Many times when we fail in ministry- the mistakes are little and people don't notice, because they don't know what it's suppose to look like. This is a lesson I learned in theater doing plays. I may make a mistake on stage, miss my mark or flub a line...but most of the time the audience isn't going to pick up on that mistake.
But what do you do when you do blow it royally, and your mistake is out there for all to see?
This happened to me when I made a mistake with my leadership that cost our church a couple of thousand dollars (you can't hide that kind of money!). The mistake tore me up and I had to deal with some raw emotions and come face to face with Jesus and the cross.
What do you do when you make a mistake or fail in ministry?
1. Don't hide - As a leader, you must choose to live transparently. It will be tempting to hide and cover up a mistake because we are embarrassed. But hiding never deals with it, it only pushes it off to be dealt with in the future. God calls us to live in the light (1 John 1:7), so hiding isn't an option.
2. Don't blame - You may not be the direct source of the mistake or perhaps others in your down-line dropped the ball, but that doesn't matter. Whether or not you are in part or whole to blame for the mistake, don't try to shift the blame toward others. Others in your ministry or church won't follow you if you are always throwing them under the bus. If you need to correct and instruct someone in your down-line because of a mistake, then do so with grace, truth and love - privately. Don't ever blame someone else publicly in order to protect your own reputation.
3. Remember the Gospel - Number 1 and 2 can't be accomplished unless you are remembering the gospel. The gospel reminds you that you are accepted based on, not what you've done or haven't done (your successes or failures), but rather what Christ has done for you.
When you remind yourself that you are found fully acceptable in Christ, then you don't have to worry about what other people think - and therefore you don't have to hide.
When you remind yourself that your acceptance and Christ's love for you will never change, then you don't have to worry about your reputation - and therefore you don't have to blame others.
As a leader, I had to remind myself of these these lessons. And if you are leader, a time will come when you will have to apply them as well.