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Failure is Not My Enemy

For the past few weeks I’ve had the word failure ringing in my ears. Specifically something said to me when I was interviewing for the job I currently have. I was told that failure was not looked down upon, and that I would be allowed the opportunity to fail from time to time. Over the past year I haven’t failed much, if at all. And to be honest, it’s been bothering me. Why haven’t I failed? Is it because I’m a great planner, and overseer of Children’s Ministry (which may or may not be true) or is it because I haven’t really taken BIG risks since I’ve been here?

As I sat in a meeting this week, our pastor was teaching about the characteristics of a growing environment. One characteristic was that a growing environment is a place were failure is not an enemy. (I believe his teaching originated from something John Maxwell had done.)

I’m thinking there might be different types of failure, and tomorrow I’ll share my thoughts on it. Before then, how about some thoughts on learning to live without a fear of failure.

Come on, any failure scaredy-cats out

Jonathan Cliff is married to his wife Starr and they together live out their days with two sons and a daughter. Jonathan serves as one of the Pastors at Grace Community Church in Clarksville, Tennessee; where he works with leaders throughout the city to help develop Christian community that leads to deep and meaningful spiritual friendships. His journey has been an adventurous one, having served in the local church for 15 years in family ministry developing leaders, building environments for kids and students to belong, and encouraging parents to take big spiritual steps with their families.


  1. Cathy Harwick · September 18, 2008

    I see “failure” two ways. One is that failure promotes us and secondly failures are lessons learned. As a leader, I never want to stop learning so the way I see it, in my continuum of learning is that I WILL continue to experience failure, I WILL fail not meaning to but I have the faith to know that on this journey it will grow me through lessons learned and promote me. After all, ministry is “Risky Business” and I LOVE IT!!

  2. Gonzo! · September 18, 2008

    I too think that the lack of planning will expedite failure. On the other hand, all the planning in the world will not excuse failure trying to rear it’s head from time to time. I think the most important thing about failure is how we handle it as soon as we notice it is happening, basically how we can, “minimize the catastrophe” as things start to fail.
    For instance the commuter and freight train collision in Los Angeles that has claimed 26 lives. It is known that the conductor of the commuter train never hit the primary or emergency brake before impact. It has been suspected that the conductor was distracted, and or not paying attention prior to the collision. Question? Could he have prevented the collision, after he noticed he was about collide with another train? I can’t answer that, but I know this. If he had been paying attention and fully alert of his surroundings and situation, this failure would not have happened, and I would be using another story as reference.
    Take Care