Brother Andrew
Across Pacific Ministries
APM template

Why Brother Andrew wanted to be a failure

By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST Ministries

LONDON, UK (ANS) -- One of the first things I noticed when I moved to America back in 1982 was that people in this country love success. But back in Britain, where I had lived for most of my life, failure is looked upon as the way to go.

Cover of The Book of Heroic Failures

So it was not surprising to me when journalist Stephen Pile back in 1976 began "The Not Terribly Good Club of Great Britain." In order to join you simply had to be "not terribly good" at something -- and preferably downright awful.

The Club was immortalized by the publication in 1979 of "The Book of Heroic Failures," written by Stephen Pile and was a celebration of human inadequacy in all its forms. Like the not terribly good burglar who wore armor to protect himself from dogs and householders, only to be caught on his first time out due to the terrible noise the amour made and the fact that, weighed down by all that steel, he couldn't run away.

A surprising applicant was Brother Andrew, the author of the best-selling book, God's Smuggler, who was one of 30,000 people who applied to join. Andrew wanted to be club's chaplain and in his letter of application, he pointed out that he was a "failure" as, in those days; he could never draw a crowd when he visited Britain from his native Holland, and also because he was the only student of the Bible College he attended in Glasgow who never graduated.

The Dutchman also wrote that he represented Jesus Christ, who many thought was a failure because he was crucified. "Actually," Brother Andrew told me later, "I wanted people to realize that out of great failure came great success; salvation for millions of people."

Unfortunately, for Brother Andrew, "The Book of Heroic Failures" became a great success and Pile had to excommunicate himself from the club and then close down it down. The reason was that he had become a success!

Maybe there is a lesson in this for all of us to learn from this; that God specializes in using failures. Brother Andrew is a wonderful illustration of this with his ministry to the persecuted Christians of the world -- called Open Doors with Brother Andrew - which has helped millions of suffering believers in some of the most restricted countries on earth.

Note: This article is taken from Dan Wooding's commentary on his Front Page Radio show carried each Sunday at 5:00 PM on KWVE 107.9 FM in Southern California.

Note to the broadcast media. Front Page Radio, which is 28 minutes long, is available for broadcast on any Christian radio stations around the world. If you would like more information on how to get the weekly program, just send an e-mail to Dan Wooding at

Dan Wooding is an award winning British journalist now living in Southern California with his wife Norma. He is the founder and international director of ASSIST (Aid to Special Saints in Strategic Times) and the ASSIST News Service (ANS). He was, for ten years, a commentator, on the UPI Radio Network in Washington, DC. Wooding is the author of some 42 books, the latest of which is his autobiography, "From Tabloid to Truth", which is published by Theatron Books. To order a copy, go to
(Photo: Brother Andrew with Dan Wooding


   Building Bridges ACROSS the Barriers                                                                                                

A - Across Pacific Magazine
S - Schools