First let me insist that failing to plan is a plan to fail…I am sure you have heard that before. But it’s true. Everyone of us has potential to risk big for the Kingdom of God, but if we fail to plan for that kingdom building exercise, we plan to fail.
Dear Salvation Army, I want to share with you a simple but profound thought. Are you ready for it? Okay, here goes…It’s okay to fail!
There I’ve said it.
Without failing from time to time, we will never know how to properly prepare and improve our ministries. I fear that we have become so insulated in the development of ‘the Army empire’ that we set ourselves up for this erroneous notion that to fail would mean that we have failed the kingdom, and that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Do you remember the parable Jesus told about the talents?
Do you recall which servant was eventually chastised and kicked out?
-It was the one who buried their talent.
-It was the one who feared the master’s reproach if that talent was not returned.
-It was the one who was afraid to fail to the point of immobility.
Dear Salvation Army…
Are there places in our movement that we have become so afraid to fail that we are essentially immobile in our mission?
Is there a difference between that servant and us (if we are immobile and paralyzed with fear of failing?)
Let’s explore why failing is healthy, and failure should be an option.
Let me assure you that our main goal has never changed.
We are not changing missions in exchanges for failure.
I said failure should be an option…but never the desired outcome.
3 Reasons Why Failure IS An Option:
1) Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained…
The early Army was a mobile, flexible army.
If the mission was not working in one neighborhood, it was closed and reopened somewhere else. The key in this is the word “ventured”…it means to go, or dare to do something.
My fear is that we are doing the same thing over and over again and it’s just not working. I don’t mean the truth of the gospel, I mean the method of delivery. Our approach to the same task of reaching people in HIS name. If we are bogged down by the delivery system so much and we stop paying attention to its effectiveness, then we have lost perspective and we are no longer innovators and venturers.
How far are we sticking our necks out there?
Do we fear failure or do we take risks?
Are we more afraid of receiving reproach from our leaders than we are from the Holy Spirit as He leads us?
2) Faith Requires Leaving The Known…
God called him and Sarai out of the known and into the unknown.
He told Abram that he would be the father of many, many people.
That first step must have been hard.
That second, third, fourth, fifth…equally as hard…but they left the known.
God led them.
Let me ask you a question: Do you still believe that God leads His people?
Are we a part of that “His people”?
And if so, are we willing to step out of the known and into what is unknown?
We do not believe in a stagnant God.
We know Him to be moving and active in our world…so too ought our mission be mobile and ever moving. If we are more afraid of failing than we are of letting God lead us into the unknown then we have our priorities backwards and a spiritual alignment must take place before we actually fail.
3) Rejection WILL Happen…
Jesus was not always successful in reaching the lost, poor, hurting.
There were some who never accepted Him.
There were still others who completely rejected Him.
When we pick up our crosses and follow Him, we have to recognize that with that laborious effort of cross-carrying there will be rejection – we will face scorn, hurt, loss, pain and people will bounce us from their lives.
The Great Commission is risky business!
We will not only risk a lot, but we will face rejection frequently.
(I’m not really selling this very well am I?)
I’m just being honest – the decision to Follow Jesus and to serve Him means we walk His path and place others before us, and love the unlovable and yes, turn the other cheek when people reject Him through our faith in action.
Questions for you to Ponder:
Is there room for failure in my ministry right now, or do I feel that I can’t afford to fail?
Am I afraid of what my leaders will think if I am not successful through this current method of ministry? (Perhaps if so, that method of delivery needs to change in order to include risk)
Am I too hard on myself when I mess up and don’t live up to the expectations I have set for my own ministry goals? (What is the Lord saying to you about this?)
How much latitude have I given myself to fall flat on my face?
What areas of my ministry needs more risk taking?
What is stopping me from taking those risks?
Who are the people that I am afraid of being rejected by?
(List them and pray for those specific people and situations)
Dear Soldiers of this Army,
It’s okay to fail from time to time.
This holistic ministry of holiness has to allow for missteps, correction and realignment.
Don’t be afraid to risk, especially if those risks have been prodded and placed on your heart by the Holy Spirit…but really investigate, dig deep and ensure that He is leading you and it is not from your own desire or ambition.
Failure IS an Option…but it’s never our desired destination, after all, we know in Whom our Victory is assured. To God be the glory!
Something more for our Army world to ponder today.