the success of failure

In the past couple of years I have been on a journey into failure according to the world’s standards. Oh, who am I kidding? This has gone on since my youth, although I have often struggled to succeed by their metrics of achievement. It is a strange, counterintuitive journey. Setting aside career aspirations in favor of relational opportunities. I wanted so badly to be a full-time children’s pastor. A successful one. You know, by the standards typically whispered about in church staff meetings, search committee deliberations, and children’s ministry conferences, and related print and web publications.

God delivered me from that path.

Strange that I would say that, right? Delivered me from an honorable profession which impacts children and their families for his kingdom?

I loved being a children’s pastor. I love listening to parents and praying for them, visiting children and families in the hospital, going to ball games, putting bandages on owies, leading kids church and teaching sunday school classes, training people of all ages to minister among kids, impacting the neighborhood through the ministry to children, loving people….

But something happened on the journey. A brokenness.  A shattered part of me that cried out for those who will NEVER step foot inside the doors of a church facility; never hear the gospel because the church has I have not been willing to go to them on their terms, in their context with love and in friendship. I can complain about the local church, but that would be unfruitful. The reality is this disobedience and unwillingness to befriend people I don’t understand or normally relate to has been my fault alone. A shattering realization. Resulting in painful tears over years of lost opportunities.

But not without hope for those days which remain ahead of me.

If this means choosing failure by the standards of the world, then so be it. Search committees, professional colleagues, and ministry pundits are not the judges of my soul. Only God can do that.

The success of failure will be when he says, “Well done.”

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3 responses to “the success of failure

  1. I too have “failed” to secure a children’s pastor “position’ since moving to Colorado three years ago. I have attempted to find a church in my area that would want me and what I “have to offer,” but I either scare them with my “web celebrity” or they just “can’t find a place” for my unique giftedness. So instead, I just devote myself to serving via equipping and encouraging others via my website or embrace “room support” – the main thing my current church regularly asks me to do. And I connect with kids and enjoy conversational ministry. Which is quite effective when done in the trenches.

    I’ve enjoyed being reminded you don’t need a title or position to impact kids, after all, Jesus simply walked and talked with people, and look at the difference He made!

  2. I appreciate your thoughts and example, Karl. Eternity will enveil many interesting stories of those moments in the trenches, whether within a staff position or without. Either way, we must remain faithful. My part is increasingly outside the walls of a church facility. So many frontiers; so few who are willing to fail in the world’s eyes so that God may reach those who would never otherwise hear the gospel. Keep doing what you are doing. I heard just recently from a missionary friend who is benefitting immensely from your kidology resources.

  3. You, my brother Glen, are far from being a failure for I am convinced that God has a definition for success that is far away from the one this world accepts. I get excited when I see folks like you and Karl believing God and following Him.

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