One of my favorite scenes from C.S. Lewis? Chronicles of Narnia is when the young Pevensie children first hear about Aslan. If you?re unfamiliar with the story, I question your salvation. But just in case you haven?t heard the story, let me fill you in on the basics. Narnia is a fictional land filled with talking animals. An evil witch has taken over, casting Narnia into an eternal winter?always winter, but never Christmas.
But it?s rumored that Aslan, the lion, has made an appearance in the land. He?s going to set things right. Aslan, of course, represents Jesus in this story.
When the children hear about this lion creature and that they are going to meet him, they get nervous. Susan asks, ?But is he safe??
The response to the question is absolute money: ?Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good.?
Don?t you love that? We worship a savior who isn?t safe. In fact, He?s outright dangerous! But He?s good.
I think the Church has become too comfortable with our savior. Yes, He?s our friend. Yes, He is merciful. But serving Him is anything but safe. It?s exhilarating. It?s frightening. But it?s amazing all at the same time.[quote]Serving our savior?is anything but safe. It?s exhilarating. It?s frightening.[/quote]
I?ve seen many church workers become too comfortable in their work at their church. There?s no longer any adrenaline involved in their job. And worse than that, I?ve seen even the creative church worker become bored with their work.
Ministry work isn?t safe. It?s good, but it certainly isn?t safe. If it feels safe, it means you aren?t doing something that scares you. And that?s a bad place to be.
Don?t worry, though. You can choose, right now, to get back the adrenaline that should accompany ministry. Here are four reasons it?s important for every creative, minister, and church worker to do something that scares them (and maybe even a few ideas on scary things to try).
1. You learn through failure, and you never fail unless you risk.
Risk is scary. There?s a potential for failure every time you take a risk. But I?m convinced failure is one of the best things that can happen to you. Learning from failure will teach you more than a book or class ever could.[quote]Learning from failure will teach you more than a book or class ever could.[/quote]
I can?t tell you all the things I learned from our ?creative? sermon series, The History of the World. I learned Monty Python-type sketches interspersed throughout the message are extremely distracting. I learned puns can only take you so far?the humor runs out eventually on a Sunday morning. I learned it?s difficult to clean up after 1000 confetti eggs between services.
The whole idea was a big failure, but our creativity went up a notch from the lessons we learned.
2. You learn through stress.
Psychology has taught us that we don?t learn when we?re comfortable. We also don?t learn when we?re completely stressed out. But in that middle place, where there?s a little stress and a little discomfort, that?s where we learn. It?s the reason we have test and paper deadlines in school?to put the pressure on.
So when you try new and uncomfortable things in our creative endeavors, you learn more. You?ll find yourself visiting Google and Wikipedia. You?ll be at your local bookstore finding books that help you figure out what you?re trying to do. And you?ll remember those new skills and the knowledge you acquire.
If you want to be a learner, you?re going to have to try things that stretch you. Don?t be afraid of a little bit of stress when you?re trying something scary.[quote]If you want to be a learner, you?re going to have to try things that stretch you.[/quote]
3. You encourage others to take risks.
Everybody wants to work on a team that tries new things and takes risks. Unfortunately, that often means someone has to take the initiative and model that type of behavior. And even more unfortunately, that person probably needs to be you.
But imagine being the one on your team who inspires. Imagine being the person people approach with a new idea, ?Do you think it?ll work? Do you think I should try it?? That?s what you get when you lead the way in risk and innovation.
4. There?s no faith without a little fear.
Throughout the Bible, God has had to tell us not to fear. The reason He has to tell us not to fear is because He calls us to do scary things. He gets honor when we take risks in His name. And we get to develop our faith when we?re required to rely on God.
How can we ask our congregations to have faith in God when we aren?t doing something scary enough to require faith?[quote]How can we ask our congregations to have faith in God when we aren?t doing something scary enough to require faith?[/quote]
Ralph Waldo Emerson said, ?Always do what you are afraid to do.? I want to live my life like that. How about you?
I encourage you today to take a risk. Do something that scares you. That might be:
- Approaching that person in your congregation and working with them on a stage design or marketing project.
- Shutting down a program/ministry that has been ineffective.
- Avoiding the obvious ideas and trying something adventurous.
- Publishing that song you wrote online and sharing it.
The risk will look different for each person. Find the scary thing that?s right for you, and tackle the fear. If for no other reason, it?ll bring a little bit of excitement back into ministry.