Spiritual Paralysis - The Fear of the Unknown Part 2

The following is the conclusion of Spiritual Paralysis by my mentor Dr. Gordon Penfold that he wrote as his church was preparing for a $1.7 million church build. -Pastor Chris

"What can we do to overcome spiritual paralysis:  the fear of change, the fear of the unknown?  There are undoubtedly many avenues we can take.  Here are some tips that will help you move off of dead center!

  • Recognize your Master and Commander and follow Him!
  • Recognize our mission.  Our mission, the Great Commission.
    • (Matthew 28:18-20), has never changed. For too many churches, this is the Great Omission).  Making disciples is God’s plan.  That’s why we are here!
  • Determine God’s unique design for your church. 
  • Follow good, godly leaders who are seeking God’s wisdom.  
  • Be prepared for opposition when you take the Gospel outside the
    walls of your building!  
  • Launch a new ministry, start a new class, lead an evangelistic Bible study. Launch at least one new targeted ministry a year. If you fail in one area, try something else!
  • Find a mentor or a coach to help you navigate the often turbulent channels of change.

The fear of the unknown paralyzes many churches and pastors, so they do not change.  As Yogi Berra used to say, “When you do what you’ve always done, you get what you’ve always got.”  This statement is not particularly good grammar, but it makes perfect sense.  Churches and pastors have done the same things for years, and in the process, have mired themselves in a huge rut.  More of the same will produce more of the same!  “If you continue to do what you’ve always done, you get what you’ve always got!”  
What keeps us from moving ahead?  The paralysis of fear.  Someone once said, “Fear knocked at the door, faith answered . . . and no one was there!”

There is a story that originated in ancient Persia.  A king was known to be one who administered justice equitably and severely.  A friend was visiting him on one occasion.  The friend said, “I understand that you are harsh and that many people have died under your rule.”
The king replied, “Regrettably, many have died.  However, you need to know that I always give those under the sentence of death an option.  They can either lose their heads or take the “black door.”  
“What is the black door?”  The Persian king took him to the back of the palace.  There at the end of a long hallway, stood the ominous black door.  
The friend of the king inquired further.  “Please forgive me if I am too forward, but what’s behind the black door?”

The king responded with a far-away look in his eyes, “Freedom!  Yet, there are very few who are brave enough to take it for themselves!  Most would rather endure certain death rather than risk the unknown!”
Like the people in the story, we are all too often willing to endure the death of sameness rather than pass through the “black door” where we find freedom and joy.  If your church or ministry is stuck in a rut, try a new approach to ministry.  Pray, plan, prepare and launch.  Celebrate the small victories.  There will be some who will be eternally grateful that you moved off “dead” center for the cause of Christ!  
-Dr. Gordon Penfold (used by permission)

Knock, seek, ask . . . and then act!

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