In August 2010 we had our big kick off for the college ministry. Let me first say that our college leadership team did a tremendous job with this event and hit it out of the park. The event was titled Evoke-Minute to Win It. We had promoted and pushed it hard for a couple of months. Our goal was to have 200+ people show up with 20 contestants all competing for the grand prize of $500. I had the great idea of buying corndogs to feed everyone. We bought over 400 corndogs for this one event. The time came near and people started coming through the doors. The anticipation of how many were actually going to show up was killing me. I kept a mental tally of individuals who had walked through the door. At the end of the day 65, 65 people joined us for our big kick off. I was begging them to eat corndogs or to take them back to campus with them. No go- we had a gazillion corndogs left over.
The wind was ripped out of my sails and I was left there, in the boat of self-pity on a sea of corndogs. I felt like a failure and handled it the complete wrong way. Here are 3 of the stupidest things I did in the moment.
- I sulked and pouted
- I counted who was NOT there
- I let the moment define me
These are 3 Stupid ways to handle failure. Let me break it down this way.
I sulked and pouted showed that I was more caught up in the numbers that attended the event than I was the actual people at the event. Sure the Bible gives descriptive details about how many men were at the feeding of the 5,000 but it was not the number of people Jesus was worried about it was the state of the people. By looking at the number only and letting that influence my entire mood I looked past the individual I was trying to reach. Doing this could have hurt our ministry in the long run…if I continued down this path. Look to the individual minister to their needs. Once you have met their needs they will come back with a friend…or maybe even 2.
I counted who was NOT there this one kind of goes along with the first. By focusing on who was NOT there I was overlooking who was there. I overlooked the leadership team that had worked really diligently to pull this event off. I overlooked the new students we had walk through the doors and into our ministry. I overlooked people I had not seen all summer and didn’t capture conversational moments with them in which I could have spoken life. By looking at who was NOT there I ignored who WAS there. Don’t do this, its stupid!
I let the moment define me as a person who couldn’t get the job done. I focused on one event instead of the entire mission of our college ministry. By letting this moment define me I didn’t allow God to grow me. I felt as if I failed in this moment and that defined me as a failure. If all our ministry is about is giving away 400 corndogs then I would have been a failure, but ministry is so much more than that.
By the way I still have nightmares of corndogs and will probably never eat one again.