Going through my emails yesterday one was titled: “failure notification”. Obviously something had gone wrong somewhere and an automated reply popped up. A thought struck me as I read that: our churches need that on the front door: a failure notification. In the sense that we’re all failures and will fail at some time. In the sense that we’re all broken people, and no church community can ever be perfect. In fact, in the sense that every Christian community is a broken one, with broken people who will fail and let each other down at some point along the way. It’s time to get real isn’t it and face up to our unrealistic expectations.
I’ve loved the series we’ve been doing since Easter on Ordinary People: Extraordinary God. I’ve loved looking at the so many examples of failures in the Bible, and how that didn’t stop people being part of God’s amazing plan. I’m broken. I’ve failed at many many things. No doubt you are and no doubt you have too.
Whilst pastoring the brilliant and super-hard working team at New Wine Ground Breakers a few weeks ago I got to hear the morning series taught by Jordan Seng – what a blessing and what a message. It was called “The Life of Try”. In short, he said faith is spelled, T-R-Y. Try! And building a culture of faith involves learning to live with and celebrate failure. Isn’t the Bible and the gospel of Jesus all about God working with and accepting broken, imperfect people and taking them on a journey of transformation? Maybe more people will listen to our message when they realise they don’t have to be perfect before they belong?
We may fail, over and over again – but we will keep on trying – with God’s grace and power.
Put it on a T-shirt, a cap, a bracelet, wherever you like, and keep encouraging everyone around you to TRY.
[PS – and when things don’t work out, congratulate them/yourself for trying.]