Innovative Churches: Obstacles & Dangers

January 31, 2007 by

Part 5 in a series on Innovative Churches. Be sure to contribute to the Most Innovative Churches list.

Here are more of the Q&As from the Outreach/Tony Morgan questionnaire:

What are the enemies of innovation in churches? What are the challenges churches will have to overcome to experience innovation?

Enemies of innovation include any attempt to minimize or marginalize the ability to create new ways of telling the story. My opinion is that people are the biggest hurdle to innovation. We wouldn’t have the automobile today if we would have listened to all the people that thought going more than five miles per hour was too fast.

What are the dangers of innovation in the church?

A big danger of innovation is sometimes we try and get Jesus to fit into our methods, as opposed to having our methods fit around Jesus. Hebrews 13:8 says that Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. Don’t mess with the story! Hebrews does not say that his methods are always the same, so feel free to tinker with how we communicate and innovate, not what we’re communicating.

Post By:

Brad Abare

Brad Abare is the founder of the Center for Church Communication. He consults with companies and organizations, helping them figure out why in the world they exist, why anyone should care and what to do about it.
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3 Responses to “Innovative Churches: Obstacles & Dangers”

  • Bill LaMorey
    January 31, 2007

    I think the first question has been dealt with at length by many people.
    I think the second question is one that should probably be asked more often; not to stop innovation, but to properly filter it.
    I think that one of the dangers of innovation is unpredictability of effectiveness. Just because something is innovative doesn’t mean it is going to be effective (and something can be effective without necessarily being innovative). So there is a risk factor…that SHOULD be taken and churches s/b innovative, but it’s not the be all, end all. When innovation becomes the highest value then the tail begins to wag the dog.
    If our church leaders decided to dress in drag this weekend, it would be terribly innovative, but I’m not sure how effective.

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  • Tim McGhee
    January 31, 2007

    What is innovation that it is so important?
    I just read an encouraging post by a worship pastor at a nearby church who is seeing the value of memorizing Scripture.
    Is memorizing Scripture innovative?
    Not particularly, but hiding God’s Word in your heart will change your life and your faith.
    Even trying to find innovative ways of memorizing or motivating people to memorize are mostly distractions, and take away time from actually memorizing.
    Want to inspire people? Have someone recite a book of the Bible for/during a sermon one week!
    And pick a long one, too. Have them spend a year preparing.
    10,832 days

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  • Jim McGee
    February 2, 2007

    Bill, I like where you’re going, but effectiveness can be an elusive concept as well, one that often seems at odds with the way that God appears to work. Pragmatism should be a consideration, but it cannot be the only value with which we evaluate ideas or the innovative process.
    Also, sometimes things that appear very ineffective in the short term are effective in the long term, and vice-versa.
    Beyond that, it seems like sometimes we have to start with ideas in order to find the practical applications that might not ever be discovered otherwise.
    In the end, we need to create space for innovators and because they reflect God’s creative nature. Of course, they also reflect humankind’s fallen nature, so we should be judicious with how we use innovations, but let’s find every way to encourage creativity.

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