That confession helped him the next day, when he would look soldiers in the eye and say, “I’m afraid just like you are, but I’m going to do my job,” Struecker recalled.

The first way he suggests overcoming fears is casting them on the Lord, which Struecker relates to trusting in God’s sovereignty. Whether in combat with bullets whizzing overhead, potential financial crises, or a medical emergency with their oldest child, Struecker said it helped to remember he wasn’t in control of any of those situations.

“I also believe God is good and He has my best in mind,” Struecker said. “He is still good and He is using these circumstances to grow me, to mold me and to make me into the man He wants me to be.”

Confessing such fears is best done in a small group where people can share problems or misgivings and enlist prayer support, he said.

“I don’t know anybody who has reached a level of spiritual maturity they are comfortable with who hasn’t been involved in a small group or mentored along the way,” Struecker said. “In my opinion, anyone who just shows up [for church] on Sunday morning and leaves is not as spiritually mature as they should be or could be.”

He said the sad thing about refusing to admit fear or failing to confront it is the natural consequence of failing to achieve worthwhile goals, whether on a personal level or church level.

A person facing a challenge on his or her job can chose to either meet it or play it safe, which usually leads to being paralyzed by fear and failing to take any action, Streucker said. The same thing can happen to churches.

“This is what I see as the difference between mediocre churches and great churches,” said Struecker, who was ordained by Fairview Baptist during a previous tour at Fort Benning. “Great churches take risks and do great things for God. Mediocre churches play it safe. I think they do because of the fear, ‘What happens if this backfires?’ It could backfire. But [they have] to be willing to take the risk and see what happens next.”

© 2006 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press.  All rights reserved.  Used with permission.