Innovative Ministry
How to Be an Innovator Without Being an Imitator
Innovative leadership should constantly drive us to communicate eternal truths in fresh, new ways.

The tagline for this blog is Innovative Leadership from a Small Church Perspective.

New readers often ask what I mean by innovative leadership, so today’s post is designed to answer that question.

Let’s start defining what it’s not, then we’ll see what it is.

What Innovative Church Leadership Is Not

Innovative leadership isn’t about being the coolest kid in the room. That’s just imitating the latest fads and styles.

Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but it’s a poor substitute for innovation.

True innovators don’t just copy the new, cool styles they saw presented at the latest church conference. Imitators do that. Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but it’s a poor substitute for innovation.

Innovation doesn’t come from changing core beliefs, either. That’s our substance.

Biblically-based innovators don’t move away from scriptural truths. Heretics do that. And heresy isn’t innovative – it’s old and tired.

What Innovative Church Leadership Is

Innovative leadership happens in the space between style and substance.

It happens in the middle territory between foundational theology on one end, and trivial, stylistic fads on the other. It happens in the arena of methods, systems and communication tools. That’s why church leadership teachers talk so much about them.

So the next time you go to a church conference or watch a leadership talk, don’t run home determined that the key to breakthrough in your church is to line the back of the platform wall with pallets, or create a viral video for your church Facebook page. When we do that, we’re missing the essence of what truly innovative leaders are trying to tell us.

Don’t watch and imitate. Learn and adapt. Blend your ideas with theirs into something new that works for your context.

Innovation Cuts Through the Clutter

Innovative leaders start by defining and strengthening their core issues. The essential biblical truths. They make stylistic adaptations when necessary, so as not to feel stale and tired. But they’re always learning, always adapting and always leading others into using new methods, systems and tools.

Innovative leaders assess the culture around them to understand their changing needs and attitudes, then adapting the best possible methods of communicating the gospel in ways that cut through the clutter.

Innovation shouldn’t divide us, it should unite us. It should drive us deeper into the truths of God’s Word. It should help us resist chasing trite, stylistic fads. And it should constantly drive us to communicate eternal truths in fresh, new ways.

Let’s strengthen the substance, agree to disagree on style, and communicate the gospel as innovatively as we can.

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December 13, 2016 at 10:44 AM

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