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Within the current cultural milieu of eclectic pluralism the Western Church currently finds itself in, innovation must be a central focus within all aspects of ministry in the Christian Church. With the focus that the local church must put on innovation, one aspect that will continually be an important factor is how the Church understands, interprets, and utilizes failure. The challenge for the local church is to rethink its notion of failure which will allow for creativity, new life, and ultimately, transformational innovation. By establishing a proper framework and definition of failure, the Church will be able to embrace good failure and the benefits it can offer. Calling the Church to embrace failure is also a call to embrace innovation and Design Thinking. Good failure is not fully beneficial without these two essential and creative tools. For every church struggling to muster the confidence to dive into creative exploration and experimentation or the minister who wrestles with sustaining a culture open to change and new ideas, applying the principles of innovation and Design Thinking aid immensely on one’s journey towards success. This path towards success will not be simple. At times, the path will be consumed with failure and disruption. Still, good failure must be embraced in order to foster adaptive learning, growth, and mastery. By adopting an innovative culture and leaning into good failure, the Church embraces culture that generates change, pursues excellence, ensures vitality, makes a difference in the world, and seeks to meet the needs of people. As the Church wrestles with failure as a means to produce and promote innovation, the local church responds to God’s call and partners with God in God’s creative and redemptive work throughout the world. Thus, as the Church seeks to continue its impactful work in the world, the Church must establish a sound methodology for innovation and untap the creative fountain of Design Thinking. Throughout the history of the Christian Church, there have been countless extraordinary saints who have innovated, revolutionized, and championed fresh expressions and aspects of the Church. However, while it is important to remember the Church’s noteworthy saints and their significant contributions, we should not forget that there were failures along the way, and these should not be ignored. For the majority of United Methodist ministers, John Wesley is one of the most esteemed and highlighted saints who dynamically revolutionized, innovated, and restructured the Church. Nevertheless, he too experienced failures throughout his life and ministry. Still, with each moment of failure, Wesley pressed on and pivoted to innovate in successful ways that changed the world forever, even birthing and shaping the people called Methodists. In today’s rapidly changing world, local churches need to follow the example of John Wesley – embrace good failure, practice innovation, and restore imagination to ensure their future. Regardless of how fast the world continues to spin, churches must recognize profound changes must be made to establish a sound framework for failure and innovation, foster an innovative culture, and evoke an operational model change that allows the Church to be better than it was yesterday. Ultimately, local churches must awaken its innovative spirit and join God in God’s ministry throughout the world.





Edwards, Kaury Charles (2021). FAILURE-SPARKED INNOVATION: THE KEY TO ENSURING THE FUTURE OF LOCAL CHURCHES. Dissertation, Duke University. Retrieved from


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