Summary: Failure teaches us how to succeed

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SERIES: IT: Finding It, Keeping It, and Sharing It

(freely adapted from Craig Groeschel’s It: How Churches and Leader Can Get it and Keep it)




Graduates, we recognize your accomplishments. You have earned your diplomas and are ready to move on in life. We pray that you will live in a way that honors Jesus Christ. This morning, I’m not doing a message specifically for you. I originally intended to preach this message last Sunday. But as I worked on this message several weeks ago, I knew that it had lessons for you as well as the rest of our congregation.

We’re continuing on this morning in our series: IT: Finding It, Keeping It, and Sharing It. The first message was “What is it?” We defined it this way – “It is what God does through a rare combination of certain qualities found in his people.” Those qualities are: 1. A passion for his presence 2. A deep craving to reach the lost 3. Sincere integrity 4. Spirit-filled faith 5. Down-to-earth humility 6. Brokenness.

Our second message began a study of the traits that marked churches that had it and for us to learn how we can develop those traits in our congregation The first trait was a God-given, God-breathed vision and we said that “You Can See It Clearly.” The second trait was the importance of teamwork and we said that “We Experience It Together.” The third trait was innovation and we said “You’ll Do Anything For It.” The fourth trait was last week and it was about sharing the gospel because ‘You Want Others to Have It.” Today’s message is “You Fail Toward It.”

This morning we’re going to look at a concept that you may never have considered before: Failure is essential to success. Thomas Edison said, “To double your success rate, you must double your failure rate.”

I know that most of you have heard the old adage: “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” That doesn’t mean “continue in failure.” It means try it again; just don’t try the same way again. Try a different way. Someone cleverly put it this way: “If at first you don’t succeed, try second base.”

Sometimes what appears to be a failure at the moment is simply success trying to be born in a bigger and better way. John Maxwell says “…..I know of only one factor that separates those who consistently shine from those who don’t: The difference between average people and achieving people is their perception of and response to failure.” Maxwell also says, ““To achieve your dreams, you must embrace adversity and make failure a regular part of your life. If you’re not failing you’re probably not really moving forward.”

Churches with it fail often. They have leaders who are aggressive, do-what-it-takes, think-skinned people who are willing to make mistakes. They’re not afraid to fail. In contrast, churches without it are usually the ones playing it safe, doing only what is sure to succeed.

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