Risk, Failure...and Recovery

Years ago we used to take our kids to a community pool that had a high diving board. I’m not much of a swimmer; if there was an Olympic trial for dog-paddling, I could be a contender. But I remember telling my wife one day I was going to do the high board. I remember climbing up the long ladder and thinking it can’t be that bad.


But after walking out on the diving board I thought, “Whoa. What was I thinking?” The pool looked like a postage stamp. And of course there’s no way you can go back down. What’s worse, you can’t just jump in; you have to dive to look good. I’m contemplating all this—scared to death because I don’t like heights—wondering how long people would laugh if I crawled back across the board and climbed down, when suddenly some ten-year-old kid standing at the top step of the ladder behind me says, “Are you going to go or not?” You know how you jump on the board to get a good bounce? Well, that didn’t happen. I just walked off the board. I don’t think it even moved. But it was a perfect swan dive, that is, if someone had shot the swan first. There’s nothing like a good belly-whopper from a high board. When I got out of the water, it looked like I had a full frontal first-degree burn! It took me a while to go back up on the high board. But eventually I did—and it was the beginning of a great summer of bad diving with my kids. But fun. Most of us have belly-whopped in our leadership life. We took a risk on the high board—in a new ministry idea...in a new position...in a new hire...or took what we thought was a chance on God—and then something didn’t work out right. It’s hard to get back up on the high board. But you have to. You weren’t made for one dive. Think if you had given up on walking the first—or third—time you fell down when you were a toddler. Don’t let your leadership be determined by your last failure. Don’t let anyone else write the last page of your book: that’s God’s business…and yours to discover. Get back on the diving board, my friend. The Kingdom needs you.



Dave Workman | Elemental Churches