It has been a very exciting, and a very long couple of weeks in the life of the Synod of Mid-America. In the last two weeks, we have held our GPS gathering, as well as undertaken the herculean task of relocating our offices. I have to admit that after these two weeks, even this extravert is out of energy. As I sit here typing, I am thinking about how tired I am- about how hard it is to find the right words to share. In fact, I am worried that this might be the worst blog post ever written.
How many times in our life and our work, do we find ourselves asking this same question? This might be the worst sermon/presentation/bible study ever? We all want to make good and beautiful art, but we live in fear of only creating chaotic dissonance. We want to paint our own Picasso, but we're scared that we would end up with only stick figures and scribble. We are afraid to make mistakes, we are afraid to fail.
One of my mentors told me that success is important, but what really defines us is our ability to fail well. I think that this holds especially true for those of us working in the church. We only become successful by taking risks, by making big mistakes, by failing, and then learning from these experiences. Good ministry and good art (whatever its form) only comes from practice.
On Monday, Seth Godin wrote an excellent post, in which he talked about the importance of epic failure. Godin said,
"Just about anything worth doing is worth doing better, which means, of course, that (at least at first) there will be failure. That's not a problem (in the long run), it's merely a step along the way. If you're not willing to get your 'worst one ever' out of the way, how will you possibly do better than that?"
Godin is right. How different would things be if as community called the church, we all learned to fail, and fail well? How much more creative and free would we be if we accepted that failure is a cornerstone of learning and progress ?
I am not sure that it would make everything better, but it sure would make it more interesting. Maybe then as a church, we would stop looking at our failure as something to lament, and we would see them as places to practice our art and live into God's grace a little bit more.