We have all failed.
God’s Grace is greater than all my sin.
Sometimes we remember the former and forget the latter. When we forget Grace, our heads and hearts get all tied up with that failure. Fail is a book that is intended to help us get untied.
I am always looking for resources to read and discuss with the leaders I am privileged to work with. I’m picky as to what I want to invest time reading, I’m not looking for is the next “hot item.” Often, I’ll let a book sit out there for a long while before I get it. Let the other guys do the “weeding” is my method. When Fail came out, that was my plan.
But I got a direct tweet from a brother who I greatly respect (and you should, by the way, follow on Twitter @MattSmethurst) linking me to TGC’s review. It was by Scotty Smith and was helpful. Some train rides had allowed me to get caught up on some reading and on Thursday Matt’s message caught my eye again. Somewhere between Kyiv and Vinnitsya I downloaded J.R.Brigg’s book and began reading. On Sunday as I returned to Kyiv on the train, I finished it.
As I see it, this book is J.R.’s story of dealing with failure and how he took a very difficult ministry experience and, facing his insecurities, sometimes head on, sometimes not, he found the Grace of God to press on through the hurt and through the tears. There is a lot of hurt and tears out there in the ministry world and that is certainly reflected on the pages of this book.
Through his conferences ( http://www.epicfailevents.com/ ) J.R. Briggs has been used by God to facilitate a lot of healing of Christian leaders. This book seems to be an attempt to take that teaching and make it more readily available.
If you read this book and score high on the Myers-Briggs “feeling” temperament, you will love it. If, on the other hand you score high on the “thinking” end of the spectrum, you may wrestle with some of the stories and the tears. Too bad. Read the book.
If you read this book and think, “Huh, he talks about pastors all the time, this must not be for me.” No. It is for all of us. Read the book.
If you read the book and wonder if the implied goal of a “robust theology of failure” was actually acomplished. I did too. Doesn’t matter. Read the book.
If you heard that there need to be more stories of reconciliation with the people who hurt us, that’s a fair critique. I don’t care. Read the book.
Are you a follower of Jesus who fails? Read the book.
But here is what really stands out to me, EVERY elder, deacon, vestryman or whatever you are called in every church should read this book. If that would happen, lay leaders of local churches could get a window of how HARD ministry is and support their pastors better.
I’m especially grateful for J.R.’s take on the idol (my word) of success in USA churches (we have, sadly, successfully exported this idol to much of the world). He is spot on regarding “success.”
His “Recommended Resources” is especially helpful as well “Guiding Questions for Pastors and Leaders.” These may very well be worth the price of the book.
But the main reason I want you to buy Fail is the clear, concise (there’s a little meandering, but not too much) system of laying out the case for spiritual development and coaching within it. If you (whether pastor, ministry leader or lay leader or simply a follower of Jesus) will begin using the tools Briggs gives you, you will grow through the crap of life and be better equipped so that God can use you to help others who are hurting. Read the book.
The one area I wish was expanded was sabbath. But no worries, read
Dan Allender’s Sabbath AFTER you read Fail. Upon further reflection and review of my highlights, this is a very important read, make the time and read the book!
Get it. click here and buy it and put it on TOP of your reading pile.