“Do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say…” (Matt. 10:19-20)
Roger McCormick was sharing his testimony and in the middle of it, he said something that stopped me in my tracks:
“God didn’t want me doing safe ministry anymore.”
Whoah. I’d never heard that phrase before. Safe ministry – what is that?
- It’s pre-planned.
- You know the outcome in advance.
- It has a schedule.
- Asking God for guidance may be an afterthought.
- It’s scripted.
- It’s printed on bulletins.
I realized, it’s the kind of ministry that I’ve been doing for much of my life. First some songs, then the welcome, then the announcements, then some more singing and a sermon. It’s all wonderfully predictable and safe.
I like safe ministry because “success” is not in question. I can predict where we’re going and don’t have to wonder about results.
When you read Matthew 10, you see how Jesus wants his disciples to learn how to depend on him. They take nothing. They don’t know where they’re going or if the people they meet will run them out of town. There’s nothing safe about it whatsoever.
It’s not that God likes unpredictability, but he does love the intimacy that comes when we depend on him. He loves it so much that he’ll take away all our props and leave us feeling naked, unprepared, and possibly confused about whether he cares about us.
What has been your experience with safe ministry? What would it take for you to try ministry that felt risky?