Stew on This: Dealing with Failure Pastor Resources
From the perceived perception of failure when looking at lack of church growth numerically, as discussed in the Christianity Today article The Top 3 Reasons Church Growth Ideas Usually Fail In Smaller Churches to financial failure or feelings of personal failure for ministry leaders, failure is a hot topic. The list goes on and on. Whatever the perceived failure in life or ministry may be in your life, it is likely that on some level you shoulder it as a personal failure. So, this post focuses on what not to do in dealing with failure. This list of wrong ways to react is generated from personal experience.
Handling Failure Pastor Resources: 4 Things Not to Do
- Don’t blow up –
You may know the good old anger technique. Do you become angry at others who aren’t coming through for you the way you want or expect? It’s easy to feel that it’s their fault you failed. Anger turned inward is common too. There is often a self-directed anger in failure. You might say, “I can’t believe I’m such an idiot for doing something so stupid and messing things up so badly.” That sets in motion a whole set of issues and problems that may even lead to some serious depressive feelings and behaviors.
- Don’t cover things up –
This is one almost everyone is an expert in. Go back and read the story of original sin in the Garden of Eden. You’ll find that the reflex reaction of dealing with it was to “cover up.” A seemingly easy solution is to avoid the consequences and cover the liability by blaming someone else. Adam said, “not me, the woman you gave me – not me, the serpent you made.” “It’s not my fault,” is the mantra of covering up.
- Don’t speed up –
It’s hard to live with the reality of failure and one of the wrong ways people deal with it is to bury it in busyness. You may think, “If I stay engaged in enough things, I won’t have to think about it. Or maybe I can compensate.” It leads to do-goodism, which is guilt-motivated helping that keeps us busily involved doing good things. But, it also can prevent us from properly dealing with our failure.
- Don’t give up –
Giving up involves dejected withdrawal. Try not to think, “I’ll sit out the ‘life to the full’ that God intends for me. I’ll go through spiritual motions, but my heart is closed. I don’t deserve anything more, I’ll just get to the grave trying not to mess up too much more.” Life will continue on either way, but it is much more empty to withdraw.
Have you tried any of those wrong ways of dealing with failure? The more revealing question is, are you using any now?
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