more souls that will spend an eternity in a glorious heaven as opposed to a fiery hell, it is a risk worth taking.
4. People Need Inspiration - There are many individuals, families and churches that need to move from their comfort zone to a place of risk so that they can fulfill their destiny in Christ. Most people are motivated to action when they see someone else 'going for it' and succeeding. Remember, the terrified army of Israel was emboldened to action after a young man stood before a nine foot giant and took him out with a rock. After David decapitated Goliath, the entire army jumped up to pursue the Philistines. The were moved to risk as they witnessed someone else doing the same. This risk was necessary so that the people of God could receive what God had rightfully given to them.
5. To Maintain Is to Lose - anyone who has cupped their hands and tried to hold on to all of the water within will tell you it is impossible to keep what you have. If you attempting to maintain anything, you are actually losing. Things change too quickly. People move. New technology is introduced. A new cultural fad is born. If you aren't increasing, you are decreasing. If you tried to maintain a dollar, a year later it is worth 3-4% less. You've lost simply because of inflation. The man who buried his talent in the ground found that out, and the Lord made it clear that He isn't in to a maintaining mentality.
I don't know what your situation is, but if you are contemplating wether or not the risk is worth it, I would scream "IT IS!" I have yet to accomplish my quest, an I can honestly say that failure would be more acceptable than maintaining. It should be a calculated risk, and you do need counsel, and you should count the cost. But if you can potentially lose everything, I'll bet the reward is sizable and will impact eternity significantly. Listen to me. Quit stalling. Begin to pray. Put the plan together. Get some counsel. Build your team. Make your pitch and then JUMP!