5 Reasons to Take More Risks
This past Sunday morning I spoke at a church and did something I have never done before: I tossed out the message I had prepared just a few minutes before I was to speak. It was an incredibly freeing experience.
In my years of teaching and ministry, I have spoken in front of audiences countless times. One of the blessings of being a professor is the opportunity to represent my school (Saint Louis Christian College) at various churches.
Last week, one of our administrative assistants asked me to speak at a supporting church, and I agreed. I selected a message I had given before, updated and practiced it, and was ready to speak on Sunday morning.
The people were friendly, the music was great, and everything was going well. But as the service progressed, and it was closer to my time to speak, I became more uneasy with my message. (It was a message on how the church should not rely on love, not politics, to bring about real change in the culture.)
I really liked this message, but I had a clear leading that this was not the right time or place for it.
Instead, I felt I was supposed to speak on worship. This has been my main area of ministry and teaching for a long time, so I can talk about that subject for hours. I recalled a message I had given a few times before, on Revelation 4-5, and quickly scratched out the outline along with a few notes. I felt a definite boldness and energy while I was speaking, and people seemed very positive about it.
I knew I was taking a risk when I decided to change messages. What if I bombed? I’m at my best when I’m thoroughly prepared, and it could quickly go south. But I also knew there was the potential for a powerful message, and that was the driving force behind my decision to toss the script and “go with the flow.”
As a result, I felt an energy and freedom I would have missed by sticking to the script and ignoring what I felt was God’s leading.
This was a great learning experience, and I want to translate it into several reasons why we should take more risks:
- You can serve others more effectively. Risk is scary because it includes the possibility of failure. But if we’re too consumed with the possibility of looking foolish or incompetent, we will miss the opportunity to do something extraordinary.
- You will grow in your faith. When we clearly listen for God’s voice and take a leap of faith, we come to trust Him more.
- You will prepare more thoroughly. The key here is knowing the difference between a risk that is calculated, and one that is foolhardy. When the Apollo 11 crew took a shot at the first lunar landing in 1969, it was widely agreed among NASA people that they had about a 50/50 change of success. But this was a risk they were willing to take because they had done everything in their power to prepare thoroughly. The possibility that we might fail only encourages us to prepare.
- You will be energized by the results. Taking a calculated risk and seeing the resulting success will motivate us to keep pushing ahead and growing.
- You will learn something either way. Whether we succeed or fail, taking a risk will teach us something valuable if we are willing to learn from the experience.
Most of us live with far too little risk. What could your life be like if you live with more boldness, courage and confidence?
Question: What was a risk you took recently, and what did you learn from it?