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Innovative Outreach & ‘Failing Forward’ for Missions in the Metaverse

“Fear of failure drives just about everything,” says Josh Feit who serves as an innovation consultant for Encompass. 

As human beings, we tend to gravitate towards pleasure while shying away from pain. Doing something we’ve never tried before can feel scary because of the possibility of failure. Failing is painful, so we often choose to stay within our comfort zones and continue doing things the way we’ve always done them. 

But Josh points out a problem with doing things the same way we’ve always done them. He says, 

“The world is evolving too fast NOT to innovate. Conventional methods that worked 10 years ago now risk becoming irrelevant. We need to stay nimble. We don’t want to just respond to the changes around us—we want to constantly be thinking about how we can get ahead of the curve.”

After asking himself what his role was in God’s kingdom, Josh founded a creative services business that specialized in serving churches and faith-based organizations. He ran that business for 18 years then sold it so he could work as an independent innovation consultant.

Since partnering with Encompass, Josh has introduced our staff and global workers to a framework for innovation that encourages what he calls “failing forward.” Instead of viewing failure as something scary to be avoided, it should be welcomed as a valuable learning experience. The innovation process he teaches encourages prototyping an idea as quickly as possible (even if it isn’t 100% polished yet) and then ironing out the kinks along the way. He compared it to the way that Apple constantly rolls out updates to their phones and then improves their products based on the feedback they receive in the data. 

But this mindset isn’t just for tech companies—it can be implemented in the way our mobilization team works in the office as well as the way our global workers do outreach. 

For example, one global worker in Japan had a vision to take Japanese people rock climbing in famous places around the world with Christian climbing guides. By implementing Josh’s innovation method, this global worker was able to test his ministry idea on a much quicker timeline than his original three-year plan. He took a small group of Japanese climbers on a trip to Mexico and saw encouraging results!

Another global worker had a vision for building a resource-sharing community of believers who are passionate about church planting. He was having a hard time getting churches to formally sign up for an ambiguous community, but Josh’s innovation framework helped this global worker collect feedback from his target audience and modify his approach to be more successful.

Josh also has a vision for using technologies like virtual reality and augmented reality for innovative outreach. He wonders,

“If people will be gathering in these virtual spaces, then how can we be there reaching them for Jesus on the leading edge of this new technology? Maybe we could use virtual reality to hold Bible studies in the metaverse. Or imagine how we could use augmented reality to send people across the world on exposure trips.”

Encompass leaders testing virtual reality equipment in Fall 2022 to consider how this technology could be used for outreach in future endeavors.

Encompass’ vision is to bring God’s glory to least-reached corners of the world, and Josh reminds us that digital communities on the internet can be some of the darkest places. “If we get there early, we can have a profound impact,” Josh says. 

If innovation will allow us to better reach some of the darkest places in the world, then we can’t let the fear of failure stop us. Scripture teaches us to thank God for the trials in our lives because He uses them to develop our character. So what better reason could we ever have to “fail forward” than taking a risk to reach someone for God? 

Josh says, “If you’re not failing then you’re probably not going big enough and maybe playing it a little too safe. I’d much rather see someone failing because they dreamed big and took a leap for the people they want to reach.”

You can reach Josh via email.