What if it Does Not Work?

Table of Contents


National Association of Christian Ministers Leadership Series

By Michael Mooney, NACM Exec. Elder

When it comes to church/ministry planning, there is always a very important perspective to consider:


What if God is or is not in it?

    • Does success mean blessing?
    • Does failure mean you did not choose the path of God’s will?
    • How are success and failure correctly defined?


Consider the below Scripture:


  • Then there stood up one in the Sanhedrin, a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a doctor of the Law honored among all the people. And he commanded the apostles to be put outside a little space. (Act 5:34)


  • And he said to them, Men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what you intend to do regarding these men. (Act 5:35)


  • For before these days Theudas rose up, boasting himself to be somebody; a number of men, about four hundred, joined themselves to him; who was slain. And all, as many as obeyed him, were scattered and brought to nothing. (Act 5:36)


  • After this one, Judas of Galilee rose up in the days of the Registration, and drew away considerable people after him. Yet that one perished; and all, as many as obeyed him, were scattered. (Act 5:37)


  • And now I say to you, Withdraw from these men and let them alone. For if this counsel or this work is of men, it will come to nothing. (Act5:38).


  • But if it is of God, you cannot overthrow it, lest perhaps you be found even to fight against God. (Act 5:39)


Interpretive questions:

1) Should Christian ministers use Gamaliel’s reasoning regarding the work of the Lord?

2) Does our definition of “success” equal God’s approval?

3) Are there other religious movements that cannot be of God that seem to fit into our terms of “success”?

4) How can Gamaliel’s reasoning damage Christian faith?

5) How can Christians use Gamaliel’s reasoning as a crutch for perceived failure?

6) How can Gamaliel’s reasoning encourage Christian faith?

7) How can Christians use Gamaliel’s reasoning as a crutch for perceived success?