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August 14, 2013


How to Fail Well as a Leader

by Matt Ulrich
Failure as a LeaderHey microchurch leader, here’s a newsflash; you’re going to fail… probably pretty bad at some point.  And the worst part is it is going to be an idea you really thought was going to be amazing.  So what do you do in those situations?  Embracing the inevitable failure is a good first step, but how you perceive failure and what you do with it is far more important.  Here are three quick things that if you know, you can kick failure in the face and come out on top (even though you already blew it):

1. You come from a long line of failures.  I would have a hard time following and looking up to Biblical heroes if everyone in the Bible had it altogether.  Clearly, they did not.  (Check out Abraham, Moses, Peter, to name a few of the countless many)  I certainly don’t have all my junk together, but I do draw strength from the fact that in Jesus’ upside-down Kingdom He actually revels in our weakness and inability to succeed on our own.  The Message translation of Matthew 5:3 says, “You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God.”  Ever felt like you didn’t have what it takes to lead a microchurch well?   Good.  Those are usually the times that if you go to prayer instead of complaining, God always shows up and gives you what you need!

2. Failure is the road to success.  I know, that sounds like something you hang up in your office with some cheesy picture of a kitten in a sock, but changing your paradigm from “This was a failure” to “What can I learn from this first attempt that will help me own this next time” is huge.  Instead of spiraling down the woe-is-me trail, pick your head up and know that your identity is not performance based in the Kingdom; it’s Jesus based.  So learn what you need to learn and move on.  Some of my absolute greatest epiphanies and revelations as a microchurch leader came because I epically failed… but learned from those mistakes.

3. Your failure is creating culture.  For better or for worse, you are creating culture when you fail.  You can either disciple your members into your two-year-old temper tantrum ways or emo-esque depressions, or you can show them a way to fail that paves the way to success.

I had one microchurch leader tell me for the first three months of his microchurch, he invited people to do stuff every week outside of microchurch, and rarely did anyone ever come. Most of the time those first few months it was just him and his wife.  Most leaders would give up but instead when his microchurch would get together the next Tuesday (the night they officially met for MC) he would say, “Man you guys missed it!  We had a great time!”  Even when he “failed” because no one showed up he was still leveraging that failure and establishing the precedence for what he wanted to see as a microchurch community.  I should tell you his microchurch is now one of the strongest microchurch communities we have!!

So what’s it going to be?  Is failure going to get the best of you or are you going to best failure?  The choice is yours.

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. TT
    Aug 14 2013

    excellent. advice for all types of leading.

    • TT
      Aug 14 2013

      ^^^ …not only microchurch leading, I meant.


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