Innovation is the buzz word going around our church right now. A few weeks ago, at our annual conference, the bishop challenged all the United Methodist churches in our state to be innovative with how we reach out to others. Unfortunately, one of the issues with a lot of churches (not just United Methodist) is that they aren’t innovative. They tend to be so content to keep doing what has always worked that they haven’t noticed that it stopped working years ago.
The world is an ever-changing place. Thus we must always adapt what we do to reach the lost. Paul tells us in 1 Cor. 9:22 that he had “become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.” That isn’t to say that we are to change the Gospel or water down what we believe. We just need to adapt our methods of how we tell people about Christ and show them his love.
One thing that comes with being innovative is the willingness to fail. None of us like to fail or go through the emotions of our dreams and visions not working out. Unfortunately, if we want to change the world, we have to be willing to fail for Christ, but we can’t let those failure deter us from living out the calling to “go and make disciples.” (Matt. 28:19)
This is where some wisdom from Thomas Edison comes in. He wasn’t having very much success when he was working on inventing the lightbulb, and people started questioning if he was going to ever succeed. To this, he replied, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that it won’t work.” He continued on to say, “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”
Wouldn’t it be heartbreaking to know that you were on the precipice of a revival when you decided to give up? We never know what’s going to work until something finally works. Sometimes it takes failure after failure before we see any signs of success. That’s what the Apostles dealt with time and time again as they were starting the early church. Thanks be to God that they persevered in the face of failure because if not, there would be no church today.
The kicker to all of this is that if you are out in the world, sharing God’s love and telling people about Jesus, then you can never truly fail. We were called to go and share the Gospel. We may try 10,000 different ways that don’t seem to work, but as long as you’re going, then you are living out the duty that’s been placed upon you. We don’t judge our impact by any worldly measurements, we merely trust that God’s going to use what we’re doing for his glory.
Go out into the world and fail 10,000 times for Christ! That’s precisely how the Gospel has been spread for 2,000 years. Never be afraid to try something new. Afterall, It has never been about the method but about the message. If you love people like God loves them and tell them about the Savior who died for them, then you cannot fail.