This past Sunday, we announced that our first Missional Community was being put to rest.
In an era of branding and polishing image in 140 characters or less, there was a temptation to think about not owning up publicly to an MC sunsetting.
Everywhere I look, the impression of greatness and excellence and polish exudes from thriving churches.
And then I look at C3 and I see a ton of unbelievable things that God is accomplishing.
But I also see stretches where there is no life change. No momentum. No disciples making disciples who make disciples.
And I'm tempted to believe the hype of other churches...believe the polish...believe the branding.
And I'm tempted to sweep the mistakes and the failures and the difficulties under the rug and celebrate wins only.
That's the culture I see.
But I'm becoming increasingly comfortable with failing forward and debunking The Myth of Polish.
Not only that, but I'm becoming increasingly uncomfortable with cultures of Spin Management, that try to convey they've got it all together.
So here's a couple thoughts about Failing Forward:
1. Celebrate the Wins and the Risks taken.
-A year ago our MC launched and saw great success in drawing in people who weren't "in the game" as Christians.
-The day we announced the sunsetting of the MC, two guys from that MC were baptized!
2. Own What Needs to Be Owned
-Both our MC Leader and myself shared where we missed, what we've learned and what is next.
-My assumption was that this kind of ownership would cause distrust with the people in the movement. I think instead, it has galvanized us. Deeper resolve to go after this together.
-The confessing church may be the place where the jaded find refreshment. The problem with polish is you are far less inclined to confess and own failure.
3. Double Up On Leadership Investment
-Letting high capacity leaders have the freedom to try and fail is step one. Letting them know that they are still believed in to try again? That will change the level of leadership and loyalty in your organization.
-Discipleship can't stop when a leader fails. It must instead intensify.
4. Have a Plan.
-Other leaders need encouraged and rallied to keep going after it.
-The leaders who are part of the sunsetting need to know that they aren't being put out to pasture, but that God has a plan that includes them being restored, reenergized and resent.
-If the leader is showing a complete lack of calling/ability to lead with potency, then discipleship intensifies even further to ensure that they arrive at the same conclusion and find their niche in some other capacity.
Failure doesn't have to be masked, spun or hidden.
In fact it can be the place where the story of redemption takes root most deeply.