Fail. Fail Fast. Fail Frequently. Fail Forward.
Exciting things are happening at the Gaylord UCC. We have become a “4-x, permission-giving, community-focused” church. What does this mean?
First, we are focused on connecting the resources of our church with the needs of our community. We have asked our members to trust in our leadership and to pray for guidance. We have hosted various church events to welcome and connect with the Hispanic community in Gaylord.
Second, we have given everyone permission to experiment with new ministries, mission outreach programs, and community events…explicitly stating that we have permission to spend up to $2,000 on a new idea, even if it is not successful. This means that we have the freedom to experiment. We have given members permission to fail, to fail frequently, to fail quickly…and to fail forward!
Third, we have encouraged everyone to identify new ministry opportunities. If at least 3 people want to lead the effort, we’ll give it a try. Finally, we are centering on our core strengths, while recognizing we have limited resources. Hence, the “4-x” statement. Our goal is to become a great church each and every year by having at least:
- 4 great worship services,
- 4 great musical concerts or events,
- 4 great community programs, and
- 4 great mission outreach projects.
With our congregation’s blessing and support, ideas are being tried, action steps are being taken and we are not afraid to try, try, try again. Our focus on building stronger community connections has resulted in many new initiatives. We have invited our community to join us at “Pepsi with the Pastor” in one of Gaylord’s eateries. We moved our congregation’s 2013 Wednesday night Lenten suppers and services out of the church building and into the local retirement and care center. (It was more work; but what a great feeling of joining in faith and fellowship with residents who have difficulty getting out to church!)
Boards and Committees have permission to carry out new ideas. 3-member teams are moving forward with plans to host special musical events, special worship services, and improve our social networking presence. We have also deferred other ideas until 2014 or later. (“Not all ideas have to be undertaken at the same time” J. Guttermann). We have discovered a wonderful mission/service project that is gathering excitement, involvement, and broad support, not only from within our congregation, but from other service organizations within the Gaylord community – the P.E.T (Personal Energy Transportation) project.
We have not yet increased the number of members in the Gaylord UCC congregation, but we are making a new name for ourselves in Gaylord, gaining visibility as a church that is connected with the community. Gaylord residents wonder how such a small church can do so much. The answer: we believe that we have a lot to give and we enjoy sharing our gifts with others.