The first thing every base-running instruction says is you have to lead off.

You gotta get off of first.

Your foot off the bag.

You lead off.  And when you do, you’re no longer on first … and you’re a long way from second.

And, in this condition you can be thrown out.

There’s a risk to leading off and there’s no other way to steal second.

In life, like in baseball, you have to give up what you have in order to have something new—in order to have a chance to get there!  And, giving up what you have, what’s familiar, predictable, anticipatable, even strangely comfortable involves risk.  Trust.  And the very real possibility of loss.

In a church culture that more and more is oriented around safety and security and avoiding loss, leading off seems so strange.

But, is it?

Imagine the Book of Acts if the saints were unwilling to risk, to lead off.

In the upper room they’d not take the initiative to replace Judas with Matthias. “But, wait a minute, only Jesus chooses apostles.” Standing on first, they couldn’t possibly attempt something new.

“Who does Peter think he is to address this huge crowd on Pentecost?  No talking! We were specifically instructed to pray.”  Willing to lead off, Peter stood up.  The eleven followed his lead… and thousands came to Christ on that day.

Did you notice?

Many of us revere the church we read about in the Book of Acts.  That book is full of leaps, risks, and doing things for the very first time.  Consider just three chapters:

Healing the crippled man [3:7]

Calling the onlookers to repent [3:19]

Boldness and courage before the Sanhedrin [4:20]

Praying for even greater boldness and the power to heal [4:29-30]

Sharing wealth [4:32]

Disciplining Sapphira [5:9]

Public healings [5:15]

Obeying the directive of an angel [5:21]

Proclaiming the good news everywhere [5:42].

When you read this, it’s easy to overlook the fact that each of these was a brand new experience for them.  There was no precedent.  No rulebook to follow.  No polity.  No Book of Order.

God intended us to be people willing to do anything to obey. To follow Jesus.  To respond to the Holy Spirit’s leading. To advance Christ’s Kingdom wherever we go.

That’s the pedigree of the early church.

A church of action.

A church in motion.

A church characterized by risk.

See, you can’t steal second, while standing on first.

 

 

Coaching Distinctions #17