willing to make the wrong decision

ymcpv west screen shot

yesterday i hosted the second meeting of one of my online YMCP groups. during our ’round the horn time of sharing highs and lows of the past month, as well as reporting on homework, one of the guys shared a bit of input he’d received from someone that, in the midst of a particular decision he was trying to make, he found shaping and instructive. it struck me as brilliant input, and i quickly jotted it down:

You don’t lack the ability to make the decision; what you lack is the willingness to make the wrong decision.

man, that’s it. that’s what, so often, keeps me frozen in the process of decision making. my fear over loss or scrutiny or embarrassment or the potential of spilled milk. and i see this over and over again with leaders of all sorts, including youth workers. great leaders are willing to make the wrong decision (and, of course, to own it when wrong decisions are made, rather than pointing at others or external factors). this isn’t a cry for impulsivity or a cavalier approach to decision making that ignores potential hurt or mess. instead, it’s an invitation to move out of that frozen space of indecision, with a willingness to risk.

are you willing to make the wrong decision?


8 thoughts on “willing to make the wrong decision”

  1. I recently made a decision that our youth group would not attend a large denominational gathering. It was a heart-wrenching decision and I spend about a month researching, asking questions of students and parents, talking it over with my pastors. The price tag on this event is astronomical (about $1,000 / kid) and not the most effective way to disciple kids. I simply think it’s a waste of resources.

    My fear was that making the “right decision” to attend a cheaper event would still be the “wrong decision” because of how families would react. I really was slaying a sacred cow, here. Luckily, I’ve had a very small minority voice objections to the decision, while most parents were thankful that I had considered their pocketbooks in the process.

    I took the risk and it paid off. Unfortunately some nasty emails came my way but the rest of the church and the pastors supported my decision and continue to support it.

  2. Thank you for sharing the story. I have lived that out numerous times and try to continue living it out BUT it is tough to do at times and you get “stuck” in a routine. Thanks for the reminder and challenge.

  3. Yes! I once had a boss tell me the same thing (in so many words). I’ve struggled with living it out most of my ministry life. Great words, and a great reminder. Thanks for posting that, Marko.

  4. I think this is one of the most important values to instill – that failure isn’t final; not just for ourselves, but as youthworkers, living this value out and into the lives of our young people is incredibly important. Throughout adolescence we place so much importance on our young people making the right decisions, it’s like we forget how crucial making mistakes and getting it wrong was in the learning processes that got them from toddlerhood to teenagehood. You know – sharp corners hurt, don’t touch what’s hot, etc etc.

    I don’t even need to give an example but let me just say…. Youth worship bands. Practice is the process of learning from your mistakes, and practice makes perfect.

  5. Thanks for the post marko! My lead pastor just asked me recently: when was the last time you failed in youth ministry. I realized in that moment that it has been a long time since I have made a mistake in ministry. His response was to take more risks! Love my church, and my calling!

Leave a Reply