Innovation in Ministry

There has been a question that has dogged me lately, and it’s this. “Why isn’t there more innovation in Ministry.”

I have thought about this for a while and the latest issue of Harvard Business Review is all about innovation. I read an article about the DNA of an Innovator, it really got me thinking. One of the biggest take always from the article was that I need to take 15 to 30 minutes a day to ask lots of questions about why I do what i do and how I can do things different. I have come to the following conclusions, they are by no means final conclusions:

1. We really don’t make time to question why we do what we do.
2. We tend to think more week to week
3. We tend to manage because of all the people and resources we oversee
4. We tend to think that tweaking existing things is innovation
5. We ask the wrong questions.

What do you think?

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6 comments On Innovation in Ministry

  • I think you nailed it Sam. We get too busy managing the day to day that we never step back and look ahead. Thanks for getting me thinking! Ryan

  • I really appreciate your challenge here to be innovative in our ministries. At the same time, I had a different response to your initial question "why isn't there more innovation in ministry?" I think there is actually a ton of innovation in ministry. I talk to other children's pastor's in my area and they are constantly looking for new ideas and new ways to do ministry. Pardon me for being really blunt, but part of the problem is that the Christian/Church arena can kind be as cliquish as teenage girls and as nepotistic as politics. Unless you work at a prominent church, or with a "big name" pastor, or have other connections, it's really hard to find a place to share your innovations. If you were to just travel around and visit various children's ministries, I bet you would find more innovation than see publicized at conferences or on the internet.

    • Jan,

      Thanks for your comment. It was by no means my desire to go negative. I have seen lots of inovaiton in the church. I think there can and should be more. As for your assertion that you have to be at a big name church to get your innovative ideas out there. I disagree maybe in the past that was the case with blogs, CMconnect, kidology, and twitter it's easier than ever to get the word out. If you ever have an innovative idea I would love to showcase it on my blog. I don't ever want that to be a problem. Thanks again for your time and for adding your voice to the conversation.

  • Thanks for the reply Sam! I didn't think you were negative. Quite the opposite, your focus was to encourage innovation – which is a great thing! And I agree that there are more ways to share now than in the past (and I will check out the blogs you mention – though I'm not a twitterer at this time). But I also think there are a lot of things going on in kid's ministry at the grass roots level that don't get talked about because they go unnoticed – at least until a larger church (or publishing company) adopts the practice and begins marketing it. I know that sounds jaded, but I've seen it happen.

    For the same reason, it's hard for me to know how "innovative" my own ideas are. I might share something with you that I think is the greatest new thing ever only to find that you tried it 4 years ago! =) But I will keep my eyes posted on your blog and if it seems appropriate, I will definitely share!

    Thanks again for your reply!

    • I think innovation happens best in collaboration. Most "innovative" ideas are made up of a thousand decent ideas. One of the main obstacles to innovation in the church is the fact every church and every ministry looks at each other as competition and not as team mates. There is more room for grass roots innovation than ever. If you have something to say a well written self published book can do better than a decently written book that is published by a well known publisher. It's exciting to be ministering in a day and age where little guys like myself can help his church and others in their churches with my little blog. Blows my mind actually.

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