Thank God for Failure

January 12, 2011 - Mac Lake - Leadership Development
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I don’t know anyone who likes to fail.  We all try our hardest to avoid it, yet it’s inevitable.  I was working with a young leader recently who was exercising a new leadership skill for the first time.  We talked through details for approaching this new competency, but afterward he came to me discouraged.  The outcome was something he labeled a “FAILURE”.  He wrestled with self-doubt, he battled with his ego, and asked himself a laundry list of self-examination questions.  While it didn’t go as he envisioned, he was now asking all the right questions, and was eager to learn.

I don’t enjoy watching anyone fail but I do enjoy being there to help a young leader process his mistakes.  You see failure without a mentor can be disastrous but failure with a mentor leads to development.

In Acts 13:13 John Mark clearly abandoned the God-ordained calling to travel with the team commissioned to take the gospel to the Gentiles.  A few years later this failure caused Paul to reject Mark as a team member on the second missionary journey.  But Barnabas refused to give up on Mark and invited him to travel with him to minister in Cyprus  (Acts 15:37-38).  Barnabas mentorship undoubtedly paid off because years later Paul told Timothy, “Send Mark because he is valuable to me.”

I thank God for failure because…

  • It gives me the opportunity to authenticate my belief in the leaders I mentor.
  • It gives me the opportunity to be there to answer the tough questions
  • it gives them the opportunity to demonstrate emotional fortitude.
  • It gives them the chance to gain leadership wisdom.

When a young leader under your supervision fails, thank God because you’ll find this to be one of the most opportune times for leadership development, don’t miss it.

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Mac Lake

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2 responses to Thank God for Failure

  1. Good stuff, Mac. I would also add that our failure points us to Jesus as the one who never fails, and reminds us that our goal is not to trust in our own ability to lead but to trust in His ability to lead and build His kingdom for His glory and people’s joy.

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  1. Mac Lake » Blog Archive » The Deeper Benefits of Failure - January 18, 2011

    […] week I wrote a post “Thank God for Failure”.  As leaders I believe we have to embrace the benefits of failure more. Failure is fertile ground […]

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