Why Missional Leaders Must Experiment

My 7-year-old son hates trying new food. A couple of months ago, we told him he had to eat two—two!—green beans before he could leave the table. He got so upset over this that he started crying. (I actually got it on video, but won’t post it because I don’t want to jeopardize future employment or romance for him.)

Photo by mpeterke (Creative Commons)Photo by mpeterke (Creative Commons)Yesterday, we had chicken with gravy. No big deal; he’s eaten chicken before. But the gravy freaked him out and he refused to try it. Again, we said he needed to try it by eating two—two!—pieces of chicken. He didn’t cry this time, but he sat at that table for an hour trying to negotiate his way out of those two pieces of chicken.

Finally, he put a piece of chicken on his tongue—and he hesitated. “Huh," he said.  "It tastes different than I thought.” Then he put the whole thing in his mouth and sheepishly said, “Oh.  Um, it’s actually kind of good." Then he added, "I feel a little embarrassed now. I wasted a lot of time complaining.”

I didn’t laugh out loud—I wanted him to save face—but I was laughing hysterically on the inside.

Sometimes we just need to try something new. In life. And in ministry.

One key to missional leadership is the willingness to just try new stuff. To experiment.

Sometimes an experiment fails—like the green beans experiment. Sometimes it succeeds—like the chicken!

But whether it succeeds or fails, it’s by experimenting that we begin to discover the answers to the two key questions missional leaders need to always be asking.

What have you tried lately in your ministry or organization? 

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