A little while ago, I had a dinner prepared by one of my favorite people (who will remain anonymous). This person has made countless meals for me, and it’s always a treat to eat at her house. This night was no exception, and her biscuits were especially enjoyable. That is, until I ate my third one, and bit down on something hard. At first I thought it was a bit of hardened flour or something like that, until I pulled it out of my mouth and realized that it was a piece of glass. There were in fact two pieces of glass in my biscuit; the result of a broken mug that they had thought had broken far enough away to not get into the biscuit batter. Needless to say, I didn’t eat anymore biscuits that night.
Now, the interesting thing to me is the fact that next time I’m at this person’s home I will eat her cooking with gusto. The years of great cooking far outweigh one little piece of glass. This got me thinking about innovation in children’s ministry. What struck me is that history overcomes screw-ups. Serving glass-embedded biscuits isn’t ideal, but the history of great comfort food wins out. Just like that, I often find myself worrying that my momentum will be easily undone by a screw-up, but the truth is that the best thing I can do to maintain momentum is keep building a history with as many families and volunteers as I can. The truth is that relationships and trust can survive more than we think they can, and innocent screw-ups or earnest efforts don’t carry as much risk as we often think they do.
What struck me is this. Just like I’m eager to overlook a bad biscuit, kids and families are eager to overlook failed earnest attempt at something good. I’m trying not to let fear of failure get in the way of innovation, because I’m learning how much people are willing to laugh at me and move on.