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Failure IS an option

22 Apr

In her TCK Perspective article the other day Charissa Thong mentions the importance of TCKs having a safe place to fail – and I couldn’t agree more. So I want to point out an article called “Failure is an option”  by Paul Turner that I love! I love the whole concept. I wish that all TCKs would take this to heart.

Paul looks at failure from the perspective of a youth pastor, but I think this applies not only to youth workers but to the TCKs we work with.

I was told numerous times in staff meetings over the years that failure is not an option. But it is and it should be. Usually this slogan is centered around:

  • a big church event
  • keeping your job
  • growing the church or youth ministry (see #2)

This is small thinking at it’s worst. Failure in these cases is certainly an option and should be an option. I was recently on a missions trip and the boys we were with were making some building mistakes. Our crew chief, Billy (an amazing man) would say, if you are not failing you are not doing anything.

To do something worth doing, you have to fail a few times. We learn from failure. And yet, the word “failure” arouses such dread in us! I find myself wanting to remove the word “failure” from my previous sentence – to say that we learn from mistakes, or something else softer than that horrible word – “failure”. But it’s true. Our failures shape us. Our view of failure goes a long way to determining how we will be shaped by failure.

How many times have I missed out on an opportunity because I was too afraid to try? How many friends have I missed out on knowing because I was afraid they would reject me – and didn’t even get to know them? I really don’t know. But I’m sure my life would have looked different if I had been more daring.

Our fear point for failure revolves around us. . .We need to broaden our view of failure. Would Peter’s daring walk on water be nearly as interesting if he had not sunk? No, because the lesson here is not: Don’t Sink, the message is: Keep your eyes on Jesus. We are so worried about sinking we never even think of getting out of the boat. Let us  keep our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.

I love that the Bible is full of stories about people screwing up – and being used by God. I love that our God is a redeemer – he takes “failure” and uses it as the building blocks of glory.

Let’s challenge our youth and ourselves to fail greatly for the cause of Christ. This should be our list and mandate for failing. These are dreams, goals, and mandates that our worthy of our efforts and even our failures in our effort to achieve them.

  • Building the Kingdom of God
  • Raising up a new generation of leaders
  • Making our youth ministry student-led instead of spectator induced
  • Keeping our personal lives above reproach (this does not mean making mistakes)
  • Glorifying God with our lives

Now go and fail greatly; believing that in the end, there is no failure  or condemnation in Christ Jesus.

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2 responses to “Failure IS an option

  1. Christna Valenti

    April 23, 2011 at 5:16 am

    ” A full life is made up of mistakes and missteps as well as the proper decisions in the proper direction. In this sense it’s like finding the right frequency on the radio – sometimes we’re off, sometimes we’re not, but our “station” is constant. Did I go too far or not far enough? Did I turn too much this way or too far that way? The more aware one is of one’s path- and of the external forces that push or impede on such a path- the more on can make the correct changes in attitude, skill, and style to stay forcefully on that path.” – Luis Rodriguez “Hearts and Hands”( pg 80)

    I love the first line . . . what freedom this offers.

     
  2. Tanya

    April 23, 2011 at 10:08 am

    Great quote!! I like the idea that mistakes/missteps are part of the process of “tuning in” to the direction we want.

     

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