8 Nations of Innovation for Your Church

7. Illumination: How can we look at this in a new light?

When you’ve been working with something for a while, it’s hard to look at it with fresh eyes. I remember a number of years ago, our bathroom mirror cracked. Here was this big crack that went down the middle of the mirror, and it really bugged me at first. I told my wife, “We’ve got to change that.” Yet I didn’t. A couple of days later, I said, “That mirror really bugs me,” but again I didn’t change it. About six months later, it occurred to me I still hadn’t changed out the mirror because it no longer bugged me like it did at first.

We have an amazing adaptability. We just get used to stuff, and all of a sudden, we don’t see the problems anymore. We no longer see the critical issues like we should. So it takes some new eyes to come in and see what you need to do in a new and innovative way. Ask your congregation what they see. Ask them, “How could we do this in a different way?” Find out what innovations they suggest. And take a look at other churches and see how they do things differently from you.

8. Fascination: How could we make it more interesting?

Whatever you’re doing, try to figure out how you can make it more interesting or attractive. For instance, we wanted to create a sense of expectancy in our weekend services. We wanted our services to start with people sensing God in our midst and that lives were about to be changed. So we thought, “What would encourage this spirit of expectancy?”

We came up with several factors: having members praying for the services all week; having members praying during the services; having enthusiastic members bringing their unchurched friends to the service; having a history of life-changing services; music that celebrates the transformational nature of God; and a worship team that faithfully believes lives will be transformed during the service.

If you ask the right questions, they will lead you to the right answers. And the right answers will help you build a solid strategy for your ministry. Then believe that God will lead you to success.

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Rick Warren

Rick Warren

Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America's largest and most influential churches. Rick is author of the New York Times bestseller The Purpose Driven Life. His book, The Purpose Driven Church, was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also founder of Pastors.com, a global Internet community for pastors.

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comment_post_ID); ?> I am a senior citizen who has lived in many areas of the US, the farthest south being Virginia DC area. There are several church plants in the area--some failed, some doing well. One of the sadist failures was a plant in NW Washington near a large Presbyterian Church (I had been an elder in the church, so I knew the area) where changes in church doctrine was driving many away from the PCUSA churches. There were many mature Christians who lived in the area who were very willing to participate and give generously to the church. Its failure was a loss. The pastor and his wife lived in a VA suburb, wanted something that would appeal to their tastes, which included "praise music". There was a professional piano teacher and several people who had sung in choirs in the area. Their suggestions were completely ignored. Forget that there was joyous participation in singing hymns and silence by many for the praise music. The experienced church leaders that were attending were expected to seek the wisdom of the pastor who did not live in the area rather than have any role in leadership. There is another church plant in Northern Virginia that seems to be going the same way. My take: the pastors should get past their high-school and college days culture and get to know and appreciate the people of the community. Do not try to reproduce Intervarsity or Campus Crusade. Hymns are not a sin and "uneducated" (never graduated from college) should not be ignored as uninformed or stupid. People who have served in and/or live in the area are needed in leadership and not just to serve coffee and give. We all need to pray together and serve God in the community in which there is to be a plant. Glenna Hendricks
— Glenna Hendricks
comment_post_ID); ?> I like it Mac and do agree with your opinions on the matter. Thanks much
— winston
comment_post_ID); ?> In this era, we have the opportunity of professional church staff today who utilize their gifting to shape the image and atmosphere of the church organization. But the 100% real impact on the church visitors is genuine evidence of changed lives by the gospel and the active growing discipleship (just as it was in the first century church). One demonstration is financially rich believers ministering equally together with poor believers (how odd, and incredibly miraculous; all humble and bow at the foot of the cross.). It is the awesome contrast of church members vocations, race, gender, age, maturity, gifting, humility that demonstrates to visitors "there is a Spirit in the place". That first-time guest list of 10 are "physical excuses", not spiritual excuses. Those don't tell the story. The condition of facilities and publicly greeting people have zero to do with it. The power of God in and through believers lives dedicated to impact other people with their relationship bridge-building of acceptance of the lost around them. Empowered believers are infectious, loving, helpful, giving, self-less, dynamic, compelling, bold, Christ-filled. As I have been in many church settings domestically and internationally, the facilities can be poor, and yet the fellowship can still be rich. We need to operate with first church humility. People come to Christ on His terms, not on our human abilities of hospitality. A huge catastrophe in a community, disaster relief brings lots of people into churches – many come to the church in those terrible conditions no matter the physical condition of the local church. Off the condition of facility, and onto the condition of God's people (living stones).... and everything else will grow.... and the other physical issues will be corrected by the staff.
— Russ Wright

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