Can a Christian Leader let his people fail? He must!


Devotional Thought of the Day:

And now, a word to you who are elders in the churches. I, too, am an elder and a witness to the sufferings of Christ. And I, too, will share in his glory when he is revealed to the whole world. As a fellow elder, I appeal to you: 2  Care for the flock that God has entrusted to you. Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly—not for what you will get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God. 3  Don’t lord it over the people assigned to your care, but lead them by your own good example.  1 Peter 5:1-3 (NLT)

If we say, ‘We have no sin,’ we are deceiving ourselves, and truth has no place in us; 9  if we acknowledge our sins, he is trustworthy and upright, so that he will forgive our sins and will cleanse us from all evil.1 John 1:8-9 (NJB)  

402    People have to be taught how to work, but their training need not be overdone, for actually doing things is a way of learning too. They should accept in advance their unavoidable shortcomings: the best is the enemy of the good.  (1)

It is one of the hardest lessons that pastors and other Christian leaders have to learn.  I still struggle with it, the guys I mentor, yes they do as well.

It seems a paradox, counter-intuitive to the responsibility for them that we have been given.  We want them to succeed, we want them to grow, we want them to rejoice in all things.

So we have to let them fail?

Yes!  And yes, it hurts, yes we want to go in and fix everything, to make an event succeed, to help a couple before they need counsel,  FOr oto wait, the problems will be worse, the pain to correct them more intense.  The question then arises, will they blame us for their failure?

But I think it is caring even more to embrace the pain of their failure, to be their, waiting for the prodigal to come home.

Two reasons for letting them fail.

1.  We learn better from our mistakes.  It stops the learning process if everything always goes smoothly, They have to learn when to ask for help, when to admit they are overreached, and how to do the work to correct their errors, For it is there, that the most significant

2.  They need to learn about God’s presence there, ready to cleanse them.  They need to know that failure doesn’t result in condemnaiton, but in reconciliation.  People have to realize that God loves them, (and so should we) even when we fail, so that we run to Him first, so we know we will encounter grace not condemnaiton.  That they will realize what it means for God to be God. To be their Father.  They have to get that, and it is more important than their doing everything right the first time.

Two reasons for those around them…

1.  We all need to learn to be graceful to those around us.  If failures are treated with grace this will happen.  We don’t want to encourage people to fail, but we want them to know that some failure, some shortcomings is unavailable.

2.  We, as servant leaders, need to grow in our faith of God.  Every servant leader in scripture failed, some dealt with it (King David, St. Peter), many didn’t (king Saul for example).  But to let our people fail, to even stand by and watch it happen, requires us to have both a pastor’s heart and a deep faith that knows that all will work for good for those that love God.  That in failure, our people will have to meet Christ crucified, that they will adore the God who knows their sufferings and will rescue them.  We must trust God…. and that trust has to grow…that expectation of His grace has to be so ingrained in our lives, that it is lived in view of our people.   THat we realize that the sins of the people of God and all unrighteousness and evil is cleansed from us.

So let them fail, and be there with God to lovingly pick them up, be there to see the wounds heal, and to help them learn the lesson.

FOr that is what we do….


(1)   Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). Furrow (Kindle Locations 1816-1818). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.



About justifiedandsinner

I am a pastor of a Concordia Lutheran Church in Cerritos, California, where we rejoice in God's saving us from our sin, and the unrighteousness of the world. It is all about His work, the gift of salvation given to all who trust in Jesus Christ, and what He has done that is revealed in Scripture. God deserves all the glory, honor and praise, for He has rescued and redeemed His people.

Posted on November 5, 2013, in Devotions, Theology in Practice and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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