Transitions, Part 5: Facing Risk

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By the Book or Out of the Box? Two Ways to Face Risk

Every ministry adopts rules that are unique to its culture. Members of your team follow those procedures differently. Some embrace risk and break rules to press forward. Others naturally follow established procedures. Facing risk – along with processing information, solving problems, and managing change – is a key transition facing any ministry team.

As a team conducts ministry, it passes through four inescapable transitions – movements or changes that take the team from one “place” to another. In this part 5 of 5 in our Transition Series, we examine how God provides specific ways your team can thrive through the transition of facing risk.

  • Some team members take an pioneering approach to facing risk with a willingness to think “outside the box” and bend procedures in order to find a better way of doing things.
  • Some embrace a structured approach to facing risk. Conscientious and analytical, they maintain high standards, pay attention to detail, and yearn to do things “the right way.”

facing riskAlex had been senior pastor at a large church only a few weeks when he saw the need to add a Saturday night service to the worship schedule.

Although Pioneering when it came to taking risk, Alex had learned the importance of working alongside Structured risk-takers in ministry.  Before making a quick decision, Alex reined in his pioneering tendencies long enough to invite Joe out for coffee.

Two Different Ways to Face Risk

Joe was a long-time elder and retired attorney. Alex wanted to pick Joe’s brain about the best way to present his new idea – one with considerable risk – to the congregation. The new pastor respected Joe’s spiritual maturity and attention to detail. Yet if he was completely honest, Alex expected resistance when he met with Joe. Wouldn’t stretching the envelope of the established ways set up a battleground?

Fortunately, Joe understood the different approaches to facerisk. His bent as a cautious fact-finder meant that he made decisions slowly and deliberately, but he also appreciated the bold energy and willingness that Pioneering risk-takers like Alex brought to a team. “It’s one of the reasons I urged our elder board to hire you,” he told the young pastor.

Alex presented the tremendous opportunity before his congregation: young families and single professionals were moving into their community in droves. The congregation had maxed out its facilities during two Sunday worship services. Adding another worship service was a natural next step. Alex was ready to press forward right away. But that step also meant risk of added expense, recruiting more volunteers for children’s ministries, and additional stress on the worship team. And what if attendance on Sunday dropped off?

Both Strengths Work Together

If Alex had surged ahead impatiently ignoring the need for elder board approval, he may have been labeled as reckless. His plan for expansion would have likely fizzled during the first leadership meeting. And what if Joe had dismissed Alex’s idea simply because it presented a new approach?

But Alex and Joe were both willing to facerisk in a way that was different than their usual tactics. Though convinced that an additional worship service was necessary to reach more people in their community, Alex willingly submitted to the proper rules procedure to obtain board approval to add it. Joe, on the other hand, recognized the need for the church to take a calculated risk. In order to reach more people, it needed to be willing to get beyond the status quo. Rather than drag his heels, Joe worked tirelessly to review the church’s procedures and gather data.

Together, he and Alex created a presentation to the board that followed the church’s by-laws, addressed the risks, and offered solutions. The board voted to proceed. Today, the church’s three worship services are consistently fulland the leadership team is considering adding a fourth.

Will your team operate by the book or outside the box? Innovation and stability balance each other. That’s why Pioneering risk-takers and Structured risk-takers who understand and value each others’ strengths – leaders like Alex and Joe – can balance each other to protect your ministry and allow it to progress.

Growth Point 

Innovation and stability work together to balance risk.

Scripture

Two are better than one. (Ecclesiastes 4:9, NIV)

Prayer Points

  • How do you approach established rules and procedures?
  • Identify those on your team who facerisk with the boldness of Pioneers and those who face risk with the cautious, high standards of a Structured approach.
  • Reflect on a situation in which both Pioneering and Structured risk-takers contributed to the outcome.
  • Ask God to show you how to affirm the strengths of the Pioneering risk-takers and Structured risk-takers on your team – particularly the next time your team is presented with a risk.

Other articles in the Transitions series

Transitions, Part 1: Constructive or Destructive
Transitions, Part 2: Processing Information
Transitions, Part 3: Solving Problems
Transitions, Part 4: Managing Change

This article is posted with permission from Ministry Insights.  To learn more about Ministry Insights be sure and visit their website at www.ministryinsights.com.

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