Ministry Musings: Failing Forward

Before we move to the next aspect of discernment, I want to lift up a significant role that community plays in the discernment process.  It is the context where we can fail; the net into which we can fall.

We have already said that we do not always “get it right” in discernment.  So, where do we go when that happens?  We go to the same community that nurtured us in the first place.  It is in community where we can “fail forward.”

That’s why the nature of community is crucial.  If it is a “never let them see you sweat” environment, mistakes cannot be shared, corrected or forgiven.  Without that, community deteriorates into a “culture of fear” where the illusion of personal and corporate success is demanded and perpetuated.

Discernment can only truly live in a community where we can say, “I got it wrong,” and find those around us saying, “That’s okay. Try again!”

About Steve Harper

Dr. Steve Harper is retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 45 books. He is also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
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1 Response to Ministry Musings: Failing Forward

  1. Well said. An important aspect of community living and discernment for us to live into! Thank you!

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