Kale is scary, ice cream is dangerous. Thunder is scary, lightning is dangerous. Feedback is scary, oblivion is dangerous.
Entering into the uncertainty of 2021 is scary for a lot of leaders.
The more familiar we are with something the more comfortable it is, and the less scary it becomes. There is a difference between something being scary and something being dangerous. As we are on the other side of 2020, much remains uncertain for the church and one thing in particular looms over us as dangerous. As church leaders, one of the biggest challenges in this season is to distinguish between the two, scary vs dangerous.
There is a beautiful example of this in the Bible. The Israelites were taken out of Egypt and promised the land of Canaan as an eternal sign of God’s covenant relationship (Genesis 17:7). Because of disobedience, they had stayed in the desert (Numbers 20), but as Joshua was called up to lead, God gave him the green light to move people into Canaan.
The land of Canaan, according to the twelve spies, was scary (Numbers 13). Their exact words were, “these people are too strong and they will kill us”. Entering Canaan was scary; staying in the desert and avoiding God’s promise of deliverance would have been dangerous.
Joshua was given the calling to move the Israelites into the Promised Land. In doing something this scary, God gave him this word: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
Our hope and our prayer for you as you enter 2021 is that you are encouraged knowing that your Heavenly Father is with you wherever you go. We pray that you feel the freedom of your purpose without the burden of the results. While the task of leading through change is daunting, you have the Creator of the Universe, who calls you His child, with you every second of the way. We encourage you to lead with courage and confidence, knowing that He is inviting you to be a part of the change that He is making in His church, and that He will never leave you to do His work for Him. He created you to do life with Him. These leadership responsibilities are His gifts to you intended to be enjoyed with Him, not a burden you carry as your gift to Him. Taking the Promised Land was never up to Joshua. Joshua simply realized that a life of significance started with a choice of obedience (stay silent and circle Jericho), and he chose to obey even when it was scary.
Failure is scary, change is scary, and as a church it would be easier to go back to the familiar. However, waiting to go back to a “normal” that may not exist is not scary, it is the most dangerous position we can take.
Things are not the same as in a pre-Covid world. Behaviors have shifted, people have drifted, and digital trends have accelerated five to ten years ahead. Thinking we will simply return to normal is potentially one of the most dangerous perspectives we could have. We might go back, but the culture we were trying to reach with the forms we had established aren’t there anymore. Our “normal” may include far fewer people.
It is scary to think about changing our standard practices. Our Sunday-centric ministry is evolving, we increasingly reach people through screens, staff roles are being redefined, and budgets are being re-allocated. All these things are scary, but as leaders we must push into the scary. As we work to be familiar with our new normal, let’s see this as an opportunity like no other we have seen in our lifetime.
God is way out ahead of us, people are people, and though our forms and preferences need to change, the mission remains the same. There has never been a greater need for the church to shine and be the hope of the world. Leaders, the world needs you. The world needs your church, and it is scary. However, we must watch out for trends that are comfortabilities from the past, because remaining in place could be the most dangerous next step we take.
- Glen Brechner│Executive Director at Chase Oaks Church│XP Solutions
Ministry Solutions and XP Solutions wish you the absolute best this year, and we are excited to see what the Lord has in store for you. If there is anything we can help you with, or if you simply want to have a conversation about how to maximize your impact in 2021, please feel free to reach out to us.