Fail by J. R. Briggs (Books on the Ministry #14)

Do you have any idea how to handle failure in the ministry? Do you have a “theology of failure”? Or a real biblical approach to combat feelings of failure? Are you aware that most every one in ministry struggles with feelings of failure? The air needs cleared, so enter this fine volume by Mr. Briggs and published by IVP.

In light of the mass discouragement of pastors in the wreckage of success-driven ministry, he asks, “Is this what Jesus had in mind for pastors–a life absent of joy and peace, and with omnipresent stress and emotional hardship?”

In some cases we are set up to fail and travail over it. Conferences often parade “successful” pastors before us that serve to show how we haven’t arrived rather than offering real encouragement. We are always looking for the next great program as the messiah for our ministries.

Mr. Briggs wrote from brokenness. On the track to success, it all blew up in his face. In his own painful, ugly journey he finally reached the place where he wanted to help us in ours. He began the improbable Epic Fail Pastors Conference, and strangely enough, it was wildly successful. From those gatherings of many other broken pastors, he learned even more and shares it with us. We must learn, he says, to preach the same grace to ourselves that we preach to others.

We pastors live with a nagging fear of failure. Though it is often a cultural deviation, we all know it is true. Sometimes this fuels a desire for a larger ministry that only stunts our current one. He quotes another and reminds us that “true freedom in Christ is when we have nothing to hide, nothing to lose, and nothing to prove.” Wow!

There are many other wonderful parts of this book. Tracing the grieving process through pastoral failure was greatly enlightening. Explaining how ministry is a process and not a product was spot on. His solutions for going past failure end the book on a hopeful note.

There were times I rolled my eyes on what he said, allowed, or did, but overall this is a keeper. Every pastor should make it a must-have in his library.

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

Find other articles in the series here.


One thought on “Fail by J. R. Briggs (Books on the Ministry #14)

  1. Pingback: Books On The Ministry #1 | The Reagan Review

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