I'm currently reading (among a few others) an Unstoppable Force by Erwin McManus. McManus mentions that when he was a young pastor he was a part of a church that was on the verge of extinction. They had $20,000 left in their account and they were protecting it like it was the cure for cancer. Erwin suggested that they invest that money in reaching out to the community. But his other leaders quickly objected saying, "But we must survive!"
McManus said that they should either reach their city with that money or die trying. His comment on that experience was "Once survival has become our supreme goal, we have lost our way."
I was at a church conference last Friday and they asked the question, "What are you willing to go out of business for?" In other words, what's so important to you as a church (or business) that you are willing to risk it all, and if you fail, you aren't ashamed because you know you died trying.
I'm afraid too many churches are like McManus' church. They aren't willing to go out of business. They just want to survive. They think that merely existing is somehow virtuous. But it's in risking it all that the church has found it's true self and ultimately grown. McManus notes the martyrs of the faith. They didn't survive. They went out in flames...literally. But, as has been said...The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.
I'm challenged by these thoughts because Cedarbrook has taken risks from day one. I want to keep it that way. Now that we have some money in the bank I don't want "survival" to become our goal. Our goal has to continually be to reach more people, more effectively with the good news that God is pursuing us in Jesus.
If you want to check out this book, click here.