Andy Stanley on 3 Types of Courage You Need for Ministry

Catalyst Conference Dallas

At Catalyst Dallas, Andy Stanley of North Point Community Church (Alpharetta, GA) discussed 3 types of courage you need for ministry.

Often times in life, a single act of courage is the tipping point for something extraordinary to happen.

Look at earlier this year with Egypt’s single expression of courage to tell their government they’ve had enough. And that single act of courage encouraged thousands around the world to stand up to their governments.

Look at Rosa Park. Her resistance to move to the back of the bus became a single act of courage that led to the anti-segregation movements.

David walking into the valley of Goliath was a single act of courage. Moses telling Pharoah, “Let my people go!” was a single act of courage. Joseph chose to marry his girlfriend, Mary, when she showed up pregnant. That took courage.

The Bible is full of single acts of courage that are tipping points into something new and extraordinary. Looking back it seems so obvious what they should do, but in the moment, it is full of isolation.

And then there are our mundane lives. You’re not going to lead an army like Gideon. You’re not going to walk into a Pharoah’s palace. And when your girlfriend shows up pregnant, you aren’t thinking that’s okay.

When you look back on your life, you won’t tell stories about the 5-year goals you met. You will tell stories about the opportunities that came along, and you sensed God moving you to take advantage of those opportunities. You were scared, but you took advantage of them anyways. Those are the stories you will tell.

I don’t want you to miss it. I don’t want you to look back and say, “If only I had…”

Three Types of Courage You Need

  1. The courage to stay when it would be easier to go.
    You never know what hangs in the balance when God whispers, “Stay,” when everything else says, “Go!” If ministry is hard, it just means that you are in ministry. It is supposed to be hard. You are dealing with people. And then the grass looks so green on the other side. It takes courage to stay. Your decision to stay may be the tipping point for something extraordinary to happen in your community, your family, and your church.
  2. The courage to leave when it would be easier to stay.
  3. The courage to ask for help when it would be easier to pretend that everything is okay.
    Isn’t it true that more people have had to leave ministry because of this? Secrets are dangerous, but secrets in the life of a leader are extraordinarily dangerous. People become afraid to confess their secrets because they are afraid of what people will discover about them and even more afraid about what they will discover about themselves. I do not know of a high profile leader who has not been in counseling. We are all a mess. I don’t care how large your ministry is. When you are at the tip of the spear leading, you get worn down far more quickly than everyone else. We need more help and sooner help than the average people, but we are the least likely to ask for help. In the last few months, has your spouse or trusted friend said, “I think you might need to talk to someone about that”? They are right because they had the courage to say it.

What we should fear is waking up one day and not knowing if we are in the center of what God wants for our life. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of stuff.

What story do you want to tell? Every decision you make is eventually the story of your past. And the tipping point for all of us at some point in our life is a single act of courage.

Further Reading:
2012 Church Conference Calendar