4 Ways To Embrace Failure

How does failure affect you?

Every new venture has the potential to succeed or fail. ..BUT only if you actually take a risk.  This is very true for churches when they launch their first multisite campus as well.  Nine months since our launch and the lessons continue to flood in weekly.


Recently, our streaming video teaching failed in a BIG way!  So I thought I’d write about it (insert smirk).  What exactly happened and why is less important than actually taking steps to ensure that this virtually does’t happen again.  Our team got together during the week, collaborated, and agreed on a process.  All I can say is that the next campus our church launches should be much better off as a result of the lessons we’ve learned.

So, what are we to do when things go wrong…whether we caused it or not?  The choice is up to you and I.

Here are 4 ways to EMBRACE failure.

1)  Expect it | What we can see coming (to a degree) prepares us to better deal with it mentally when it hits.  It’s like a warning.  And I’m not talking about pessimism either.  Reality and experience teach us that failures are a part of life.

2)  Don’t fear it | Fear can keep us from taking future risks.  Fear screams, “Don’t even try that!”  Here’s the thing, fear of failure crowns complacency as King.  We don’t want that.

3)  Learn from it | Failures not learned from are usually repeated.  If you continue to stub your toe on the same item when you get up in the middle of the night to use the restroom, don’t you eventually move that item?  Learning usually requires some level of adjustment.  Leaders who don’t learn from their failures fail to grow.

4)  Share it | Grab a huge piece of humble pie, own your “Well that didn’t go as I had hoped” moment, and help others to grow their leadership from your experience.  Most of the incredibly helpful leaders I have learned from in the past 20 years of ministry realized that sharing their personal mishaps actually helps further Kingdom work.  It offers hindsight to younger, less experienced leaders.

In a recent interview, Jon Acuff said, “I like the 39 year old me better than the 29 year old me, and I hope the 49 year old me feels the same.”

I think that can apply to leaders too.  Think about it.  Ten years from now don’t you hope to be a stronger leader than you are today?

Leave a comment below.  I would love to hear from you.







4 Food Groups of Leadership

leadership pyramidFive Guys, Dunkin’ Donuts, Subway, Golden Corral….and the list goes on.

I love food!  So when I had a thought about how to relate leadership to food, I simply had to go there.  Now, similar to our need for a balanced diet regarding our personal health, our effectiveness in leadership also requires balance.  Too much of one or two and omitting the rest can lead to malnutrition.

Fruits, grains, veggies, and dairy.  We all learned about these in 1st grade, right?  So here’s my 4 basic food groups of leadership.  Let me know what you think.  (happy eating)

Knowledge – Always be reading something on leadership that offers practical advice in your area of leadership.  Subscribe and listen to podcasts or buy some audio books.  I tend to load up my iPhone with new podcasts to listen to when I’m traveling.  Once in a while, read from authors on leadership who don’t share the same approach to leading others as you do.  This will challenge and strengthen you.

Experience – Everything you have done is a valuable experience to learn from…both successes and failures.  One of the greatest tragedies young ministers/leaders make is avoiding conflict.  Conflict (good and bad) is a buffet for gaining experience.  Embrace it and then learn something from it every time!  The more experiences you have and learn from, the better potential you have of becoming an insightful leader.  Lastly, learn from others…and mostly from their mistakes.  These will hopefully be mistakes you won’t have to make on your own.

Application – When we take knowledge and experience and pack them away in the attic, we essentially have an empty house.  We must try things, even if some are a little frightening.  Start something new.  Try a different way of doing something.  Ask someone younger than you what they would do and then try it.

Spiritual Awareness – This food group gives some ‘crunch’ to the other three.  Without this one, Church leaders are no different than your average corporate America department manager.  But with it, we have the ability to tap into the most brilliant CEO  (God).  It is so important that we continually check our growth, decisions, vision, and actions with Him in prayer.  Doing this ensures a much better success rate than merely leading on our own.

Question:  What would you add or edit in this Leadership Pyramid?