4 Ways to Flip a Flop

4 Ways to Flip a Flop
December 8, 2016 Bob D'Ambrosio

I’ll 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 ministry success. There’s value in the process, even if it means messing up along the way.

At Group, we celebrate failure—because we know we 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?

  1. Name the failure. Identify what failed. Take ownership for what went wrong. It may be that just one element or system of the idea failed, not the whole thing.
  2. Have the right attitude. Winston Churchill said, “Success is 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 most of 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 launched “new Coke”? They flipped that major flop and 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?

Bob D’Ambrosio is a 25-year veteran of frontline church ministry and now serves with Group’s content solutions team. He’s a trainer for volunteer equipping, a Refresh the Church blogger, and a ministry coach for Group U. Bob is a contributing author and general editor of the E4:12 Bible Study Series Better Together: Connecting to God and Others and Leading Out: Connecting People to Purpose.


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