Ed White, Senior Pastor
Dell King, Associate Pastor
The Congregation, Ministers

Glimpses of Easter Grace and Truth...Last Sunday, I didn’t have time to share an important point about the future (for graduates and all of us). Remember Erik Lindberg, the grandson of Charles who flew the first Trans - Atlantic flight 90 years ago? Recently, Erik spoke about the aborted Apollo 13 mission from 1970 (made into a five - star movie in 1995). Lindberg said that at one point during that mission, when saving the astronauts’ lives seemed impossible, Flight Director Gene Kranz announced a phrase that’s been hailed as a leadership motto for decades: “Failure is not an option.”

Erik Lindberg, however, challenged that statement, explaining that must not be the primary message young people hear from NASA. He said that in science, in society and simply in real life, failure must be an option, because failure is a part of real life.

At the young age of 21, Erik was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. Before long, he had taken what was the last step his body would ever take on its own. Erik said, “Getting rheumatoid arthritis was an {unavoidable} failure of my body...” Once he’d given us a moment to get the gravity of that statement, he concluded, “...but it created an evolution of my spirit.” He began describing the determination to do more, to aim higher, to strive to get better, to turn setbacks into comebacks, and how his wife was enough incentive for him to fight harder. Over the next few years, Erik’s determination plus medical advances allowed him to walk as he did two weeks ago at Embry Riddle. He now walks across domestic and international stages to say that failure must be an option.

As I sat there, I thought about other leaders who also allowed failure to be an option. Truett Cathey, founder of Chick - fil - A, failed time and again; he was willing to accept failure on the path to success (alongside his faith - based values). Howver, Cathey lead his organization to become a multi - billion dollar success. He even put his principles on paper and personally entitled his book, It’s Easier to Succeed than to Fail.

Many other leaders have embraced the truth that you cannot allow the fear of failure to hold you back from trying. When someone asked Thomas Edison what it’s like to try so many things that fail, Edison said, "I haven't failed; I've found a thousand ways that won't work."

I wonder what it would look like if we as the Church tried some new things? I’ve heard some who recently wished we could “go back to the past” when church was normal — when people came on Sunday morning, Sunday night & Wednesday night. What if we were willing to try some new things, instead of pulling back toward “old things” that worked in the past? It is a very different world today. We must all remember how our Visioning process began by asking, “Why don’t our kids, grandkids and greats come to church, or this church, anymore?” Then we must admit that, just because the past worked in the past, does not mean it will work in the present or build the future. Let’s give our leaders a chance to try some new things. Let’s also remind them that when those new things don’t work, we will still support them because we know: “Failure is an option, and is essential on the path toward success.”

May our loving Savior who guided the failures of prior generations into success likewise guide our today's into God's very best tomorrow's.

Sincerely glad to serve Christ alongside you: Ed, Dell and the First UMC Family