Christianity and the future are synonymous (Leithart, 2014). However, this is not evident in the majority of churches. Most churches seem to be proclaiming their affinity for the past and traditional. History and tradition have their place in the church, just as a rearview mirror has its purpose in a car, but neither were meant to determine decisions regarding forward motion. Most historical philosophers and theologians have seen God as the sole force of creativity in the universe, distinguishing created things as divine and derived things as human (Berkun, 2010). Unfortunately, the modern church has lost touch with creativity and innovation out of fear of losing long-standing members, their pocketbooks, and the families that are attached to them. Ministry leaders are afraid to step out on a limb and possibly stand alone, but history shows that innovation requires questions and approaches that most people won’t initially understand (Berkun, 2010). True ministry leaders must find a way to lead people towards understanding and buy-in rather than playing it safe and allowing Christ’s bride to slip into decay and ineffective existence.
Ministry leaders must stop imitating what they see. Whether it is tweaking what is seen at a church across town, taking something from a conference, or pulling something from a secular source and putting a Christian façade on it, these are imitations of what is already in existence (Vaters, 2016). These are all great sources for new ideas, but imitation isn’t inspiring and if ministry leaders want to push through a congregation’s resistance to innovation they must inspire people with new ideas. Ministry leaders are created in the image of Yahweh, the true source of creative innovation, and it is within their ability to create specific solutions to the specific vision God has given them for their congregation.
Berkun, S. (2010). The myths of innovation (1. updated and expanded pbk. ed). Beijing: O’Reilly.
Leithart, P. J. (2014). The future of Protestantism: the churches must die to be raised anew argues Peter J. Leithart. First Things, 245, 23–27.
Vaters, K. (2016, April 19). Innovative Churches Do This – Imitators Miss It. Retrieved October 26, 2016, from http://www.christianitytoday.com/karl-vaters/2016/april/innovative-churches-do-this-imitators-miss-it.html