June 17, 2014

Timing Isn't Everything

Image Credit
Timing isn't everything ... and yet it is. We fret over when to start, when to launch that new thing, try out out a new idea, ask that person to partner with you ... we wait for the perfect moment. But here's the truth: there is no such thing as a perfect moment. The best time to start is now. While the idea is fresh, while the energy is high–do it!

Why do we wait? Because we want it to be full proof, we want it to last. But nothing lasts forever and nothing is full proof. Over the last few years of working within larger Christian institutions, I've learned that in such a context the greatest enemy to good ministry ideas are often systems that plan for system safety and system sustainability (the irony being that too often this is exactly what they deter). In response, I've come to a few conclusions for the big question of when to start new ministry endeavors:

Experiment, experiment, experiment! We live in an era in which we need rapid prototyping rather that drawn out planning processes for something "perfect." You don't have all the answers. You'll only find the answers in making attempts at actually doing the thing–whatever that is. The benefit of calling it an "experiment" is that it allows you to fail, abandon what doesn't work and try again without losing all credibility. I like to say, failure isn't an option... it's mandatory. So, start experimenting.

I'm getting into the idea of 90-day experiments. Ninety days gives you enough time to set a goal, a deadline and either reach that goal ... or not! And it's okay if you don't, it was an experiment! Even if you've got just the smallest notion of a brilliant idea, ninety days is enough time to tinker with that initial notion in practice. After ninety days, you debrief, take what you've learned and try again. Overtime, you'll find what sticks–what works for you, your context. But fair warning: I can't over-emphasize the importance of debriefing. Make space to learn from what you've done. How do you know it failed? How do you know it succeeded? Document it. Discuss it. And then get to work trying again.

Here's another thing I've learned–and certainly the hard way: don't go at this alone. Find a partner, a collaborator, a helper. It's hard to reflect, debrief on whether or not something is a success on your own. Involving others at least ensures you have greater perspective. And you need others to help keep the energy up when yours is low.

So, when is the best time for starting something? Now!

No comments :

Post a Comment