How Failure Can Be a Vital Strategic Resource for Your Church

Failure’s just another word for something else to learn.

Failure is the gift that keeps on giving – if you’re realistic, humble, and honest enough to address it. You can convert failure from an unfortunate regret into a vital strategic resource.

The two quotes above give you an accurate picture of what authors John Danner and Mark Coopersmith have to say about failure. Their recent book “The Other F Word” speaks to their belief that failure can have a big payoff in any organization.

Everybody talks about failure, but nobody tells you what to do about it—as a leader, executive or team member. Danner and Coopersmith have taken a different approach. Not the “hoorah” of inspiring personal memoirs of famous people retelling how they persevered through difficulty to eventually achieve fabulous success. Not the “rah rah” of Silicon Valley cheerleading that urges us to “fail often, fail fast” as the path to  entrepreneurial riches. And definitely not the “blah blah” of self-help, whose personal revelations may be hard to translate and apply in complex organizational settings.

You can download a manifesto of their ideas here, including:

  • Five Core Insights of Failure
  • The Failure Value Cycle – 7 Stages Where Failure Can Deliver Value
  • Five Powers You Can Unlock with a More Failure-Positive Approach

Is putting failure to work easy? No. Is it possible? Absolutely—if you’re willing to respect its inherent potential to show you what you need to know, recognize its signs early enough to minimize its negative impacts, reflect candidly more on why it happened than who was involved, and—above all—remember the resilience your organization displayed in putting failure to work.

Download helpful ideas in using failure as a strategic resource here.


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Bob Adams is Auxano's Vision Room Curator. His background includes over 23 years as an associate/executive pastor as well as 8 years as the Lead Consultant for a church design build company.

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comment_post_ID); ?> I like it Mac and do agree with your opinions on the matter. Thanks much
— winston
comment_post_ID); ?> In this era, we have the opportunity of professional church staff today who utilize their gifting to shape the image and atmosphere of the church organization. But the 100% real impact on the church visitors is genuine evidence of changed lives by the gospel and the active growing discipleship (just as it was in the first century church). One demonstration is financially rich believers ministering equally together with poor believers (how odd, and incredibly miraculous; all humble and bow at the foot of the cross.). It is the awesome contrast of church members vocations, race, gender, age, maturity, gifting, humility that demonstrates to visitors "there is a Spirit in the place". That first-time guest list of 10 are "physical excuses", not spiritual excuses. Those don't tell the story. The condition of facilities and publicly greeting people have zero to do with it. The power of God in and through believers lives dedicated to impact other people with their relationship bridge-building of acceptance of the lost around them. Empowered believers are infectious, loving, helpful, giving, self-less, dynamic, compelling, bold, Christ-filled. As I have been in many church settings domestically and internationally, the facilities can be poor, and yet the fellowship can still be rich. We need to operate with first church humility. People come to Christ on His terms, not on our human abilities of hospitality. A huge catastrophe in a community, disaster relief brings lots of people into churches – many come to the church in those terrible conditions no matter the physical condition of the local church. Off the condition of facility, and onto the condition of God's people (living stones).... and everything else will grow.... and the other physical issues will be corrected by the staff.
— Russ Wright
comment_post_ID); ?> "While I understand the intent behind this phrase" Expound please. What do you understand to be the intent behind that phrase?
— Ken

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