It’s been a few years since I ended the ministry of Community of Grace Christian Church. For those not in the know, I helped launch a new church back in 2004. It had a shaky start, and then pretty much went downhill from there. Long story short, it was a failed church start. By 2007, I was tired and frustrated. I decided it was time to let this failing ministry die.
The resulting weeks and months after the closing were pretty had for me. I felt anger and shame. Most of all, I felt that I had failed.
As I look back over the last few years, I’ve started to see that maybe there was some good that came out of failure. Knowing what not to do as a church, has really helped me in my current call.
In our society, we like to say that failure is not an option. But the fact is, we do fail. Sometimes we are not going to hit the mark. Sometimes we will miss it by a country mile. But the fact is, sometimes we will fail.
And when we do fail, we then feel the shame of falling short. But we try to cover up our shame and want to blame others. We don’t want people to see us hurt, to see our pain. Church can be a cold place and if people see our hurt, it can be like blood in the water to some in the pews.
The funny thing is that Jesus knew failure as well. Good Friday is the day that God failed. Yes, I know this was the thing that gave us freedom, but it was also a crushing blow. Here was Jesus trying to preach and heal and in the end, he gets crucified like common thief. He was supposed to be the guy who would bring salvation and he couldn’t even save himself.
In the end, Jesus understands when we fail. God is right there with us. I don’t know if it gets rid of the shame, but it sure makes it damn easier. And it makes those Easter moments all the more sweeter.
So, I’m thankful that I failed.
…though, I don’t want to make a habit of it. 🙂
Dennis Sanders is Associate Pastor at First Christian Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He describes himself as “your typical gay, libertarian, autistic, African American, Puerto Rican pastor just trying to figure out life.” He blogs at A Pastor Named Questor.