Maybe my sto­ry and hon­esty will help you avoid mak­ing the same mis­takes.

About 25 years ago the folks at Lead­er­ship Net­work invit­ed a group of “Young Lead­ers” to a gath­er­ing in Glen Eyrie, Col­orado. The goal was that we would learn from each oth­er, and Lead­er­ship Net­work would gath­er these lessons and share them with the church at large.

The moti­va­tion was pure, but the ini­tial results were dis­as­trous. They had done this same kind of gath­er­ing with old­er lead­ers and pas­tors and found it very fruit­ful. The gath­er­ing of younger lead­ers seemed to get stuck because most of us were arro­gant, self-inter­est­ed, and not quick to lis­ten to oth­ers (we were young).

It became clear that this group was not going to humbly share from a place of trans­paren­cy and gen­eros­i­ty.

Near the end of the first day, the pri­ma­ry facil­i­ta­tor from Lead­er­ship Net­work tossed out the agen­da and decid­ed to ask us one sur­pris­ing ques­tion: Would you be will­ing to share a big mis­take or mess-up in your min­istry?

For the next three hours, leader after leader shared hon­est sto­ries of failed plans, flubbed efforts, and per­son­al mis­takes along the way. We laughed until tears flowed. The pre­tense and self-aggran­dize­ment melt­ed away.

We became friends. As a mat­ter of fact, three of the lead­ers I met at that gath­er­ing remain my friends to this day.

As sto­ries were shared, we began to learn from each other’s fail­ings and strug­gles. We start­ed to trust each oth­er. We got past the inse­cure facades and saw peo­ple who were try­ing to serve Jesus and his church.

In that same spir­it, let me share one of my biggest short­com­ings in my 30 years of min­istry. It is a pat­tern I have iden­ti­fied in the past year, and when I look back­ward, I can see that I have made the same mis­take over and over again. Maybe my sto­ry and hon­esty will help you …

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