Are You Willing to Experifail*?

By Beth Casebolt

ready to experifail? with arrows going in opposite directions

The holiday season, for adults at least, is often fraught with worries and stress. Do the decorations on the house look right? Did I buy the perfect present for my family and friends? Is the dinner I’m planning right for everyone? We stress over having the perfect holiday, instead of just enjoying the season and time with family and friends.

We live in a perfectionistic society. If you can’t do it perfectly, don’t do it at all. That attitude stifles creativity, thinking outside the box, trying something new. Why? Because we may fail and if we fail it may get plastered all over social media so everyone will know.

This attitude affects our congregations as well. Someone suggests a great new idea and it’s immediately put aside because we aren’t sure if we can pull it off. We say no instead of being willing to take a risk and try something new. Our congregations do not try new things out of a fear of failure.

Instead of having the thought that everything needs to be perfect, I invite you to be willing to “Experifail”. What’s that you may ask? It’s being willing to experiment and for things to not work out as we hoped they might. Be willing to take a chance. Be willing to risk failure, because if things work out it could be amazing. It could be a new tradition, a fantastic outreach or an opportunity for interfaith work.

How do you experifail? You take a chance. You accept that failure is a possible outcome and that’s ok, because we will learn from that. It doesn’t mean to say yes to everything (after all, not everything is practical). But try to be open to new ideas and projects. And that’s all experifail is about: being willing, and strong enough, to take some risks.

As your congregation looks at programming ideas for the second half of this church year or next church year, be willing to experifail. It can be something big or something small – you don’t need to change the entire church! Small things make a big difference. Be open to suggestions from your members and staff. Carefully consider what is put forward as to whether or not your congregation can do this. Be willing to think about why you want to say no. Is it fear of failure? Can you set that fear aside to try?

Your primary contact and your CER staff are here to Experifail with you in the coming year.

Wishing you a stress free and imperfect holiday!

*Experifail is a term coined by Rev. Phil Lund, Congregational Life Staff in the MidAmerica region during a TweetChat on the Faith Formation 2020 Report.

About the Author

Beth Casebolt

Beth Casebolt is the Operations Manager and Communications Consultant for the Central East Region. Prior to regionalization she served as the District Administrator for the Ohio-Meadville District, a position she started in November 2007. She is very interested in universal design, websites & more.

For more information contact .