Most churches say that they risk. Most pastors believe that they are risk takers. But too often risk just becomes a buzz word. Also, most often our commitment to risk will only tolerate success - not failure. If when we risk, roll the dice and it comes up craps - we blame, we recoil and we won't risk again. If, as a leader, that becomes your response and reaction, your staff and ministry leaders will pick up on the message, "Don't RISK!" loud and clear. The staff and leaders may hear from you in the pulpit or within the staff meetings that you desire "risk," but the ata-boys really only come when you play it safe and produce mediocre success. You are sending mixed messages. Cultivating a culture of risk isn't easy and it won't come naturally, so you will need to be intentional.
How to cultivate a culture a risk:
- As a Leader -You need to Lead by Risking Boldly! If you really want your church to risk boldly, there is no shortcut than you leading out front. I can't say it any better than Bil Cornelius said at the recent Evolve conference for church planters. Therefore, if you want to hear about risking as a leader, I recommend listing to Bil Cornelius' talk given at this past Evolve Conference. You can find it HERE.
- Empower your leaders. If you are micro-managing your leaders, then you are not willing to risk. Cast the vision, define the outcomes and then release and empower your leaders. How do you empower them? One way is to make sure that they know your budgets. Budgets should give them freedom. They shouldn't have to be apologetic when they spend money - that is what the money is there for. (It is wise to have accountability though - for purchases over $1000 our leaders must have their supervisor's approval). But for most stuff - make sure they have permission to spend it in order to accomplish their objectives.
- Evaluate! Evaluate! Evaluate! You should always take the time evaluate. With risk there is going to be failure. Not everything you attempt is going to be a home run. That is why evaluation is important. You can LEARN from failure for the next time you risk. Do you remember your school experience growing up? I certainly do. In elementary school I spent my time split between two places - my 3rd. grade classroom and the principle's office. The classroom was the place where I learned. The principle's office is where I got disciplined. Failure should be like a classroom and not a principle's office. Failure should become a classroom to learn within and not the principle's office to be punished. Allow yourself to learn from your failures.
“Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor souls who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.” - Theodore Roosevelt