Brokenness: God’s Strange Pathway to Greatness

God can use our brokenness and weakness to build us into the leaders he wants us to be.

I went to great lengths to prepare myself for leadership as best I could. I accumulated knowledge, skills, and experience from a vast array of Christian arenas. My hope was that no person, trial, difficulty, or circumstance would break me, regardless of the force of the hurricane. I sought to live in the reality that the same power that raised Jesus from the dead was now in me (Eph. 1:19–23). I reminded myself that greater is he who is in me than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4). I prayed like David, “With your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall” (2 Sam. 22:30).

I was determined to remain stable, firm, consistent and faithful. I was going to be a warrior, a soldier and a servant for God and his church.

My preparation, however, both formal and informal, left out one of the most important biblical pathways to grow in spiritual authority and leadership—brokenness and weakness. I didn’t understand that leadership in the name of Jesus is from the bottom up, not a grasping or controlling of circumstances and people. It is leading out of failure and pain, questions and struggles—a serving that lets go. It is a noticeably different way of life from what is commonly modeled in the world and, unfortunately, in many churches.

As a result, when the really big storms hit, I wasn’t ready.

The pressure to present an image of ourselves as strong and spiritually “together” hovers over most of us. We feel guilty for not measuring up, for not making the grade. We forget that not one of us is perfect and that we are all sinners. We forget that David, one of God’s most beloved friends, committed adultery with Bathsheba and murdered her husband. How many of us would have erased that from the history books forever lest the name of God be disgraced?

David did not. Instead, he used his absolute power as king to ensure the details of his colossal failure were published in the history books for all future generations. In fact, David wrote a song about his failure to be sung in Israel’s worship services and to be published in their worship manual, the psalms. Can you imagine doing that with our sins?

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David knew something about the power of brokenness and failure, that “the sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise” (Psalm 51:17). As a “man after God’s own heart,” David is an important leader from whom we must learn.

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Pete Scazzero is the founder of New Life Fellowship Church in Queens, New York, and the author of two best-selling books: Emotionally Healthy Spirituality and The Emotionally Healthy Church. This article was originally posted on Scazzero’s blog at