I grew up as the daughter of a race car driver, sitting in the stands from the time I was born, watching my dad tear around the track. If you’ve never been close to a race track, it’s hard to imagine. The slope is much more pronounced than it looks like from a distance and the magnitude of it is astounding. Even from the stands it is deceiving how truly epic it really is. I remember the races, but I really remember the crashes, particularly one where my dad’s car left the track entirely, flipped towards the stands, and ended on it’s roof, stopped only by the fences that are placed to protect the spectators. I was keenly aware that my dad was taking big risks at every turn.
I often see leading a church in the same light. It’s really hard to grasp the magnitude of it, and until you are in it, you don’t really realize how much risk you need to take at every given turn. When you are racing, it is just as dangerous to slow down as it is to speed up, depending on the moment of that decision. We carefully weigh out literally every move to give our best assessment of what it will take to survive the next leg of the race. But, just as in racing, those decisions often need to be made so quickly, it must almost be instinctual.
The greatest lesson I learned from all of those years in the stands came from the moment when my dad crawled out from under his flipped car. He had misjudged the situation, the risk was too great, and the car took a beating. That being said, he crawled out. Sometimes in ministry, we’ll misjudge the situation and we’ll have a little repair work to do, but most likely, we’ll come crawling out and live to race another day. It was that lesson that has given me the fearlessness to make the decisions that need to be made along the way. Sometimes we may crash, but sometimes we may win.