Unavoidable Risk Taking

Paul Clark

“Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap.” (Ecclesiastes 11:4)

“The biggest risk is not taking any risk … In a world that changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks. — Mark Zuckerberg

After being in the ministry for many years, I heartily concur with the assessment of both Solomon and Mark Zuckerberg.

In all the endeavors we undertake, there is no guarantee of success We may have prayed, sought good counsel, received a word, our church unanimously voted to move in a new direction and still there is no guarantee.

Cary Neuwhof writes: “Most spiritual entrepreneurs want to die trying. Usually they don’t die trying, but the fact that they’re willing to is crucial. Ironically, if a spiritual entrepreneur has a solid plan that’s on mission, they usually don’t fail. But you have to be willing to fail to succeed.  (I would encourage you to read Cary’s entire article.) Read here!

My wife Mechthild and I over the years have planted several churches in Germany. We moved to Lindau recently and believe it or not, we are launching a new church across the border in Bregenz, Austria. Concerning our new journey, someone remarked, “Paul, you have so much experience, and there is nothing to worry about. Everything will go just great!”

In the Kingdom of God, one takes a different approach. In spite of our experiences and past successes (including failures), we continually need to update our dependence upon the Lord, seeking his divine intervention. I am very much aware of Solomon’s words concerning human pride coming first and that which follows is never pleasant.

At times, I feel as if I am sitting on pins and needles, wondering how the new church plant will develop. Church planting is everything other than child’s play. At the same time, I sense within my spirit and can see with my own human eyes that God is in control as we take this “leap of faith” into the great unknown.

Keith Krell puts it this way: “Since God alone knows the future, we ought to make our plans, use our brains, study the situation, take all factors into consideration, seek wise counsel, do the best we can, and then leave the results to God. Don’t be reckless — that’s the path of certain ruin; but don’t sit on your hands either.”

I would add in my own words, it is much easier to steer a car that is moving than a car that is standing still.

I want to encourage you today, be courageous, be strong, and be daring!

Possibly you and your spouse have been praying about moving in a new ministry or vocational direction. Go for it! Take the first step today or at the very least, take that step tomorrow.

It could be that you along with your church leadership have sensed for months the need to begin a new ministry. Now is the time to take action!

Others of you may be feeling in your bones to do something that you have never done before.  Don’t hesitate! Let the adventure begin.

As the world famous western actor John Wayne once said: “Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway.”

I am praying in the spirit as I write these words, that God would give you his peace and direction as you “saddle up” and ride on the new path leading to incredible opportunities.

Take the words of one of the greatest risk-takers of all time to heart: “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. (Ephesians  6:10)

Paul, and his wife Mechthild, have planted several churches in Germany, and are presently planting a church in Bregenz, Austria.  Paul is author of the book: German Pentecostal Church Planting 1945–2005: Implications for Intentional Mission in the 21st Century. Paul’s personal missions’ statement: “I intentionally encourage those who encourage others.” Paul is also the founder and host of Forum für Leiterschaft im Gemeindebau, a web based resource ministry geared to the needs of German speaking pastors and church leaders in Europe.