When you put someone up front, it says a lot. You essentially give them your pastoral stamp of approval. This puts your reputation as a leader on the line. If they don’t work out, it shows that you shouldn’t have put them in that position in the first place. You might lose the confidence of others that you lead.
Does this mean that we shouldn’t take risks on people? Should we only give positions of service and leadership to people we know will succeed?
Paul took risks on people who wanted to lead and serve
Paul didn’t operate that way. He had Demas.
Demas appears last in a list of Paul’s coworkers in Colossians 4:7-14. Demas is the only name that is not accompanied by an accolade. But Demas is there.
Sadly, Demas pops up again in 2 Timothy 4:10, “Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica.” It’s almost as if, back in Colossians, Paul was unsure about Demas, so refrained from giving him a commendation like his other workers.
But he let Demas tag along. Paul gave him a shot. Paul took a risk on him.
Paul learned that risks are worth the reward
This is a progression for Paul, who was unwilling to take a risk on Mark (Acts 15:38-39). But later Mark blossomed into an effective leader, even in his own ministry (Col. 4:10; 2 Tim. 4:11; Philem 24). Paul, it seems, became willing to take risks on young bucks.
Take some risks, with discernment
Take some risks on people who are willing to do the work of ministry. You don’t have to let them preach. Don’t make them elders or deacons. See if they are faithful with little things before you give them big jobs. Use wisdom. Disciple them, train them, and correct them.
You may whiff on a few Demases. But if you land a Mark, it will be worth the risk.