Saturday, December 01, 2007

Woo Hoo! It failed!

A few months ago I emailed the Fresh Expressions newspaper complaining that all the articles were about success stories, which was hugely discouraging for people who had failed, were in the process of failing, or who were afraid of doing anything in case they failed. (Stuart Murray of Urban Expression has a nice line: we need to move from 'don't do it in case it fails' to 'do it in case it succeeds')

So, it's failure time. One of my experiments during the autumn was to run a mini-series of 'issue' films in our church room, using the newly acquired data projector, and trying to link in the themes where appropriate: e.g. 'An Inconvenient Truth' tied in to harvest, and 'Wal-Mart: the high cost of low price' linked in to Christmas, with a fair trade stall. The latter was this evening. Apart from me and the 2 stallholders, 1 other person came. After helping me tidy away, they borrowed the DVD and went away to watch it in the comfort of their own home.

The good thing is that after such a resounding flop, I'm not tempted to run any more. Half a dozen people might have kept me wandering down this particular blind alley. So that will save a lot of energy and frustration. Either the concept is wrong, or the presentation is wrong (as a separate event, rather than as part of something we already do), or people are too busy, or it needs more of a group running it rather than just 1 person with a daft idea.

However, I do have quite a high regard for the 1 person with a daft idea - I think it was George Bernard Shaw who said "The reasonable person adapts themselves to their circumstances. The unreasonable person persists in trying to adapt the circumstances to fit themselves. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable person."

Never mind, other experiments have had more success, and England have their noses in front in the cricket. All is well. And failure is so much better a tutor than success.

1 comment:

  1. Dave

    A refreshingly (and characteristically) honest post.

    I've often said that one of the things Christian organisations / churches are worst at doing is stopping doing things - you can end up with a handfull of people coming along out of duty to an event that should never have got beyond first attempt.

    And (as you've said) someone needs to model the willingness to try things that you can't guarantee will work, as well as how to react (without wailing, tears and blaming others for their "lack of commitment) if no-one shows.

    Here's to the next thing!! :o)