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Brian Frick is the Associate for Camp and Conferences Ministries with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). He has been involved in camp and conference ministry since high school. For the past ten years, Brian has served as program director of Johnsonburg Center in New Jersey, Westminster Woods in California, and Heartland Center in Missouri.

Camp and conference ministry compliments and partners with other ministry aspects of our church to foster faith development and reflection. As our communities and our church changes, our ministries need to grow and adapt with creative and emergent programming and leadership to meet new realities.

These blogs entries, though varied, are intended to spur thought and conversation around the opportunities and challenges before us.

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April 26, 2011

Baseball for our Ministry

Please excuse me if I have already talked about this - it is a topic that bears repeating.

 289647-baseball_large What gets you into the hall of fame in baseball for batting?  Would you believe it's batting over .300 (as part of your credentials of course)?  That's a number that we have come to accept as impressive.  However, that translates into getting onto base just 3 times out of 10 times you come up to bat.  Yes.  Batting over 30% is a good start on getting into the hall of fame.

If my child came home with a 30% on a test - it would be an F.  And I would be disappointed.  We would work to see how we could improve that for next time.

But flip that around for a second - that means that it's ok to not get on base - to fail to reach your goal 70% of the time!

Do we as camp and conference ministries give ourselves the space and permission to do that?

What's Brian talking about....What I'm talking about is our limited resources and our drive to "hit it out of the ball park" with every new idea we come up with.  And when it doesn't work, we analyze it, tweak it and try again.

All that is good, but if we keep putting all of our eggs in that basket - we might be investing soley on one of the 7 out of 10 attempts that will not make it.  Missing the 3 out of 10 that will make it as a useful and lasting ministry program.

Faithfully failing - that's the way I would encourage you to look at your development.  Look at the resources you have, the ideas you have, and find a way to do as many as you can.  Maybe with volunteers, summer staff and alumni started initiatives, etc.  Try to do 10 per year, instead of the 1 or 2 you might be trying now.  If you do that, you will have more flops than successes - probably somewhere close to 7 flops for 3 successes.  But the successes will live on!

Then you can keep feeding those that were successes and continue to innovate towards 10 new programs per year.

Are you giving your ministry the chance to "get on base?"  Have you experienced a time when you have the best idea in the world (of course you do!) and no matter how hard you try it - it just won't work?

How can you use your resources to launch many "start up" programs to be able to find those successes in the sea of "faithful failures?

How do you convince your staff and your board that faithfully failing is a path towards a growing future?

Tags: camp, conference, faithfully failing, innovation, retreat