Welcome to our next Leadership Tip where we discuss some of the most pressing issues you will face as a leader of men in your church and community.
Today, we are going to address the fear of failure that most men have.
Several years ago, Promise Keepers Canada hosted a series of Men’s Conferences called “Fearless.” At the end of the event, we asked men to stand and speak out loud their greatest fear. Overwhelmingly, thousands of men across Canada identified failure as the number one fear in their life.
In our day to day life, we would probably never guess that men fear failure. After all, when you look around, rarely do you see men who look like they are living in fear at all. Most guys have an image they portray of having life all together and in control.
So how should we as leaders address this fear if it isn’t always visible to most guys?
First, name it. If we look at the behavior of men, we start to see the signs this fear exists.
Here is what happens when many men fear failure – they don’t even try. We are so worried about our image and looking like a loser that we become paralyzed in life. Many men won’t become the spiritual leader in their family because they are so afraid of failing at it. Other men won’t start to read their Bible because they are so afraid they won’t understand it (or maybe they’ve tried before and failed and they don’t want to fail again).
When you see what is going on in men’s lives, look deeper at what is going on in their heart and quite often what you are experiencing is the fruit of the fear of failure.
There’s an opposite extreme to not trying. There are other men who fear failure but it manifests itself in trying too hard and becoming control freaks. These are the men who need to have everything done their way all the time so they can control the narrative of whatever project or relationship in their life. When you see what is going on in men’s lives, look deeper at what is going on in their heart and quite often what you are experiencing is the fruit of the fear of failure.
After you name it – take away its power. Here’s the truth of the Gospel, every man is already a failure – but failure is not what needs to define us. Teach men publicly that their fear of failure is just an image they are trying to maintain to protect against a reality we all already know exists – we are all failures to some extent. We all need a Saviour to rescue us. The fear of failure is all about keeping men living in shame, but the Gospel is all about lifting men out of that shame to a place of Spirit-filled power in their life.
The fear of failure is all about keeping men living in shame, but the Gospel is all about lifting men out of that shame to a place of Spirit-filled power in their life.
As you take away its power – begin to redefine failure. When you dig into the fear of failure what you will often discover is a terrible definition of success. Whatever a man determines it means to be a success is going to become the benchmark for whether or not he sees himself as a failure. But what if that definition of success is not God’s definition? Most men think about being a failure when it comes to their career, their bank account, and their possessions. When Jesus talks about failure in life, he talks about being faithful with what God has already entrusted to us. In other words, failure is less about what I’m trying to gain and more about how I invest in what I already have – from relationships to work to the skills God has given to me. As a leader, give men a healthy vision of success and failure from God’s perspective.
When Jesus talks about failure in life, he talks about being faithful with what God has already entrusted to us.
Once you begin to redefine failure and success – help men understand the critical nature of training. Where most of us thrive is when we take the time and space to train and develop the skills necessary to succeed. Think about how many jobs require certain levels of certification or experience in order to be able to do the job. Education and experience are both important to train us for our careers – how much more so for the entirety of our life? The Bible teaches us to train ourselves for godliness and that we are to “make every effort” to become more like Christ. As a leader, you are their spiritual trainer.
The important role you play in being this type of leader is why we have created our Leadership Training and Leadership Coaching opportunities. For more information on how you can grow as a leader who is having a greater impact in men’s lives, visit our website at impactus.org/mens-ministry.
When you address this fear, you will help unleash men to new levels of freedom in Christ.
Helping men address their fear of failure is one of the most significant challenges you will face as a leader. The devil is using this fear to hold men back from the influence and impact God created them to have. When you address this fear, you will help unleash men to new levels of freedom in Christ.