Today I was thinking about what holds churches, and especially leadership, from achieving their true potential. As I think about the ministries I’ve seen start and fail, and the one’s that I’ve seen limp along, there is one thing that seems to stand out to me. The leadership seems to be afraid to try something new. I’m not sure if it’s actually a fear of failure, or we are unwilling to try new things because of success in the past. We get so tangled up in doing things the way they’ve always been done, that we don’t realize that stagnant spirit may be what’s killing the ministry after all.
In his second letter to Timothy, Paul writes, “… fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you. For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” (2 Timothy 1:6-7 NLT). Do you understand that friends? God has not given us the ability of fear or the need to be timid. He wants us to over come those fears and be people of courage. “Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong.” (1 Corinthians 16:13 NLT).
I feel that there is a lot of fear in the Christian world. Fear of being ridiculed, fear of negative reactions, fear of being condemned by society for not doing the “right” thing. I’m not saying that these fears are invalid. I have these same struggles myself. However, God wants us to overcome that fear. He doesn’t want the Church to become crippled by fear or offense. So I pray that we are all able to overcome our fears; that we are able to stand on our soap-boxes and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ for all to hear. If we are able to do this, maybe our ministries won’t fall apart because of a fear of change. Instead God will help us change in order to reach more people for His cause.