Being innovative within church culture can be either highly rewarding or highly frustrating. Unfortunately, it is more often the latter rather than the former. In order for a church to be innovative, the culture has to be infused with a high degree of trust, and freedom to try things and fail. When a church is built on perfection, the idea that everything must be done with excellence, or a bottle-neck of decision-making, innovation is unable to thrive and people’s creativity is stifled. Creativity and innovation is a highly uncertain process and trust is its counterbalance (Szabo et al., 2013). For low-trust organizations, the energy of the people begins to focus more on defensive self-preservation, whereas high-trust organizations provide the cultural atmosphere that allows people to be creative, try new things, innovate in exciting ways, and take risks in their performance (Ceserani, 2014).
For a good portion of my ministry I have had the privilege to train young people for full- time ministry at the University level as well as in the early years of their first ministry positions. Though I have enjoyed success in training and mentoring young ministers, the area of fostering creativity has been an area I have faltered. Since I am a problem solver, I tend to see the challenges within a new idea before the idea is barely developed. For the young people who looked to me to champion their innovative ideas, I failed and created a culture of low-trust where ideas were not allowed to thrive and grow (Ceserani, 2014). I focused too much on efficiency and effectiveness, stifling creativity and a sense to take risks in challenges (Pitta et al., 2008). This was discouraging for many of those who I trained and developed, particularly those who were gifted in creativity.
Bachmann, R., & Zaheer, A. (Eds.). (2013). Handbook of advances in trust research. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.
Ceserani, J. (2014). Innovation and trust – the path to mastery. Industrial and Commercial Training, 46(6), 302–306. http://doi.org/10.1108/ICT-04-2014-0024
Szabo, S., Ferencz, V., & Pucihar, A. (2013). Trust, Innovation and Prosperity. Quality Innovation Prosperity, 17(2), 1–8. http://doi.org/10.12776/qip.v17i2.224