Jump directly to the Content

Handling Mistakes

How to react and how to recover.

Slip-ups haunt every pastor. Some are minor; others trigger long-term problems. But not all mistakes have to be fatal. Here are some ways to prevent them from becoming terminal.

Mistake Reflexes

Mistakes can cause our hearts to churn with painful emotions and impulses. Identifying our emotions is important in not further compounding our problems and to put us on the track of recovery. Here are several emotions that often go hand-in-hand with failure:

  • Regret. Second-guessing ourselves is easy. We think, I should have been more sensitive with her, or I should have guessed what was happening to him.
  • Frustration. On paper, our ideas often look marvelous. In reality, though, we often find no one wants to have anything to do with our brilliance. When that happens, we do our best to talk people into our idea but wind up growing more frustrated with them.
  • Self-pity. Sometimes we react by adopting a victim mentality and feeling sorry for ourselves. It's as natural as nursing our hand after touching a hot griddle. But if we let ourselves wallow too long, the wound never heals. The pain never leaves, and eventually we are crippled.
Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe to Christianity Today magazine. Subscribers have full digital access to CT Pastors articles.

July/August
Support Our Work

Subscribe to CT for less than $4.25/month

Homepage Subscription Panel

Read These Next

Related
Ministry Lessons from a Muslim
Ministry Lessons from a Muslim
His unexpected message to church leaders: fully embrace your Christian identity.
From the Magazine
Disasters Often Bring Revelation Rather than Punishment
Disasters Often Bring Revelation Rather than Punishment
An 18th-century earthquake and a 21st-century pandemic can teach us about enlightenment and judgment.
Editor's Pick
When Churches Put Love at the Center
When Churches Put Love at the Center
How "beloved community" helps us envision tangible ways to embody kingdom values.
close