Five Christian leaders tell what God did when they took a surprising step of faith.
By Vince Antonucci
I’ve heard people say faith in a big God allows you to take big risks. I’d say that doesn’t go far enough.
Faith doesn’t just allow you to take risks; faith requires that you take risks. In fact, faith IS risk.
When I became a Christian, I had a full scholarship to a top law school. I loved law school. The average first-year salary coming out of my law school was $80,000. While attending there, I felt God calling me into the ministry. Though it seemed like a huge risk, I did it. I transferred to a seminary, where I paid about $15,000 a year to study for a job where the average first-year salary was $25,000.
After seminary, I was offered a job at a megachurch at a salary of about $40,000. A church of 80 people also offered me a job, but they couldn’t afford to pay me anything. That seemed like a God-size risk, so I had to take it.
That church I chose to serve started to grow, and a couple of years later they finally said, “We can pay you now.” So I left. I moved to Virginia Beach to start a new church. Again, it was a church that couldn’t pay me. The church grew at an amazing rate; we saw a thousand people come to Christ in 11 years. Things were awesome. I was even given a salary, and then a raise. So I left.
I moved to Nevada and started a church in the middle of Las Vegas. That was the riskiest move I’ve made for God. I had way more to lose than I ever had before.
My family loved Virginia Beach and wanted to live there forever, loved our church and didn’t want to leave. Raising kids in Sin City seemed less than ideal.
There was no assurance that planting a church just off the Vegas Strip would work. In fact, a pastor in Las Vegas told me I was “committing career suicide.” Fortunately, I didn’t have a career. I had a calling, and the calling was to start a church in the middle of Sin City.
As I recall the decisions I’ve made in my life, and as I’ve listened to others talk about their decisions, I’ve concluded that fear is the reason we don’t take risks. We’re afraid of regrets. If we take a risk, it may not go so well. We might regret what we’ve done. Those fears are legitimate. If we take risks, we may have regrets. But here’s what I’m sure of: We will have greater regrets if we don’t take the risks. Our regrets of inaction are more painful than our regrets of action.
So I’d encourage you, if you think God is calling you to something, take the risk. You’ll be glad you did. You have a big God. Faith in a big God requires you to take big risks.
Vince Antonucci is an author and the pastor of Verve Church, Las Vegas, Nevada.