not a failure

1 09 2011

I was praying about church and life and stuff and wanted God to give me something for the church but he seemed to want to talk about me. I didn’t want to talk about me. Especially with my penchant for melancholy and my fear of failure. Anyway, he won and this is what I think he said to me and about me. I am supposed to say it to myself.

I cannot keep everyone happy.
I cannot keep everyone.
Especially as our congregation gets bigger.
So to not do that is not a failure.

I cannot be consistently innovative and creative.
Sometimes ordinary is good.
Simple is fine.
So to not do that is not a failure.

I cannot visit everyone.
I cannot be everyone’s pastor and friend.
Especially as our congregation gets bigger.
So to not do that is not a failure.

I cannot be a spiritual guru to all.
I cannot always be wise.
I will not always be right.
So to not do that is not a failure.

I cannot build a strong and vibrant and self-sustaining church.
Not on St Helier, not of St Helier.
It will always be beautifully and wonderfully fragile.
So to not do that is not a failure.

I cannot give everyone a vibrant, enthusiastic and dynamic living faith in Jesus.
I am just me. I do not always have it.
God is God. That is his job.
So to not do that is not a failure.

I cannot not fail. 
But the best thing about failing with God is that it doesn’t make me a failure.
He will never label me a failure.
I am just the vicar, I am.
But really I am just me.
And I will get things wrong, I will fail, but I will never be a failure.




7 responses

1 09 2011
Tim Wilson

Wonderful stuff Kevin. Should be sent to all vicars in the world!

1 09 2011

Thank you! I’m working on it… though to not get it to all the vicars in the world will not be a failure…!

1 09 2011


1 09 2011

Are you sure that message was addresed to you Kevin? It seems like it was written for me 😉
Thanks for being bold and sharing.

1 09 2011

I reckon this is true for anyone, especially mothers as we are a self critical bunch. As long as we try thats more important than failing or succeeding and its the trying to succeed that stops us being a failure.

2 09 2011
Will Cookson


Great post. I had a similar epiphany some years ago when church life was very busy and a family was in crisis and needed a child delivered somewhere and they rang me. I had promised my daughter I would take her out to a major university visit and I was in the dilemma. I chose to go with my daughter and I felt really guilty (because that’s what we so often do isn’t it!). As I was coming back from the visit I was listening to U2 and came to the line in One where it goes “Have you come here to play Jesus”. And that’s the thing that you point out – we’re not Jesus. What was great when I got home was to find that someone else helped out who knew the child much better than we did.

13 09 2011
how to not really have plan « the blog of kevin

[…] but I have yearned for stories to tell. And here we have them. It is a fragile ministry, as I have written before. My boss is going on maternity leave as the youth worker begins, upping my workload considerably; 2 […]

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