Tuesday, May 02, 2006

I am a Failed Church Planter

I am a Failed Church Planter

Some of you may have noticed that I have that in my profile. I am not down on myself about it, more I am proud that I tried, even if I failed. I believe God has given me a vision for a fellowship in Billings so to me though it may not be now, it could be in the future.

In past posts I wrote about finding other fishermen to fish with. I have been praying for that for over two years. God is good and in a strange way I believe He has equipped me in these last two years and taught me much.

I use the word failure…

Years ago I heard a sermon on How Jesus failed. The speaker preached that by the world’s standard, Jesus failed. He did not gather an army and overthrow Rome. He did not set up David’s Throne again… and sit on it forever. He was right! Jesus failed! Yet, it is the fact of His failure that brings us Salvation! (From the worldy perspective and definition Jesus has failed when nailed to the cross, yet we know now that that was the plan and in the eternal theater, this was a very successful plan.*)

I speak of “Theaters”, such as in Job, you have the theater of God and Satan, and then you have the theater of Job on earth, Job’s family, his friends and so on. With that I often look at life in that way. By faith I decide that if something is not what I had hoped or that I have failed, even at times I have succumb to weakness of the flesh, I try not to look at it in just the theater I am in. I try to think that outside of the reality I can see that God is in the works of something greater.

I know that the recent tragedy of Kyler McNulty’s death has really hit me. It is beyond heart break to see a family lose a young infant. I am shattered to the core in many ways. In that, I do believe God has a grand plan in motion. I am not so vain as to say I know what it is, but I do know the character of God through the kindness of Jesus.

To me failure in a Christian’s life is not about success as the world says and defines it. It is about learning and growing. It is about persevering and rising above circumstances to believe in faith that God is in control. To me it is failing forward. We may fall down, but we are not out. One of my favorite scriptures is Ephesians 6: 12. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
13. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. NIV

“after you have done everything, stand.” And that is what I am doing. Another verse is Romans 14. The context is about meat sacrificed to idols… yet it is about faith. Some have weaker faith and others can trust in God knowing in their hearts all things are made new and as God told Peter, all things are made clean

Romans 14

1. Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters.
2. One man's faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables.
3. The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him.
4. Who are you to judge someone else's servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

It is the last phrase that catches me. “And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.” In that I see God will lift up the weaker brother and we can depend on His faithfulness to keep us standing.

I am not ashamed of my failure, I am embracing it. It has been a really tough couple of years, and I hope to be able soon to share what I have learned. In the end it has made me only stronger.

Is this the ending or the beginning?

I have great hope for Billings Vineyard church. The Pastor, Allen Hodges is a great guy and it does not hurt to have another friend who is proficient in Hebrew and Greek and is a M div. It seems he and I have hit it off. Which is more to the point of what I was praying for… a friend to fish with.


(* this was added at a later date 5/04/06 for clearity)

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