Archives For failure

I accepted a full-time job with Covenant Eyes as a Church Consultant.  My primary role will be working with churches who are interested in addressing and removing pornography from their churches.  If you are a church leader and are interested in this, contact me as this is the exclusive focus of my new job.

I am staying at Crossroads Church as a member and will be in the preaching rotation, but will no longer be on staff and will no longer be on the decision-making elder team.  I’ll have a title of Pastor Emeritus, which sounds like something from Star Wars.  This title honors my founding of the church and the role I’ve played in the congregation’s life, but is a volunteer role that does not carry decision-making authority with it.

Our church members received letters from me last week, but I thought a blog post filling others in would be good as well.  This is also good for me as I process things through writing them out, and I’ll probably share some soul-level things here that fit my personal blog format better than they would a letter to my church members. Continue Reading…

at a crossroads behind the curtain ministry podcast noah filipiakThe church Jeremy Dowsett started 10 years ago closed its doors in 2015.  In this interview, Jeremy takes us behind the curtain of how he’s handled this emotionally and spiritually.  Every church planter who has gone through this experience is going to be unique and Jeremy is no exception.  The interview walks through the flaws in Evangelical Protestantism that Jeremy experienced and how that eventually led him to convert to Catholicism.  We also discuss the emotional weight of pastoring a church plant and what it’s been like to be away from that weight, as well as if it’s possible for a church planter to truly experience the freedom of the gospel of grace while in the midst of shouldering the load of church planting, or if the two are mutually exclusive.  Jeremy also wrote a blog post in 2014 that got so many hits it broke the Internet, making Noah jealous, which we also discuss.

Connect with Jeremy on Facebook and Twitter

Jeremy’s blog:

Jeremy’s blog post that broke the Internet, “What My Bike Taught Me About White Privilege”

Related blog post from Noah: “Problems with the Protestant Reformation”


What Does the Bible Say About Ministry Success?

Worshiping Ministry Success like Gideon’s Golden Ephod

Gideon is most well known for using the moisture level of a fleece to determine if God wanted him to attack an army or not.  All in all, he is typically known as one of the good guys, someone who was faithful to the Lord, who walked righteously and who delivered God’s people from oppressive armies and from idolatry (Judges 6-8).  Heck he even made honorable mention in the “Hall of Faith” in Hebrews 11:32.  In spite of all this, there is a subtle little scene placed at the very end of Scripture’s account Gideon’s life that is much more convicting and probably much more applicable than anything else written about him, fleece included.

Gideon has achieved massive success.  He has led the Israelites faithfully.  He has freed them from the physical oppression of enemy armies and most importantly, he did what was nearly impossible to do in the Old Testament, and that was get the Israelites to stop worshiping idols.

This is a ministry dream come true.  (If Christian magazines existed back then, Gideon would have for sure been everyone’s cover boy) Continue Reading…

Look back on your life at the times you learned the deepest lessons.

Look back on your life at the times you were most desperate for God.

Look back on your life at the times you accused God of abandoning or neglecting you.

There’s a good chance that the memories that come to mind here are memories of failure.  Times when you expected God to come through for you and he didn’t–not in the way you planned at least.

When I started our church 10 years ago, I cold-called a pastor whose church was in the neighborhood we wanted to be in and asked if we could use their building on Saturday nights.  It was a cold-call email actually.  And he was crazy enough to actually email me back.  And crazy enough to say yes.

As it turns out he, now in his 60s, also started a church when he was 22 so he had a soft spot for me.  Like you have a soft spot for the runt puppy of the litter who can’t walk straight and is going to need more medical attention than any of the rest.

As we met and talked, he told me he’d be praying for me that I’d fail. Continue Reading…

What does the Bible say about insecurity?

Failure, Insecurity as a Striving Pastor & Finding My Soul in Jesus

Much of my 10 years as a church planter have been riddled with anxiety, performance and self-striving.  When I started out in 2005, I envisioned leading thousands of people to Jesus…for Jesus’ glory of course.

The church planting textbooks and the pressures of a church planting network told me that after our 9 month prepatory stage, we should have around 150 people on our first public Sunday, with week 2 taking a dip down to around 80, then it should build up from there, hitting a steady 150-200 within the first two years or so.

We had 50 people our first Sunday.  I unconsciously lied and told my support team we had 90.  I told them I didn’t count (only people with ego problems count, I told myself).  But I estimated 90.

We had 18 people our second Sunday.

So we had 18 people our second Sunday.





You get the idea.  Oh and I am counting myself of course.

It’s hard not to count when there are 18 (17) people in a room.

What is 18 (17) people to a church planter?

It is failure.  Continue Reading…