April 1, 2003, 5:06 pm
Filed under: uncategorized

Here’s a little window into my soul: I’m nothing if not a big-time chicken. I hate taking risks. I don’t like going out on a limb – in fact I’ve never been one for climbing trees in the first place. Mostly I think it’s because I hate failure (as Eminem says in his big theme song for the movie 8 Mile, “Success is my only @#$% option, failure’s not.”).

That may be the most significant thing about church planting for me – I am doing something risky. Yeah, well, except for the fact that even if I completely fail and end up unemployed, Michelle’s salary alone still puts us in the top 10% of the world’s family income level. And except for the fact that even if I completely fail, I still have a loving and merciful God who is for me in every way possible and will not reject me. Oh yeah, there’s also the fact that even if I completely fail, I am highly unlikely to be imprisoned or physically endangered because of my religious beliefs. Heck, even if I had the intention (which I don’t) of planting a trendy candle-burning, sofa-sitting, labyrinth-praying, kumbyah-singing mega-church and I completely fail, I’m still pretty likely to at least end up with a decent-sized house church. So the question that begs to be asked here is whether I’m risking much at all.

Yes, I’m trading in some comfort, but I’m gaining a life of vitality and faith in God’s provision. Yes, I’m cashing in many years worth of respectability within the traditional church mindset, but I’m gaining the freedom of creativity and fun. Yes, I’m giving up the tried and true formulas for success and a well-mapped road in front of me, but I’m gaining the opportunity to make stuff up as I go along and watch how God makes something beautiful out the mess of things I give to him.

It’s a tragedy that the church has become such a safe place that so few are willing to risk. It’s a tragedy that it’s taken me this long to take this kind of risk myself. Believe me, this post is not some self-congratulatory rant about how the church sucks but I don’t.

Have I really thought that God would not somehow honor my desire to serve him? Have I really thought that He might reject me if I didn’t measure up? Have I really thought that success as the world sees it is more important than living a life of impact? Have I really been so protective of my reputation? Have I really been that bent on pursuing my own comfort? Sadly, there are plenty of yeses to cover all of those questions and more like them.


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