Thursday, August 14, 2008

"Failure is not an option. Failure is essential!"

Rev. David LeRoy's most recent update from his ministry as Atlantic District Superintendent included this though-provoking quote:

“In times of change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped, to deal with a world that no longer exists.” – Eric Hoffer

Perhaps you've read about the "Technology Life Cycle" or TLC which Wikipedia describes as being comprised of four phases:
(a) the research and development (R&D) phase (sometimes called the "bleeding edge") when incomes from inputs are negative and where the prospects of failure are high
(b) the ascent phase when out-of-pocket costs have been recovered and the technology begins to gather strength by going beyond some Point A on the TLC (sometimes called the "leading edge")
(c) the maturity phase when gain is high and stable, the region , going into saturation, marked by M, and
(d) the decline (or decay phase), after a Point D, of reducing fortunes and utility of the technology.
(pictured in the diagram below)

What is the most dangerous point in the cycle? When you think you've arrived! When you think you've learned all there is to know! When you believe you have it all figured out, packaged neatly, wrapped up tight and money in the bank!

While you're trumpeting the phonograph as your "final achievement," someone else is thinking up the iPod. Personally, I appreciate Edison's light bulb a lot more than his phonograph!

Craig Groeschel said it again at last week's Leadership Summit, "Failure is not an option. Failure is essential." In his new book "It," Craig quotes Irish writer Samuel Beckett: "Go on failing. Go on. Only next time, try to fail better."

What are you doing right now in your church that fits the profile of the R&D stage where "the prospects of failure are high?" If you're not failing, it's likely that you're not learning much.