Meet the Failed Pastor Who Ministers to Other Failed Pastors
Image: Courtesy of J. R. Briggs

As a dynamic young preacher at a large church, J. R. Briggs felt God calling him to start a church plant. Gradually, the church grew, but its growth eventually stalled out. Disappointment led him to found the Epic Fail Pastors Conference—"a gathering for pastors and leaders seeking to understand how God works through failure"—and to write Fail: Finding Hope and Grace in the Midst of Ministry Failure (InterVarsity Press). Briggs spoke with Drew Dyck, managing editor of Leadership Journal, about redefining the notion of ministry success.

What attracted you to a topic that most people would rather avoid?

It started with attending pastors' conferences. They featured well-known pastors of large churches, but average pastors were never invited to share their experiences. These events were all about success and getting results. I was in the middle of a painful season of ministry. I needed something that wouldn't discourage me or add to my spiritual vertigo. I wanted to talk honestly. I needed an AA meeting for pastors, but there was no such thing.

Many pastors, ex-pastors, and Christian leaders were desperate for that type of forum. I wasn't trying to create a conference. I simply longed for a space where no one was scared by the shortcomings of other sinners, even if those sinners were also ministry leaders.

Do our issues with failure come from faulty notions of success?

I don't like using the word success when talking about ministry. I'd much rather use words like health, faithfulness, and obedience. Our culture is obsessed with success, and the church is not immune. Pastors are inundated with temptations to chase the wrong things. We need to take a hard look at how we define ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

May
Subscribe to CT and get one year free.
From Issue:
Read These Next
Also in this IssueSorry 666: Churches Fear 990 More
Sorry 666: Churches Fear 990 More
How more ministries going digital could unwittingly aid atheists targeting church tax breaks.
RecommendedJust Give Me Jesus: A Closer Look at Christians Who Don't Go to Church
Just Give Me Jesus: A Closer Look at Christians Who Don't Go to Church
Barna examines the ranks of 'spiritual but not religious' Americans.
TrendingForgiveness: Muslims Moved as Coptic Christians Do the Unimaginable
Forgiveness: Muslims Moved as Coptic Christians Do the Unimaginable
Amid ISIS attacks, faithful response inspires Egyptian society.
Editor's PickWho’s In Charge of the Christian Blogosphere?
Who’s In Charge of the Christian Blogosphere?
The age of the Internet has birthed a crisis of authority, especially for women.
Fail: Finding Hope and Grace in the Midst of Ministry Failure
Fail: Finding Hope and Grace in the Midst of Ministry Failure
IVP Books
2014-06-21
208 pp., $14.97
Buy Fail: Finding Hope and Grace in the Midst of Ministry Failure from Amazon
Christianity Today
Meet the Failed Pastor Who Ministers to Other Failed Pastors
hide thisJuly/August July/August

In the Magazine

July/August 2014

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.