Thursday, October 16, 2014

Are you willing to fail?

At the recent Catalyst Atlanta conference, I had opportunity to hear Craig Groeschel.
He's the founder of one of the United State’s first multi-campus churches, now meeting in 120 services in over 20 multi-site locations. 

He spoke from the story of the four who brought the paralytic to Jesus. “Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus and, after digging through it, lowered the mat the paralyzed man was lying on. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven’” (Mark 2:3-5).

Groeschel addressed the necessary elements to foster a culture of innovation in our churches. These same principles foster a culture of innovation in our personal endeavors as well.

One of those elements is a willingness to fail.

Dropping a sick man through a roof so that he could be prayed for probably fits in that category. They could have dropped him on his head. But these friends were willing to risk failure.

At this late date, I recently learned that people with my personality type like things to be perfect—something with which I’ve long struggled. It has held me back in the past. I suppose one of the blessings of a few decades of life, though, is realizing time is flying, and we’d better fling things out there while we can. One of the most helpful insights I’ve read lately came from Michael Hyatt, former CEO of Thomas Nelson, who says that in this day of rapidly changing digital technology, we should view our writing as we view software—subject to constant updates. “When you sit on something until it’s ‘perfect,’ you miss a lot of opportunities,” he says. Best to put it out there and keep revising. That helps me take my white-knuckle grip off my writing and release it into God’s uses. Yes, we aim for excellence, but not to the point of paralysis.

So, if we want fresh strength, we need be willing to fail. We need to be willing attempt things for which  we don’t really know the outcome. That willingness helps get us out of the rut of perfectionism and propels us into a future of infinite possibilities.


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