How Risk Led Me Into His Faithfulness by Megan Gillis


"The readiness to cross the world at a moment's notice in full-hearted pursuit of a good opportunity"


Christian Lowney

“Ingenuity” is one of the four pillars that the Vineyard Heroic Leadership Institute uses as a foundation in its curriculum. During my year in HLI, God used the pillar of ingenuity to bring about exceptional revelation and growth in my life. In his book, Heroic Leadership, Chris Lowney explains Ingenuity as “the readiness to cross the world at a moment’s notice in full-hearted pursuit of a good opportunity” (127).

God had begun dropping hints that He was calling me to do VHLI in the icy state of Minnesota during my senior year of high school. I had applied to HLI just before Thanksgiving of my senior year with the intention of spending the following year in Denver, Colorado. The plan was to be at a Vineyard I had visited several times where my lifelong best friend would  “just so happen” to be the HLI intern for my class. As I submitted my application, I felt the Holy Spirit softly whisper three terrifyingly simple words: “Not Denver. Duluth.” Ha. Good one, Jesus. Not happening. Over the next nine months, I sensed these words resurface again and again. It felt like they were cryptically looming over my future. At the time, I couldn’t see that those three words were a prophetic, grace-filled invitation to take a risk and go on the greatest adventure God would take me on up to that point. A year after I applied, and after a crazy turn of events, there I was in Duluth, having the time of my life, experiencing more healing and joy than ever before, and experiencing unparalleled transformation in my walk with Jesus.

Halfway through my year in HLI, an old family-friend who had planted a Vineyard Church in Austin, Texas reached out to me on Facebook asking me to consider moving to Austin to intern for him. The same feeling I had a year prior about Duluth rushed over me. I felt Jesus beckoning: “Come on. Take the risk. Say yes. Trust me. Let me take you on another adventure.” I was reluctant to head back to the Texas heat, but it took much less than nine months this time. I told God that if He made a way, I would go. Within six months, I had a solidified internship, a full time job, and a tiny efficiency apartment in Austin, Texas.


I’ve spent the last year learning about church planting, full-fledged adulthood and, more than anything, about the deep faithfulness of Jesus. This adventure hasn’t looked like gentle snowflakes and pleasant, new experiences around every corner like Duluth did. It’s looked like gross amounts of sweat and resting in God’s presence in the midst of loneliness and personal failure. This year has been about going to the Throne at the end of excruciatingly long days and reflecting on the worthiness of Jesus. It’s been letting Him have the final say on every thought, feeling, idea, or movement of my heart. This year has been drastically different from the one before it, but I’ve found that any season where God is present is more beautiful than the last. Each season where I learn more about His radical, untameable love for me is my favorite season- no matter what it looks like.

The way that God used Ingenuity to invite me to do HLI in Duluth, and then to move to Austin, reframed my whole outlook on risk-taking with Jesus. The thing about ingenuity is that, with God’s faithfulness and love, we are guaranteed full insurance on any “full-hearted pursuit” we go on in response to the good opportunities He presents to us. The more you risk, the deeper you wander into His faithfulness. And the more you wander in, the more you realize that, with Jesus, it’s really no risk at all.

Mary McKellick