My Biggest Blunders

Yesterday I listened to a teaching by John Maxwell that he delivered at the Catalyst 2008 Conference.  His topic was failure.  When had he failed, what did he do wrong and what would he like a chance to do again were his primary angles.

It has made me think heavily about my blunders over the years.  I have many and although there is no intended order of importance, I’d like to list a few here.

I have transformed some of these.  I have learned from them.  And hopefully, I will be better the next time around.

Leaders must be brave enough to make mistakes, honest enough to recognize them, mature enough to learn from them and disciplined enough not to make them in recurring fashion…

1.  I have gained my self worth from my ministry success/failures.  This is a big one.  I still struggle with feeling like I am the sum of what I can produce in ministry.  Big blunder.  Each time I get away like I am this week and focus on my relationship with Christ, I am reminded of this flaw.  I have, however, noticed some pretty cool progress in this area and hope that as I grow and mature I will continue to bounce this blunder out of my life.

2.  I have put my job in front of my family.  My wife, Stephanie, has been wonderful at showing this flaw to me.  I think that in the first 5 years of planting 4RC, I made some horrible habbits that produced this blunder.  I’ve made some changes that seem to be taking great strides toward health in this area of my life now…

3.  I have not always known who to trust and who not to trust.  Many of our congregations problems have come from me empowering the wrong people and not listening to the right people.  Tonight, Len Sweet said that if you look at the 12 closest people to you… there will always be one Judas.  I have rarely been able to recognize those situations.  Big mistake.

4.  I have tried to ‘sell’ the church to its members instead of ‘sharing’ the church with its people.  So when things were bad… I tried my best to make things look OK.  When things were tanking… I wanted so much to make people proud of it.  We could have avoided many struggles if I had simply been honest and spoken with candor.  Big blunder…

5.  I have not had a clear understanding of my own weaknesses and strengths.  This caused me to be too confident in some areas and not nearly confident in another.  If you’ve watched me closely.. you have seen this one first hand.  I am just now beginning to be surrounded by people who are helping me see my weaknesses and also uplifting my strengths.  God has been very good in this area.

6.  I’ve focused too much on numerical growth and not enough on telling the story of Jesus and the church.  I’m still figuring this one out honestly…

7.  I have let people with bad behavior get away with it for too long.  In an effort to be kind and patient… I have let a ‘little leaven’ mess up the whole loaf from time to time.  We are dealing with this one right now.

8.  I have tried to control what simply can’t be controlled.  Nuff said.

9.  At times I let things be far too much about me… and at other times I bowed out too quickly and didn’t stand strong about my role and authority.  This one is still very hard for me.  I don’t want things to be about me.  But I’m beginning to learn that when you are the voice of the vision… you have to be visible.  And that can be confusing.

10.  I haven’t wisely applied lessons that I’ve learned.  I have had some of the best teachers in the world.  They have poured so much into me.  But sometimes I didn’t see the application of the truth.  Looking back, I can see where I should have implemented several things that I knew about years ago.

Now, I know it will be tempting to add to this list yourself.  And honestly, if you can think of something that should have been on this list… send it to me via email.  I just might need to hear it.

But the biggest challenge is to make your list.  How about adding 5 of your weaknesses to this list.  Lets create a conversation of honestly about our weaknesses.