Home > John's Blogs, Pastoral Ministry > Failure or Fraud? Neither!

Failure or Fraud? Neither!

I’m new to pastoral ministry, and I obviously find it quite a bit different then my old job in a large corporation. It’s not harder (or easier), just different. Because it’s so different, I have some ups and downs as I grow accustomed to ministry.  My last seven days haven’t been the best, and this article really helped.

It’s by a pastor who recognizes both his strengths and his weaknesses.  This resonates with me, since one of my strengths is recognizing my strengths and weaknesses (did that sound like a paradox?  Maybe you have to read that sentence a couple of times to understand it!).

His point is that as a pastor, he has strengths and weaknesses, but that does not make him either a failure or a fraud.  It’s true for me, too.  I think I am a failure when things don’t go well, and I think I’m a fraud when they do (the reality is, I don’t want people to know that I have very little to do with the successes – they are dependent on God’s work).  It simply highlights the need for grace:

My life swings between voices calling “failure” and “fraud.” The key is not listening to either. I’m not as bad as my critics accuse me of being, but I’m not as good as I’ve led some to believe. And right there, in the truth somewhere in between, is where we hear the voice of God. He still says to me, and to everyone called to follow Jesus, “I want you and I will use you.”

The more I think about being a failure or a fraud, the more I realize that anyone who is a Jesus-follower is tempted to call themselves a “failure” or a “fraud.”  But God called us to Christ, and we are defined by neither our successes nor our failures.  Instead, we are people called by God to be used by God.  And this only happens when we are dependent on Christ’s work in our lives.  Regardless of whether we think we are a failure or a fraud!

  1. March 25, 2008 at 3:03 pm

    I think that in many cases, our weaknesses are our strengths when out of control. One of my professors used to say – know who you are and lean the other way. That is, know your weaknesses and then balance them out.

    Thanks for your post brother John.

  2. March 25, 2008 at 4:04 pm

    I’m praying for you brother!

  3. dpcpastor
    March 25, 2008 at 4:27 pm

    I am also a pastor and so appreciate your post and link to the article. I needed it. Thank you! If you have time you can check out my blog at http://anuncommongrace.wordpress.com
    Blessings Brohter!

  4. March 26, 2008 at 8:37 pm


    Thanks for that post. It was an encouragement to me as a pastors wife too. I appreciate it.

  5. jlemke
    March 27, 2008 at 9:11 am


    That’s actually a good point. The article (and me, too) forgets that pastor’s wives go through a lot of the same ups and downs, with the corresponding feelings of failure and fraud. It’s a good thing you do a good job!!

  6. mike
    March 31, 2008 at 5:22 pm

    Good post, John. Have you ever tried fiddling on your pocket PC as a way of avoiding being a failure or a fraud? It may not actually work, but at least it will take your mind off of it. I realize that this inside joke will not make much sense to anyone else, but I felt strangely compelled to share what has worked for students/pastors in the past.

  7. jlemke
    April 3, 2008 at 12:16 pm

    Uh, oh!

    I’ve been found out!!!

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