Fear Of Whales

Tales of a reluctant minister

How To Fail

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"Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better." – Samuel Beckett

I don’t talk enough about my failures.

It’s a complicated situation to talk about. Many Christians don’t understand failure, and think failure and faithfulness do not go together. All of us, even me, have a tendancy to wonder what a failing person did wrong. So it becomes dangerous for leaders to talk about their failures. So leaders don’t. So the misunderstanding never gets fixed.

The truth is that most ministry fails. What’s more, the ministry that succeeds does so for a number of factors that are complicated, and usually unknown to us. The reality then, is that the best way to create a successful ministry, is to create unsuccessful ministries until one fails to be unsuccessful. That’s my method.

I can’t count the number of small groups I’ve worked with, projects I’ve started, dreams I’ve invested time and money in, that have ended in failure. Some died in the womb, some did not survive implementation, some lasted a long time before eventually turning belly up. All of them offered lessons and insight of course, but I’m not going to sit here and pretend that the lessons learned are always useful. Save one.

They all taught me how to fail.

Every other field knows this. If you ask a writer how to write well, they will tell you to write every day, get all the bad writing out of your system, one day you will realise it’s gotten good. Ask a game designer how to make good games, you make a prototype, playtest and fail. You ask a salesman how to sell, It’s a numbers game, get 100 “NOs”… Why then, when you ask someone how to minister do they tell you to continue in steadfast prayer and fasting?

Let’s fail boldly into the future.


Written by RyanGaffney

December 7, 2016 at 7:00 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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