As you may be aware we are currently in the midst of a sermon series on “The Call to Courage.” Two things motivated me to choose courage as a topic. The first was the deep sense I have that the days in which we live call for courage. We must find the courage not to shrink back from the significant challenges which face us both as individuals and as a church in 2021. My hope is that by the time our sermon series is completed in April, we as individuals will have picked an area of our lives in which we would like to display more courage and that we will have taken steps to risk being courageous in that area. I further hope that our church leaders (many of whom are engaged this weekend in an event called “The Future Church Summit”) will find an opportunity or two where our church can risk being courageous to make a difference in our community. My second motivation was my firm conviction that if we develop courage in one area of our lives it will have a “lift effect” on other areas of our lives. Similarly our church could encourage other churches by a display of courage. Churchill rightly maintained that courage is the first of all virtues because it makes all other virtues possible.
The majority of my topics about courage for the sermon series (Fear, Challenge, Adversity, Calling/Passion, Letting Go and Suffering) came from an article by psychologist Melanie Greenberg in Psychology Today called “the Six Attributes of Courage.” At the end of the article Dr. Greenberg gave a courage building exercise. We might want to try this exercise after a sermon that seems to touch on an area where we feel we may need to display more Courage.
My summary of her exercise:
Start with a time when as an adult you struggled to show courage in that area:1) Ask what did you or others say, think, or do that helped you be courageous? 2) At what point did you begin to sense your courage rise?
Next think of a time in childhood when you struggled to be courageous in that area. Ask how was it the same or different from your adult experience?
Finally, think of a current situation where you are struggling to be courageous in that area. Ask is there anything that you can learn from the two previous situations that will help you be more courageous in the current situation?
As my superintendent,Teresa Welborn, often says-Be ENCOURAGED.