Is Risk Worth It? A Practical Look at Risk in the Christian Life
Perkins, Miriam Y.
Woods, Aaron R.
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Risk in the Christian life means living in service of something broader than ourselves. It means making decisions about moving toward danger or seeking safety in light of the story of God’s plans for the world, Jesus’s example, and the leading of the Spirit. All people face known and unknown risks as a part of daily life. Unknown or unanticipated risks can include natural disasters, a sudden death, or a car accident. This essay, however, is about when and how to face known risks that involve or invite consideration, planning, and discernment. How do we determine what kinds of risk are in concert with God’s intentions, our own discipleship, and the insights of those with whom we seek to befriend and partner? As a class, we are aware that such discernment is intensely personal, relational, and communal. It also involves very unique situations throughout the world. This essay will not resolve these complexities. However, we aspire here to provide individuals and communities with helpful resources and questions for navigating risks both great and small. What follows is the fruit of a writing collaboration between six theological students, a professor, and five consultants as part of a course project designed to serve individuals and communities weighing risk as part of short or long-term ministry experiences. We have drawn on our collective experience in both local and cross-cultural ministry, sometimes speaking as individuals (using first person language), but always writing as a team. Over the following pages, readers will find scriptural stories, historical examples, theological reflection, a bibliography of resources, and group discussion questions on risk and the Christian life.