Have you ever been afraid to risk? I have! But recently I saw the impact of a risk that our leadership team took, and it’s too great to not learn from it.
Back in November I was sitting on my deck enjoying an unseasonably warm Sunday afternoon with our two interns here at Oak Grove. We were enjoying conversation and working on a writing project when the subject of traveling to Israel came up! I shared with Josh and Jeremy that I had the opportunity to travel to Israel in February but I had declined because I didn’t have a member of our media team that could travel with me. At that time our media team mainly consisted of women, so that would have been difficult to swing.
Jeremy and Josh instantly sprang on me like two coiled snakes! “Are you crazy” they said. “I’ll go right now” was their response! From that very meeting sprang the idea of traveling to Israel and filming on location for a series that eventually was titled: Six Days to Die!
I was scared out of my mind to endeavor shooting footage for a 7 week series on location, in another country! This was going to be a huge risk. There were a lot of thoughts bouncing around in my head.
- What if it doesn’t go well?
- What if the footage doesn’t turn out?
- What if I can’t pull it off as a communicator?
- What if…what if…what if…
Thankfully, over the last year our staff had read a book together entitled IT by Craig Groeschel. In this particular book we were challenge in several ways, but one of the major ways that we were challenged was with the thought of RISK! We learned as a team that we can either be ready to take calculated risks and potentially grow or we can become risk-averse and wither.
Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly. – Robert F. Kennedy
So, after praying I decided to put the idea to my team and see what would happen…and they all said “Let’s take the risk”.
- Yes…it might fail.
- Yes…it might cost us money.
- Yes…we might not be as good at it as we want to be.
- Yes…it will be a lot of work.
- But, certainly yes we will risk to help people connect with Jesus!
Now, I’m writing this because I want you to know that risk (within the right context and with the right goals) can be great. But I also want you to know what happens when you have a great team who decides to lay it on the line together. We did travel to Israel. It was an expense. It has been scary putting everything together. We have had to work more than we thought we would. But it has been worth it. Over the past 3 weeks we have been delivering our first ever series with portions of the messages shot on location in Israel, and it has been going very well. We’ve seen some amazing results here at Oak Grove! But yesterday I received a message that demonstrated the power of God when your team prayerfully risks. We have friends who are serving in Thailand and they shared their story with us. Let me share it with you (with the names removed of course).
Hi Guys, I want to tell you about a conversation we had with one of our teachers yesterday. Our teacher, asked if we’d ever like to go to Israel. I told her that my friend (Aaron) had recently been there and that I have watched your videos and read your blogs from your trip. I told her it was interesting. Then she kept asking for more and more details of what you wrote/videos. (I told her about Jesus future return, his death, resurrection, your six days to die series) Then she said, “Didn’t Moses do something with water in Israel?” 😀 I felt the Spirit impress my heart to go through the whole beginning of Moses and go through the plagues in order to compare Jesus with the Passover. At the end she said, “Oh, God is too forgiving.” I told her that he was patient with Pharaoh and he is patient with us, but someday he is going to look for the blood and those without Jesus blood (applied) will be sent to hell forever. She then said, “What about good people? Or people from other religions?” I explained that goodness and religion do not play a part in God’s decision. I told her that every person must look and trust in the work of Jesus. I then told her about Jesus’ claim to be the way, the truth, and the life. She said, “Oh! I understand! Maybe the next time I teach you, I will be a Christian already!” This teacher told us that twenty years ago she decided to switch religions, she bought a Bible, but then moved and has been to busy to read it. Another time after talking about our hope she told us that maybe some day she will become a Christian. I believe that God is working in her heart. Please pray for her. I hope that you are encouraged that through your trip, blog, and videos we were able to have an amazing conversation. This is at least a step she took towards Jesus. Your journey has crossed hers! I pray that someday you, me, and our teacher are standing before Jesus, clothed in His righteousness together! It brings me tears to think about! Blessings, friends!
Wow, to think that the work of our team here in Kansas City is impacting lives here, but it’s also impacting lives in Thailand! Remember – when you risk…you may fail, but you will certainly move and that movement may result in great outcomes.