Saturday, February 28, 2009

Faith Requires Risk

It dawned on me the other day that in leading El Oasis forward in our building program, I have taken many risks.  People will not give sacrificially to something unless they have captured a vision of the future.  They accept challenges when they can catch a small glimpse of what they can potentially accomplish to change their world.  A good leader, spiritual or otherwise, must carefully paint this picture with just enough detail to gain the support and enthusiasm of those who follow him or her.  

This is probably the reason why President Obama defeated McCain.  His speeches were filled with promises and retoric that won over the hearts of the American people.  His words created a snapshot of the future that voters could not resist.  He took a huge risk that it will all work out according to his calculations.  Americans put their faith in him.  Only time will tell if their faith was placed in vain or not.

Did I do the same with El Oasis?  Is the vision I presented to the congregation really a match for what God has planned for this church?  God cannot fail, nor can He lie.  But maybe I embellished the future too much in my own enthusiasm to see people start giving to the building project.  Will the Lord truly do all of the things I said in His name?  Did I really hear from God or am I just concerned about my legacy?  Seldom do we ask such honest questions. I find it unsettling as well. However,  I must ask these questions as we wait for the Lord to respond to our need.  I need to know He has spoken.  I need to know He will do this even though our circumstances say it is impossible to buy such expensive land and build such a large building.  We have risked much. Our personal reputation is on the line.  Our ministry is on the line.  People in the USA and people in Peru have believed in us and in the vision that we shared with them.  

And yet, I am convinced that the essence of faith requires such risk.  There is always a moment when we must believe even when we cannot see.  There is always a point when must act even when we do not know how or when He will respond.  Faith without risk is not really faith at all. Only time will reveal that we have not placed our faith in vain.


E&C Nebraska said...

An important part of ministry is to impart vision "Without a vision the people perish". However, I do not believe that the Pastor is responsible for the outcome. Sure, a Pastor can, and should be, excited when God is imparting a vision. Can that vision be hyped too much? Probably. However, there is another aspect to this. Once the vision is communicated, I believe that the people are obligated to seek God for themselves to see if the vision as communicated is correct -- i.e. they also have the obligation to seek God about it, just as they seek God to confirm other facets of the preached word. My thought is that a leader should not be too far ahead of the congregation … far enough to evidence that you are leading, but no so far as to be detached from the congregation. Are you where God wants for this situation? If so, let God worry about the details.

Nicole CLC said...


This is Nicole Berry from Christian Life Center.

I have been sending emails to you over the past couple of months, but have not heard a response back. I am an attendee at Christian Life Center, and I chose you to be my "Caring Connection". I was given your information and I have been praying for you, your family and your ministry for the past couple of months. About a couple weeks ago, CLC sent me an email about this blog site. I am a college student at Wright State University and finals took over my life and this is the first opportunity I have had to read your blogs as well as try to contact you again. My email address is I currently have this as your email address: . Is this your preferred email address? Or would you like me to use another one? I really would like to start a "penpal" relationship as much as possible and be able to pray more directive prayers and encourage you and your family to persevere.

I actually chose you and your ministry, because in june, I will have the opportunity to travel down to Lima, Peru with about 20 other Christians. After this experience in the summer, I know I will have a better understanding of the culture and people of Peru.

Thank you for your time and I hope to hear from you in the future!

God Bless,

Nicole Berry
Dayton, OH

Bea Preston said...

I am working on risk-taking at the moment, specifically in sharing Christ in the marketplace. Right now, fear seems to dominate. I appreciated your candid perspective. The Lord recently spoke to me that if I take a risk, even if it fails, He will cover me. I believe He will cover you all as well!