Fear of failure: Apple and the Church

I came across this quotation on a blog I recently discovered (More than 95 theses) :

“In my time working [at Apple], I must personally have seen years-worth, probably decades-worth (and, from afar perhaps even centuries-worth) of work simply discarded because it turned out not to be ‘right’ or ‘good’. This was done with very little animosity towards the people who did the work. There was a distinct difference between working on something that turned out bad and had to be discarded (fine – admirable, even) and doing bad work (bad)…I think this highlights two things that many other organisations would do well to learn. First, what you have is what it is, it’s not the effort that was put into it. If it’s not worth keeping, it’s not worth keeping. Second, if you want the best results, you need to give good people the room to start over without feeling like they are failing.”- Jamie Montgomerie: Apple, Failure, and Perfect Cookies (via buzz)

I spent some time re-reading Grace Church’s history yesterday morning as part of my thinking about Grace’s future. I was reminded of the ebb and flow of parish life, growth and decline, conflict–all of those things that make up the history of any human institution. But I was reminded of something else. Rectors in the late nineteenth century celebrated services in Middleton, Mazomanie, Vienna (township, I suppose) and in other outlying communities. In some of these places missions were organized; in others, no formal structures were created. The only one of the places mentioned that now has an Episcopal Church is Middleton, St. Dunstan’s, which was founded during the post-war boom. Was the mission in these areas successful? Baptisms, weddings, eucharists were celebrated; priests were raised up here and there. Were the efforts failures?
Good work was done; that it didn’t result in lovely church buildings and thriving parishes is quite beside the point. What sorts of ministries and mission is God calling us to create in the coming years? What risks should we take? What experiments should we make?

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