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  • How to be Unsuccessful
    How to be Unsuccessful: Episode 1

    Session 1: Success Is… Following God’s Calling over Good Ideas

    How to Be (Un)Successful book chapter for this session: 

    Chapter 1

    A note for leaders

    Welcome to the How to Be Unsuccessful series. We hope that this resource will equip you and your community to explore what being successful in God’s eyes looks like – and to discover a kind of success that truly satisfies our souls. 

    Each session of the series is designed to take one hour but can easily be adapted for your group’s needs. We recommend allowing time at the beginning to chat and get to know one another, especially if your group is new.  

    Each session will include questions to allow groups to talk about what impacted them most – feel free to spend time on the questions that are most helpful for your group, and don’t worry about getting through all the questions! However, if your group prefers to have multiple questions to work through, these are provided too.  

    We also recommend allowing time at the end for reflection and to pray for one another, especially as each session requires a little vulnerability.  

    Welcome and introduction

    5 mins

    In the first session of the series, we’ll talk about how following God’s calling might look to others like wasting your life. But if your calling isn’t about what you are going to do but rather who you are going to become, does that change how you think about it? 

    Key verses 

    “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” 

    Jeremiah 1:5  

    Begin the session by opening in prayer  

    Watch the video

    15 mins

    Bible passages 

    Jeremiah 1:5, 1:19 

    Summary points 

    • God’s measure of success for us isn’t our qualifications, but our willingness to follow his call – even when it contradicts the world’s view of success. 
    • Success in your calling is less about what you do and more about who you are becoming. 

    Discussion questions

    25 mins

    Invite each discussion group member to answer: 

    • What is your context? Who are you surrounded by? How might this be shaping the way you look at the topic of calling and purpose?  

    Together, discuss: 

    • What was your highlight from the session? 
    • How do you define a ‘successful’ person, business or church? What are the factors that are forming your opinion? 
    • How does the idea of being considered unsuccessful make you feel? 
    • What is ‘calling’? What does a ‘calling’ look like in someone’s life? 
    • If your calling isn’t about what you are going to do but rather who you are going to become, does that change how you think about it? 
    • In the discussion group, Pete and Vincynthia talk about the importance of having a community around you who encourage you in your calling. Who are those people in your life? 
    • Pete said, “It’s not that God is deliberately difficult, it’s just that while he doesn’t always call the qualified, he does qualify the called.” Do you agree? 
    • Have you ever felt God asking you to do something that seemed foolish or like a waste? What happened? 

    Prayer and practical challenge

    15 mins


    Finish your time together by closing in prayer or splitting into small groups to pray for one another’s specific needs. 

    Practical challenge 

    This week, pair up in your group and share what you know about your calling – it’s okay if you’re not totally sure! Share your best guess so far, and commit to praying for one another and encouraging each other this week. 

    Inspired by this podcast?

    More episodes in this series

    View series
    Session 2: Success Is… Pursuing Relationship over Relevance
    Episode 2
    Session 3: Success Is… Growing in Depth rather than Volume
    Episode 3
    Session 4: Success is… Transforming Over Transferring 
    Episode 4
    Session 5: Success Is… Being a Faithful Presence in the Culture Wars 
    Episode 5
    Session 6: Success is… Power and Participation 
    Episode 6