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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.

19 Jul '11

Courage

Posted by T.J. Addington in courage
Courage is one of the essential traits of anyone who desires to make a difference for Christ. Courage to follow His leading. Courage to go to places that are uncomfortable for us. Courage to change when God points out areas of our lives that need such change. Courage to try things for Him that we have not tried before. 

Why is courage so important? Because most people are adverse to change and love the comfort of the status quo. I have had people tell me in my own organization, "Do what you want to do but don't expect me to change." That is a failure of courage! Others have said, "It is hard for me to go there but I will go with you." That is a victory for courage. People fit into predictable categories of innovators, early adapters, middle adapters, late adapters and laggards (they will never change). While these may be standard responses to change, courage says, "If God calls me out of my comfort zone, I will go, no matter what." 

Those who lack courage will never make much of an impact for Christ and frankly don't belong in full time ministry. God does not take His people to predictable places but to the unpredictable. The game changer is that He never leaves us to our own devices but continually says, "Do not be afraid for I am with you." If I cannot move forward with that promise, what will help me do so?

The opposite of courage is cowardice. No one likes to have that word used for them. Yet, when we say no to God, when we refuse to go to new places, when we will not leave our own comfort zone, it is cowardice that characterizes our lives. God's workers are never called to live in cowardice but in courage. After all, we never go alone, but always with the presence of the Holy Spirit.

Many congregations and ministry organizations live with a lack of courage. There are mission agencies I know that will not pull the trigger on change because of fear. There are missionaries who will not go to new places because of fear. There are congregations who will not change what they have been doing for fifty years (mostly unsuccessfully because of fear. It is a failure of courage that results in a failure of effectiveness. 

As a ministry leader, I do not apologize for looking for courageous people. Nothing of substance is accomplished when we are unwilling to go to new places, to risk for the sake of the Gospel. And that courage must start with me as the senior leader. Are you willing to risk for the sake of the Gospel? Are you willing to live on the side of courage rather than the side of cowardice? OK that is a strong way of putting it but it is the choice each of us must make.