3 Ways I’ve Failed in Ministry

Recently I’ve come face to face with some realities I don’t like, realities that are the fault of my own failures in ministry.

And I think you can learn just as much, if not more, from failures as much as from successes.

So here are the 3 failures I’ve had to confront.

Results > Relationships

I’m a driven person by nature.

I like to-do lists and goals, and most of all I like accomplishing things.

Those things are bad in themselves, but I was reminded in a book I’ve been reading (H3 Leadership by Brad Lomenick) that the Kingdom of God and the Church are founded on relationships and love, not accomplishments.

God doesn’t care what I accomplish if I don’t love people.

In 2015, I pushed hard to grow and attract lost families (not bad goals), but I realized that sometimes I was viewing volunteers, kids, and parents as resources and opportunities (definitely not good) rather than souls to be loved.

As a result, I’ve had to repent and recalibrate.

I’m not setting a goal for how many new families I want to join the church.

Instead I’m keeping the focus on people and relationships by helping families grow spiritually together, and empowering them to go out to other families.

So this year (I admit it won’t be easy) I’m committed to making relationships > results, and letting God work out the results how he wants.

Short Term > Long Term

Recently I was having a conversation with a volunteer kid’s leader in my church.

We were talking about the low number of guests we were having on Sundays, and started brainstorming solutions: Do we need to be more excellent? Have more practices before services? Bring in a special guest? Have a dinner theater? Spend more money on advertising? Do a huge event?

And then all of the sudden it was like God inserted a thought directly into my mind: “You just started a new strategy less than 3 months ago that you really believe in. Are you really going to start panicking before you’ve even given it a chance?”

And I realized I was taking a short term view.

I wanted immediate results, when God wanted me to take a long term view.

It was like God was saying, “The Church wasn’t built in a day; are you really prideful enough to believe that it should be any different for you?”

So this year, I’m committed to making a long term view >  the short term and letting God do what he wants to do in his time.

What > Who

In the midst of panicking and feeling sorry for myself because no guests were coming, I realized that I was letting what I do (and thinking I was doing a bad job at it), become more important than who I was in God.

It comes back to relationships again.

Just like I need to value relationships more than results, God values a relationship with me more than what I do for him.

I don’t need to be discouraged as long as I’m being faithful to what he’s called me to do.

And I don’t need to be discouraged as long as I’m growing in my relationship with God.

So this year, I’m committed to making who  > what.

What have you learned from in 2015? Leave a comment!








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