Nov 29, 2010

Play at your own risk

Too risky?

I’ve never bungee-jumped let alone thrown myself out of a plane in the optimistic hope that the pull of a cord might delay my descent and save my life so recklessly thrown away. I’m not a natural risk taker. But I’m learning the value of risky thinking.

Since helping to launch 2020birmingham -a church planting catalyst for Birmingham with the goal of planting 20 new churches by the year 2020 – I’ve been learning a vital lesson in ministry. If we want to fulfil the task that Jesus has given us in our generation we must take risks and part of that risk-taking is to reach out to work with those who are different from ourselves. It takes time, it takes effort, it means a change of priorities, a change of perspective but until and unless we are willing to partner with others in ministry we will miss a vital opportunity.

A cause greater than ourselves

A couple of times a month planters from New Frontiers, FIEC, independent, Southern Baptist, and Ethiopean contexts are meeting to give away all that they know. I’ve been struck by what a blessing it is to meet with others who meet, pray and share with others who share a passion for Christ, the city and church planting even though they may disagree on a bunch of secondary issues. Stetzer and Bird in Viral Churches put it this way:

In order to build networks that effectively lead, mentor, and support others in multiplication movements, everyone must pass what they know and what they do on to someone else. If you begin to view cooperation as a joyful opportunity to cause someone else to succeed, then giving away all you have for the sake of a new or established network is worth the effort. Church multiplication movements will occur only as far as leaders are ready to cooperate for a cause that is far greater than themselves. p.81

Risky partnerships are worth the risk

risk brings its own reward

What is it that stops us seeking to build these strategic partnerships whenever and wherever we can? Perhaps it’s simply that we are too quick to see other gospel churches as rivals rather than partners in the gospel. And for as long as someone is a rival he is a threat and someone to be feared. But when he becomes a partner he is someone who I want to succeed and therefore I seek to bless and someone from whom I hope to learn.

So I’m learning, after 20 years of ministry, to take risks of a certain kind. Risks that promote the gospel. Risks that extend the Kingdom. And I’m learning that unless I do I can never learn from those who have much to teach me.

PS – On the place of ambition in Christian life and ministry take a look here.

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