Ideas: The One that Failed

19 Mar

My wife loves me.  She knows me all too well.  She knows that I geek out to tech news and all things gadget-y and therefore recently got me a subscription to Wired magazine.  I just wanted to throw a quick shout out to her because January’s issue got me thinking…

This is a series of posts exploring three major types of ideas that exist in a collaborative community… ideas that have to be shared in order for the community to actually be collaborative.  For the first post in this series check out: Ideas in a Collaborative Community.

In this series, we’ve briefly explored two types of ideas that need to be shared in a community of thinkers in order for that group to truly collaborate.  We looked at the importance of sharing Ideas that Worked and the process that led you and your team to successfully executing that idea.  After a month long break from the series, we looked at the importance of sharing ideas while they’re still just ideas (New Ideas).

Today, we’ll wrap things up with the sort of thing many of us refuse to talk about: The Epic Fail.
I’ll start with one of my own… to show you that I’m willing to put my money where my mouth is.

The Idea

A few weeks ago, our church hosted a conference – Growing Deeper: Knowing God’s Will, Hearing His Voice.

Because our church seeks to resource and equip parents in our community to pass their faith on to their children, we decided to gear part of this conference toward parents.  How did we do this?  We invested heavily in a fully programmed children’s portion to the morning and recruited some of our best team members to be a part of what was sure to be an amazing day.  Our rationale: Parents will come if their kids are excited to come spend an awesome day wait us.  We made the conference extremely affordable for families ($10 per adult… FREE children’s program… lunch included for everyone!).  Our rationale: Families will come if you make the event affordable and give them food. We spent hundreds of dollars and put hours (and hours, and hours, and hours…) of prayer and planning toward this event.  Our rationale: If we put all of our energy toward this event, and invested spiritually as well as monetarily, the event would succeed.

We knew we were in trouble when, less than a week out, we looked at the registration for the event and noticed a glaring figure: 0 (ZERO) children had been registered.  In a last ditch effort, we hit the phones and emails hard one more time in an attempt to stir up excitement.  We found that we had three HUGE things working in our favor: parents had the morning free (a rainy forecast canceled many of the sporting events that usually get in a family’s way of church events), families had the money to spend on sending their kids to our program (again… FREE!) and our breakout speakers were notable names in our community.  We weren’t going to back down – we had said we were offering a full children’s program and I was going to make sure that we delivered on what we promised.

So, the day came.  And… the day went.  No kids came to our event.  Zero.  I let my team down.  I felt like my heart had been ripped out and stomped on.  You can’t fail much more than that… right?

How to Share Ideas that Failed

When it’s all said and done and your heart is done breaking, you need to tell others about your idea.  Whether it ended in a success for you or not, God might still have a plan for that idea.  Here’s what I mean…

It wasn’t supposed to work?!
I have a friend who talks with God.  No… he’s not crazy.  I promise.  I’ve met a few people in my life who have moments where they really can sense what God wants them to do (or what God wants them to see, or say, or know, etc.).  This friend of mine is one of those people.  One day, my friend was in a meeting and he felt God prompt him to share an idea of his.  He was embarrassed to share but, after feeling both nagged and convicted by God’s Spirit, he spoke up and told the group what he was thinking.
The group verbally assaulted him.  His idea was shot down and my friend left that meeting feeling utterly defeated.  After gathering himself, he began praying and asked God why he was set up to fail.  God simply helped my friend know that he was just supposed to share his idea… he didn’t have to worry about the results.
Sometimes your idea doesn’t accomplish what you think it will accomplish… God might want you to test run an idea that someone will reproduce in a better and more effective way down the road.  Your idea can only fail if you put a period at the end of it… I’d encourage you to consider replacing those periods with commas.  Share the idea and let God take care of the results.

Learn to embrace failure
I have another friend who sits down with me at least once a month to talk ministry and collaborate.  We have a standing agenda where we check in personally (you know… how’re the wife and kids?), we talk about new ideas we have, and we debrief recent ideas we’ve tried to move from paper to reality.  The first few times we met, I tried to hide the ideas I was trying that weren’t working or didn’t have success.  It wasn’t until my friend shared with me a recent failure he’d faced when I realized I’d been robbing our partnership by not being fully honest – I had to check my ego at the door and begin actually partnering and collaborating in a way that was no longer just about the castle I was building.  We’re at a place now where I feel like I can bring anything to the table, success or failure, and know that my ministry will be richer and more full because of it.  In embracing our failures, we’re learning together and we’re building a stronger kingdom because of it.

Over this series of posts, we’ve explored three major types of ideas that exist in a collaborative community… ideas that have to be shared in order for the community to actually be collaborative.  Thoughts or comments?  Feel free to share them via twitter (@anthony_prince) or facebook ( or add your ideas to the comments area below!


Posted by on March 19, 2010 in Kidmin, Los Angeles


Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

4 responses to “Ideas: The One that Failed

  1. jonathan

    March 19, 2010 at 8:17 am

    Dude, that is one epic fail. Of course you already know that.

    I’ve had many of the same type of events, but with only 1 kid showing up…awkward!


    • Anthony Prince

      March 19, 2010 at 8:48 am

      1 is totally more awkward than 0!
      The idea wasn’t a bad one… just didn’t work out for us this time.



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