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4 Ways to Flip a Flop

by Bob D’Ambrosio


I admit it. I’m a perfectionist. I don’t like to make mistakes. Over the years I’ve come to realize that perfection is not an indicator of program success.  There’s value in the process, even if it means messing up along the way.

In life, or even in your ministry, it is possible to celebrate failure—because you can learn from it.

In their book Why Nobody Wants to Go to Church Anymore, Thom and Joani Schultz share that mistakes can be “teachable moments.” “As long as we own up to our mistakes and don’t repeat them, our top flops can be a good thing.”

So how do you flip a flop?

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1. Name the failure. Identify what failed. Take ownership for what went wrong. It may be that just one element of the idea failed, not the whole thing.

2. Have the right attitude. Winston Churchill said, “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” Look for that silver lining that will come from the failure.

3. Review what happened. Be sure to analyze or assess the steps that led to the failure or obstacle. When the small group core team at my church was experiencing poor attendance at training sessions, we surveyed the leaders and discovered there were too many conflicts with schedules to hold onsite training sessions. We now do all our training online through Google groups and Good to Go.

4. Plan and prepare to think differently. Determine what you’ll do differently and make sure you communicate this to the whole team or the person who will take leadership on this moving forward.

Do you recall what happened in 1985 when they came out with the “new Coke”? Did they learn from that? Yes, and they went back to the original recipe. What’s even more interesting is that in the late 1800s a man named John Pemberton invented a mixture he claimed would cure many diseases, including morphine addiction, indigestion, fatigue, headaches, and impotence. It was called Coca-Cola syrup. It didn’t catch on as a health tonic, but it did become a popular beverage.

What flop in your ministry do you need to flip?

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4 Ways to Flip a Flop

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