Worth the Risk


Our exclusive state-of-the church research revealed the top obstacles that stand in the way of innovation. And since one of the things I do here is lead our teams in innovation, I’d like to speak to each one to challenge you to take risks.

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Fear Whether you’re afraid of what people think of you or that you may lose your job, you don’t get a “pass” on this obstacle. If “playing it safe” is the only reason you’re not taking risks, use the change-agent tips in this article to pray, communicate, lead, and innovate for greater effectiveness. Start small, and build.

New to Ministry If you’ve just started in your ministry, you’re wise to wait to make changes. Take a luxurious amount of time to learn from your church staff and your ministry team before you innovate. Your tenure in your
ministry will be much longer if you move with caution.

Time One children’s minister described what most of us would probably say is our #1 obstacle: “I’ve wanted to take a risk, planned to do so, and have advocated failure as an important part of ministry but when it all came down to it, I let the tiny, everyday things take precedence over the risk…and subsequent reward.” If this is your obstacle,
focus on the subsequent reward and make time for innovation. The ”time” obstacle is never going to go away.

Personal Limitations
Sometimes personal health or fatigue can get in the way of changing something or trying new things. And, you do get a “pass” on this obstacle. If you’re physically or spiritually tired, don’t focus on making ministry changes to try to renew yourself. Instead, you may need to give yourself permission to keep things as the “status quo” while you allow God to heal your spirit or body.

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Complacency Someone said, ”What I’m doing works.” Another person said that no opportunities for risk have presented themselves and asked, “Am I being too safe?” The answer? Yes. To fight the complacency monster, schedule a review process for every element of your ministry on a cyclical basis. Get feedback from kids, families, and volunteers to determine if what you’re doing really is working…or whether something could use a facelift. (Our team does this very thing every three years for this magazine.)

Lack of Resources Whether it’s a lack of money or people, welcome to ministry. We’ll always minister in a situation of “not enough.” Don’t let that stand in your way of dreaming improvements for your ministry. Where God
leads, God will provide.

Wisdom Ask God to guide you in making changes. Sometimes you shouldn’t make a change because the cost of that change is too high. For example, one person said, “My ministry is in the public schools. I have to be careful with the risks I take or I could lose my ability to be on campuses.” That’s using wisdom.

Christine Yount Jones

Want more info about leading your ministry in innovation?
For expert tips and newsletters, go to group.com/state-of-the-church

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