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Books for those in ministry organizations who desire to take their leadership, teams, governance, and ministry effectiveness to the next level.

10 Jul '14

Overcoming the fear that makes for cautious ministry

Posted by T.J. Addington
I meet a lot of ministry staff who tell me that their leader lives with fear. Fear that something may go wrong; fear of criticism from others, fear that they will not look good (there are many perfectionist leaders). That fear makes them cautious and their caution keeps them from trying new things or allowing their staff to do the same. 

Fear is a symptom of insecurity! If you live with fear it is because you are an insecure leader and there are many reasons why we might live with insecurity. But it is also a very unhealthy place from which to lead for insecurity is a form of bondage to our or someone else's expectations. Or our imagined expectations of others.

Here is a great question to ask when fearful of trying something new. What is the worst possible outcome that could occur? Someone might disagree and be upset? Someone will get upset at any major change! It might go wrong? Things go wrong routinely so get over it! That I might look bad? That is ego speaking, not a healthy person who lives with a nothing to prove, nothing to lose attitude! 

Another question: If this idea works, what could it do to add depth to our ministry endeavors? Without new ideas and innovation, the world does not move forward. In fact in their absence the world stagnates and is diminished. If you always do what you always did you always get what you always got. No new endeavor is possible without risk but without risk no innovation occurs. Ever!

Most ministries do not lack new ideas. Rather they lack leaders who will allow those ideas to be tried and tested. And tweaking is not the answer: Tweaking is fear based change. One can tweak endlessly and never get to the kind of ministry breakthroughs that you desire. Where ministries have gone stale it almost always includes an element of fear that has kept them from trying new things. Fear drives away innovation while a willingness to risk embraces it.