Take a Risk for the Sake of the Gospel

This is a guest post from Patrick Lencioni, a member of the CCMA Executive Board.  Patrick is the CEO and Founder of The Table Group and the author of 11 books.

This is a note to all college-based members of the CCMA, to provide a little encouragement and perspective as you prepare for the upcoming academic year.  

To provide a little context, I’m a board member of CCMA and a parent of sons who will be college sophomores.  I’m also an author, consultant and founder of a firm that helps leaders make their organizations healthier and more effective, but that doesn’t have anything to do with this.

Anyway, I want to encourage you today, in the middle of the summer, to do two things:

  1. First, remember that it is not too late to come up with a great idea for the coming year.  Before you know it, it will be November and you’ll be saying “next year…”  Right now is still a good time to think about what you’re going to do “next year.”  Really.  The best ideas come about not two years in advance, or six months in advance.  Often, they come up with a sense of urgency in the days and weeks before a new year begins.  
  2. Second, and this is most important of all, prepare yourselves to do something bold and uncomfortable in the coming year.  I mean, really bold, and really uncomfortable.  I say this because the Gospel is bold and uncomfortable.  It always has been and always will be.  

The good news is that college students are secretly looking for what is bold and uncomfortable.  In fact, that is what they are drawn to.  The world is making everything bold and uncomfortable, but not in a good way.  Sex.  Alcohol.  Drugs.  Pornography.  Even video games.  They are all bold and ultimately uncomfortable.  And young people are being drawn to them by the evil one, and by all the people who don’t know it but are helping him.  

But instead of playing defense against those things, let’s go on the offense with the best news in the world.  Let’s be bold.  Let’s not water down the best news in the world, but instead embrace and then present it in all its beauty.  But that will not be comfortable.  If it is, it isn’t real.  Jesus made that clear.  If we’re still holding out hope that we can draw people to Jesus without incurring the opposition of others, we will never be bold and uncomfortable.

What exactly does bold and uncomfortable look like?  I’m not exactly sure, but I do know two things about it.  First, for something to be bold and uncomfortable it must be visible.  People will be able to see it even if they aren’t looking for it.  It’s not provocative or shocking in its presentation.  Not at all.  But it is provocative in its very nature, because it stands out, visibly, against the backdrop of all the empty promises of the world.  

Second, it is unabridged.  It is not watered-down or presented in half truths. People, especially young people desperate for something transcendent, are not inspired by people who lack the courage of their convictions.  They are inspired by people who are simultaneously loving and willing to suffer for that love.  Please be those kind of people for these students.  Love them enough to suffer, unfairly, for them.  Please.

So I encourage you, today, this summer day, to ask yourselves what you are going to do this year that will be visible, bold, inspiring and uncomfortable.  I mean really visible, really bold, really inspiring and really uncomfortable.  Pray for the wisdom and courage to honestly assess your plans for next year, and to do whatever you need to do.  Because your job, your vocation, your mission is as important as any other in the world today.

I say all this as a brother in Christ, as a board member, and as a father of two boys who I want, more than anything else, to know the Lord.  And I pray that others in their college world will help them do that.