As a leader in the church your job title shouldn’t really be pastor. It should be firefighter. Most of your day is spent putting out fires. As soon as you think you have one under control. Boom there’s another one. In the rush from one thing to the next it can be easy to lose sight of any overarching strategy for putting out these fires. In these moments you need a simple shorthand for how to deal with any problem that comes up. For us it’s this one.
Try. Try Again. Try Something Different.
That may seem like something from a children’s book. It probably is. But when implemented properly it can be radically effective.
Let’s break it down.
Its intuitive but you’d be shocked at how often a project, ministry, idea, or strategy fails because the people in charge of executing aren’t actually trying all that hard.
If your team is scrambling the night before to make something happen.
If the leader of the ministry is using adult language with their volunteer team (yes the church is messy!) then there is a decent chance they haven’t prepared well.
They didn’t actually try.
Trying means having full buy in to the vision. Full buy in results in preparation and hard work.
Before you decide something was a success or failure probe deep and ask yourself “Did we actually TRY that hard?”
There aren’t many truly lazy people in your ministry but there are a lot of people who could be uninspired. Uninspired people say more about you as a leader than they do about the people themselves. Fire them up for the vision. Make sure next time they TRY!
This is the part that maybe counterintuitive for many leaders.
Suppose that last Sunday you decided to try restructuring your Sunday morning volunteer in times for setup. You pushed their in-time back by twenty minutes because many were having a hard time getting there so early. Sunday morning comes and it’s a disaster. Two volunteers no-show leaving you even more crunched because now the volunteers that did show up have even less time to get setup done before service. They’re still setting up as people are walking in the door and now everyone is stressed. What started as a way to help your volunteers now is biting you.
What do you do next sunday? Many leaders (emotional from the weekend) will automatically deem this experiment a failure and go right back to what they were doing before. “We tried and failed” they think.
This is where you have to try again.
Could it be stressful if it fails again? Yep. But it also could go much better this coming week. If you immediately scrap an idea because it doesn’t work one time you aren’t giving yourself an opportunity to see what actually is the merit of the idea. In a one off time frame any number of variables can go wrong.
You need to have multiple opportunities to see what an idea actually looks like in practice. So Try and then TRY AGAIN.
TRY SOMETHING DIFFERENT
Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth. -Mike Tyson
So you had your grand ideas about how this initiative/project/change would go. You tried. Your team tried. It failed. So you tried again. Great! But what if it still fails?
Then it’s time to try something different.
Don’t get attached to your ideas. Get attached to God’s vision.
Then use whatever ideas work to reach His vision for your church. In the Marines they say “Improvise, Adapt, Overcome.” Apply the same method to every project or idea your team has that fails. Try. Try Again. Then, improvise, adapt, and overcome. Aka try something different until you get the desired outcome. Rinse and repeat.
There are no single failures that are going to sink your organization. But being stagnant will.
So many leaders are afraid of looking like a failure in the short term. A fear of failure in the leader nearly always manifests itself in stunted growth for the organization.
Don’t let a fear of failure stop you from trying something different to achieve the vision God has called you to!