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'Experts on failure' share at Epic Fail Roundtable
By Alan Briggs
Director of Frontline Church Planting Center
How many of us return from conferences feeling like failures? "It seems so easy for them, so why doesn't it work for me?" I have experienced this many times and I hear it from other pastors almost monthly.
Roughly 60 individuals (including pastors, counselors, couples, lay leaders, x-pastors, church planters and businessmen) gathered this past weekend to attend Epic Fail Roundtable. They heard stories of God’s redemptive work, discussed how their lives have been shaped, prayed for one another and asked God to redefine our faulty views of success.
The Spirit was active during our time together healing old wounds, grounding young pastors sprinting toward 'success' and twisting our hearts together. We prayed, listened, worshiped, journaled, celebrated and dreamed.
This was a space where two types of folks shared. First 'storytellers' shared their stories of failure, struggle or perceived failure and how God shaped them through these. We also had 'experts on failure' share about the roots behind failure and unpack why the fear of failure grips us so much.
Alan Briggs’ brother, J.R. Briggs, began dreaming of a conference geared for faithfulness instead of the typical success metrics we tend to esteem a few years back. Just last year they launched Epic Fail Pastors Conference in Lansdale, PA. As we dreamed about a more Coloradoesque expression of this we dreamed up Epic Fail Roundtable. This would fit in as a regular piece of our monthly Cultivate Learning Track through Frontline Church Planting Center.
I can truly say it was the most moving formal gathering of pastors I have ever been a part of. Psalm 133 rung true in our hearts as we experienced firsthand "How good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!"
Here are the key reasons that I believe this weekend was glorifying to our Father & encouraging to those attending.
BRUTAL HONESTY You cannot talk about failure without talking about the accompanying emotions. Let’s face it; these emotions can be brutal. The presenters courageously shared their stories and, maybe even more courageously, shared the emotions and thoughts that they processed during these times. There were no pleasantries, no fluff- just real stories of faith through the struggle.
GODWARD STORIES The presenters (storytellers & experts) did an amazing job of sharing their stories but not making it about them. They framed what happened in their lives while also framing the goodness and redemption of our God.
RELATIONAL CONNECTION People didn’t just hear stories; they got to share them with one another. It was incredible to watch people connect during the weekend, eat lunch together, pray for one another & share communion. This truly was a diverse, yet unified, picture of the Bride of Christ.
THE HOLY SPIRIT Without the thick covering of the Holy Spirit an event like this cannot succeed. We were aware, even during the event, that the Spirit was at work confirming, revealing & challenging us. What a beautiful thing to see God’s people submitting to God’s whispers!
Look for our Epic Fail reflections video in the coming weeks to get a different vantage of this event. We are praying that others would start small Epic Fail events in their region in order to see vulnerable networks arise among spiritual leaders. Please contact Frontline Church Planting Center if you are interested in making this a reality in your context.