Innovation and change is everywhere.
The work I do with Leadership Network puts me in contact with some of the sharpest and innovative minds in today’s church. It’s exhilarating.
The one thing I’ve noticed about church innovators is their embrace of risk.
Most churches that are growing or innovative risk often.
Most churches that are stuck, plateaued, or in decline have a deep aversion to risk.
Innovation is all about trying new things. Things you know at the offset may not work.
But they might.
If they don’t, you simply stop doing whatever you’re doing and try something else.
Great leaders don’t see this as failure, they see it as learning.
It’s just as important to learn what doesn’t work sometimes as it is to learn what does.
Great leaders are constantly thinking about creative ways to do ministry. Ways that work. Ways that may never have been done before.
Phil Cooke has some great advice on creativity in ministry:
“…When it comes to creativity, get outside your normal experience. Dig deep. Make new connections. It’s tough to get a new slant on something when you’re looking at it head on. Don’t try to make the next big thing what everyone else expects.”
Everyone is wondering what the next big thing in ministry is.
We’ve seen some pretty big shifts in my lifetime.
Contemporary worship. Multisite. Technology revolutions. An emphasis on generosity and externally focused ministry.
All of these movements came out of people trying new things.
And many came out of shortage. Shortage of space, resources, time, or money.
Some ideas aren’t just a continuation of a current idea, but are really brand new ideas altogether.
Phil’s advice is good. When you’re thinking creatively, don’t try to base everything on what you’re currently doing now. Don’t iterate. Be creative and try something totally new.
Phil gives a great example. When Henry Ford was young, people were talking about ‘if we just had faster horses’. The answer (as we now know it) really had nothing to do with horses at all.
As you look at what you really need in your ministry this year, what can you create that’s different than you’ve ever done (maybe than anyone has EVER done in the church).
What kind of crazy idea can you hatch?
And will you have the courage to risk failure to try it?
If not, you’re idea is dead.
If so, it might could be the next big thing that God uses in many churches, literally everywhere.
Take a few minutes to dream and innovate today. And pray for breakthrough and creativity and wisdom. (Wisdom is the one thing in the Bible that God says he absolutely will give when we ask for it… so ASK. FOR. IT.