Failing Forward

Church planters are my modern day heroes. No one knows the sting of swinging and missing more than a planter but keep swinging. Baseball players make a million getting a hit three out of ten times. I love it that you cast vision and only a few catch it, you host meetings where half the crowd you invite doesn’t come; you lead services hoping for home runs and on a good day it is more like a ground rule double—but you don’t quit. If you get knocked down get back in the batter’s box.
Call it “failing forward” if that helps you realize that the accumulation of little wins in the midst of disappointments still creates progress. This is hard work to push back darkness, to swim against the stream, to overcome human inertia (and your own fears) to gain ground in making earth more like heaven. Motives get sifted, selfish people check out, passions are purified in the process and in the end only God is glorified. This way only God gets the credit.
I was thinking today about the ten spies who saw giants in the Promised Land and became afraid. They still thought like escaping slaves. They couldn’t and shouldn’t be attempting to claim their destiny or so they thought. But two saw a GIANT God and knew they were children of promise. How do you like those odds? My guess is that you are familiar with daunting giants, long odds and the challenge of getting your own thinking straight. Learn to live with it! This is the life of a planter! He who called you is Faithful and He will do the impossible through you.
I think we think too much about what we “can’t do” and not enough about what He CAN do. Don’t forget His reputation is at stake in you and His strength in you is stronger than your weakness. If you give Him your best and you keep showing up He will show up in your plant. He loves comeback stories. When something looks dead remember He specializes in resurrections. He knows that we have to surrender pride and give up control in order for Him to truly have His way. Many times what we consider “failure” is actually the very process that allows Him to trust us with great fruitfulness.
Before He can trust you with success He often allows you to see that without Him you are nothing. And with Him there is nothing that is impossible. Get on your knees today or on your face before God but don’t quit. What you think will kill you may in fact prepare you to be useful in God’s hand. He is the Potter you are the clay—let Him shape you through today’s trials in His own image. There is a Promised Land for you too.