1. Preaching with a large price tag dangling from my new suit. My co-pastor slipped me a note informing me of my gaffe mid-sermon, but by then everyone knew that I was an idiot!
2. Planting and pastoring a church as well as starting and leading a nonprofit organization (Dare 2 Share) without prayer as a major emphasis. (This has since been corrected by the way!)
3. Twenty-plus years ago I had a meltdown in the middle of a Bible study because of an argument I got into with my wife over me being gone so much (literally and emotionally). Everyone thought it was a skit until I fell into the fetal position in the middle of the Bible study circle and wept for 30 minutes. Awkward. But God turned awkward into awesome because it saved my marriage and allowed us to work through our issues, surrounded and supported by a loving church!
4. When I used to be a pastor I did a dramatic reading of Psalm 150 one Sunday morning. I finished the passage with a booming, unintentional, “Let everything that has BREASTS praise the Lord!” And all God’s children said, “WHAAAT?”
5. Ten years ago we expanded our ministry focus at Dare 2 Share into four major areas: equipping teens to know, live, share and own their faith. The problem was this: Instead of having just one bull’s eye, teen-to-teen evangelism, we were getting distracted by other priorities. We went from a laser focus to a lightbulb. For a a short time we lost our purely evangelistic edge. Eventually we learned from our ministry fail and now are all about one thing, “Energizing the Church to Mobilize youth to Gospelize their world!”
6. I said this about my co-pastor when preaching on “cracks in our armor” on the battlefield of ministry, “Rick and I have seen each other’s cracks.” Everyone laughed and I didn’t know why so I said, “I’m serious!” And they laughed again. Someone explained it to me after the service.
7. Leading without listening.
8. Making unrealistic goals that are not prayed through, thought through and fought through. I do feel like I’m improving in this area thanks to our ministry President, Debbie Bresina.
9. Accidentally shooting a crowd of teenagers at one of our old conferences with a riot disbursement gun. This happened more than 20 years ago. I was told it shot blanks and I was using it as an illustration. We dismissed for a break as all of us were wheezing and coughing. This illustration backfired on me both literally and figuratively!
10. Speaking the truth (good at) in love (struggle with.)
And here’s a bonus one. I used to preach with suspenders on (in the late ’80s and early ’90s it was a thing.) I bought some cool new wool pants, wore them, washed them and dried them on high heat (a no-no because wool shrinks!) The next Sunday morning I put on my cool wool preaching pants. I didn’t notice they had shrunk and had technically gone to the “high water” level. Then I put on the suspenders and cranked them to high. It looked like I was wearing black, wool capris and a suit jacket. Sadly, I didn’t notice. The congregation did. Afterward, as I was shaking hands with the people on the way out, one of our members took my hand and said, “Good sermon. Has anyone talked to you about your pants?”
Yes, I have even more. But I’ll have to save those for another blog post.
What are some of your ministry fails? Whatever they are, let’s all keep failing forward together!