Personal Risks

He that loses by getting, had better lose than get.
William Penn1

One of the hardest categories of risk to define is personal risk. Since any significant decision has an element of personal interest, to single out some risks and call them personal is somewhat artificial.

There is, however, a nexus of risks whose primary cause and motivation is the leader's personal interest. The most common of these deal with the ministerial career.

When a pastor moves from a successful pastorate to another church, the risk revolves around the fear of failure. A pastor who assumes a pastorate vacated by a preaching legend faces the prospect of failure in comparison with the predecessor. The pastor must weigh the risks of staying in the present church (stagnation or decline) versus the risks of going to the new one (failure by comparison).

Sometimes these crises are brought on by life-stage dynamics. British sociologist Elliot Jaques once examined the relationship between creativity and midlife in the lives ...

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