He stood on the rocky ledge. Behind him his father lay with a gun wound that was slowly, but surely, pulling the life out of his body. Ahead was the cave entrance that held the hope of healing. This cave contained the Holy Grail… the cup of Christ. It was this scared cup that could restore wholeness to his father’s ebbing life. He had met the two of three challenges that stood between him and the prize. A wide chasm separated him from the entrance.
This was the dilemma of Harrison Ford’s character Indiana Jones in “The Last Crusade.” What had begun as a search for a precious artifact had become a desperation for life. The key was a truth. It would come down to a step of faith. Indiana would have to step into the chasm and believe. It would be a genuine “leap of faith.”
The necessary step and belief were seamlessly interwoven. Without belief the step would never materialize. And the step held no guarantees. It demanded an abandonment of human resources. The only possible method of validating the belief was to risk it all. And with that risk… a possibility all could be lost.
Holding his hand to his chest as if to keep his heart from escaping Indy took the step. With fear and faith colliding he moved off the ledge. He stepped with full knowledge it may not work. But such is the nature of faith: Moving out with no guarantee.
What he discovered was the solid footing he risked would be there. With the discovery came the validation of his faith. The necessary resources to proceed were realized. He was able to attain the desired Grail and therefore restore life to his dad. Neither would have occurred if he had held to the relative security of the ledge.
Indiana Jones’ situation typifies many church leaders. We cling to the ledge of local church ministry. It is the ledge of church as usual. It is the ledge of tradition and “what we are use to.” It is the ledge of protecting our turf. It is the ledge of perceived success. It is a ledge clung to even in the awareness that remaining perched will limit our effectiveness.
There is the desire to bring eternal life to those who have no recognition of its availability. It is a life that must be effectively communicated in new ways. Such communication is enhanced through new churches. New churches are better poised to do ministry in more culturally relevant ways. And these new churches are best started when existing church leaders courageously spearhead their planting. The planting of multiplying churches will necessitate stepping off the ledge. It will be a leap of faith. And in the leap there is the risk that one may lose it all. It may cost them everything.
Stepping off the ledge is the willing investment of resources to start growing, healthy multiplying churches. Stepping off the ledge is the recognition that it is never about just one church, but it is about a multiplication movement. Stepping off the ledge is risking it all to provide the resources necessary to change the world.
Who will be this kind of leader? Who will step off the ledge? Will it be you? Will it be now?