The Parachute Principle

People have a variety of reactions to the idea that I am planting a new church using the house church model. “That’s different?!”, “Wow, that’s a lot of work.”, “Did you want to do that?”, “That’s exciting – but you’re crazy!”, and even “Where do I sign up?” The model isn’t so very different if we remember that the first 300 years or so of the Church happened in houses. Yes, I did want to do this even though it is a lot of work. But even wanting to do it, it doesn’t mean that it isn’t at one and the same time exciting – and crazy.

I have a test that I apply to ministry. I call it the parachute principle, which goes like this:

Does what I’m doing make me feel like I have just been dropped from an airplane at 30,000 feet without a parachute? If the answer is no, then my vision is too small.

I know, crazy right? Our God has never been in the business of thinking small, though. I mean, look around. When He created the world, He made not only a planet but also a solar system contained in the Milky Way galaxy which is one of an estimated 200 billion galaxies. Yes, billion with a ‘b’. He didn’t mess around with small stuff when He rescued the Israelites from Egypt. Parting the waters of the Red Sea was only a part of the drama. To make a way for restoration of our relationship with Him, His own Son, Jesus, willingly gave up all the benefits of being of God just to make sure that we would know how much He loves us (Philippians 2:5-11). So, who am I to think that small plans, plans I could easily do on my own, are good enough for the God of the ages? Thus, the parachute principle. When what I’m doing in ministry meets that principle, then I know I’m in the zone, so to speak. That way, relying not on myself but on God is the only way I have any hope of fulfilling His design for the part of the world in which He’s asked me to serve. So, is it crazy? Without a doubt. Do I feel like I’ve been dropped from the plane without the parachute? Absolutely. And that’s the way I like it. Now, to find all those folks who say, “Sign me up!”

About Rev Uch

I'm a United Methodist pastor serving Hyde Park United Methodist in Tampa, Florida. My husband and I have been here since July 2016. We are thrilled to be back in this area closer to most of our immediate family. In Tampa on a Sunday? Stop by one of our six weekly services. Find out more at www.hydeparkumc.org/worship.
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11 Responses to The Parachute Principle

  1. Pingback: Jump first and Think later « Grown Up For Real!!!

  2. D.Rene. says:

    I found your post about 2 hours after I was sitting with my husband discussing my need for God’s blessing over the direction I’d like to take next – and needing confirmation. Your parachute principle was everything I needed to read to understand that my prayer had been heard and I was not alone in this new journey. I owe you more thanks than you will ever know.

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  3. Many times, from the outside, people undertaking a new role, vision, or business appear crazy. That’s why people with an “entrepreneurial spirit” are seen as a special type of person in our society–almost like they’re possessed with the need to fulfill whatever it is that they see on the inside come to life in the world. A few lucky ones get to do it more than once during their lifetime.

    However, if you look at their decision to step out on the edge within context of their lives, it’s not as huge a risk they’re taking afterall. When David went to King Saul and asked to fight Goliath, Saul thought he was crazy. However, David’s early life as a shepherd all by himself in the fields had given him all the skills he needed in order to defeat Goliath. He’d fought lions and bears! Now, that seems pretty huge to me, but compared to Goliath, they were just stepping stones. God had prepared him with little battles so that he could fight the big battle. In the end stepping out wasn’t such a huge risk afterall.

    While I think that your parachute principle is sound because at the very edge of ourselves is where we find growth, I think that in the context of a persons life that led them to that path it’s not as crazy as it seems from the outside.

    Owning a martial arts school in this down economy. However, it’s not crazy. I have 25 years of experience as a student and instructor and I come from bs family where that’s what my parents also did while I was growing up (and are with me in the school now, as is my wife and maybe one day my own kids)

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    • Redo of the last paragraph :

      Owning a martial arts school in this down economy is a big risk many’s opinion. However, it’s not crazy. I have 25 years of experience as a student and instructor and I come from a family where that’s what my parents also did while I was growing up (and are with me in the school now, as is my wife and maybe one day my own kids)

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      • Pastor Kim says:

        Thanks for your thoughts, Manny. Your family is such a wonderful example of how families can work together, support one another in a business and still love each other at the end of the day, all in the context of a life of faith. You all inspire me.

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  4. Amber says:

    Should be interesting to see what , where and how that ends up… Keep writing Kim you are good at it!

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  5. Amber says:

    I can definitely relate to the feeling of being in free fall!

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  6. billtman says:

    I had a friend tell me once, regarding going into business for myself, that if it didn’t scare me to death then I must be doing something wrong. The same holds true regarding starting this new ministry you are in. If you are doing it right then it is as you say, “ like being dropped from an airplane at 30,000 feet without a parachute” The difference between my going into business and your new ministry is that God is not going to let you crash and burn. He is going to provide a strong updraft so that you land safely, if you will, a “breath of heaven”

    Think of these lyrics from the song by Amy Grant

    Breath of Heaven, hold me together
    Be forever near me, breath of Heaven
    Breath of Heaven, lighten my darkness
    Pour over me Your holiness for You are holy
    Breath of Heaven

    My prayers are with you
    Bill

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