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Failure – part of our discipleship path


What do you do when you have a strong desire to pursue your passion and  bless your service audience but, after presenting to them your proposal, they do not respond in the way you were expecting? Well, then you can do two things: learn about your real spiritual condition, and witness Him transforming you. After all, in this life we are never done with our Spiritual Transformation. We have to cultivate and be cultivated constantly, and failure is a very good tool for that..



Passion: Teaching chess * Service Audience: Parents of elementary school students * Fuel Element: The Process (Cultivate constantly) * Type: R&D


At the beginning of the year I sensed God was directing me to revive one of the ways we used to serve our community, when we first moved here: teaching chess to elementary school students. A while back we even had a chess club, official member of the US Chess Federation. Back in 2016 I decided that I would not be pursuing this passion of mine (teaching chess to kids), but instead I would try to focus on serving adults, pursuing my passion for coaching and mentoring.


But with God again bringing teaching chess to my attention, I decided to follow His guidance and give it another try. This time, besides using the usual means to advertise our club, I ran a Facebook ad campaign and connected with two social organizations who are already serving our community.


And it worked!


After six days of running this campaign, I had 12 parents saying they were interested in chess lessons for their kids.


To me, that was a clear indication that God was in this .


When I asked the parents to come to an information meeting – the first requirement to register their kids in our club – only four of them said they would come. The day of the meeting there was no one there but my wife and I.


From 12 to 4 to 0.


What happened? This time things were going very well: I had the first 12 lessons planned, I was using new ways to communicate more effectively with parents, and the overall quality level and formality were higher than in previous instances of The Gwinnett Chess Co.


Why did it fail, then?


And more importantly, at least for me, was the question of what to do next.


Serving people in a setting that is culturally diverse is like this; results like this are very common (the norm?) when we are trying to make disciples among the nations. And it is in this context that we must be very careful in the way we respond. We don’t want to throw the towel, believing that cultural differences are insurmountable – the Good News are still powerful! At the same time, we do not want to be stubborn and, without considering the response, continue blindly with our original plan.


If we remember that we need to be constantly cultivated to follow Christ in humility, if we remember that God the Holy Spirit must work in us persistently in the restoration of our heart, if we remember that we will never reach a finish line – not on this life – in our own discipleship path, then we will understand that failure could be used by Him as He makes us more and more like Jesus our Lord.




He can use failure to:

  1. Show us what is really in our heart. The way we react to things not going the way we want them can point us to our own idols and desires.
  2. SHow us His work in us. After the disappointment, if we still want to pursue our passion for His glory and the benefit of others, if we still have a desire to see Him changing human hearts through us, then we are witnessing Him transforming us.


Don’t be discouraged for too long. Ask Him to expose your idolatry and then, with Him working in you and through you, press on.



Call to Action

Consider your last failure to bless others and honor Him. What did you learn about you and about Him through that experience? Share!


Remember His grace, Follow Him in humility, Cultivate constantly, All in cultural diversity.





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