Peter is released by the angel – James was not so lucky

Two weeks ago I went to a half-day seminar. Joel Holm was the speaker. I left refreshed. Partly a result of some excellent teaching and stimulating group work, but also because of a few words we exchanged at the end of the session. In fact, just two words. Those words were, “Take risks.”

The context to those words was a reply to my question which went something like this, “I heard you say you planted a church with five other people. What did you learn from that experience and what advice would you give me as someone who helped plant a small church earlier this year?”

His response was, “Take risks.” Be flexible, change what doesn’t work, spend money, teach faith, don’t try to be what others expect you to be but what you think God wants you to be, and so on. Reflecting on this I realised that starting the church was a risk, but that’s not the last risk we’re being called to take. Jesus took risks, but so did his Apostles. A disciple is not risk-averse, but risk-embracing. A Christian is safe with God, but his or her circumstances on earth are often not safe at all (Acts 12.2)!

I don’t know the origin of this poem, but I rather like it,

There was a very cautious man
Who never laughed or played
He never risked, he never tried
He never sang or prayed
And when he one day passed away
His insurance was denied
For since he never really lived
They claimed he never died.

This church needs to be a place of safety in the sense we love one another and God is among us, but it must not be a place where we get stuck in a rut. There is a precious path that avoids the folly of hastiness, and the danger of mediocrity. Where is that path? I hope we can find it. Pray for us to discover it’s whereabouts. In the meantime I’m making plans for risky church!