Speaker: Craig Groeschel (Senior pastor for LifeChurch.tv and provides leadership and guidance for the church as a whole. He has written several books, including his recent release, Weird: Because Normal Isn’t Working)
Session: We Innovate for Jesus
The Church Before and the Church Today
Throughout history the church was the epicenter of creativity. Go back a few hundred years, and the church was leading in the arts, in music, in science. Culture was shaped through the church. Today, people are utterly shocked when the church does anything creative or innovative. Sadly, we have delegated creativity to the secular institutions when we are the ones that should be excelling in these areas. What happened?
Whenever the word Christian is in front of something it’s perceived to be second rate. Christian movies. Christian clothes. Christian music.
The church should be the leaders in creativity and innovation.
As God’s creative image bearers, how do we reclaim that? How do we make the church the most innovative institution in the earth?
“And when he returned to Capurnam after some days, it was reported that he was at home. And many were gathered together, so that there was no more room, not even at the door. And he was preaching the word to the. And they came bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. And when they could not get near him becasue of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and when they had made no opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven.”
We are not innovative for the sake of being creative. We are innovative in order to bring people to Jesus Christ, just like the four men in Jesus’ day.
Innovation isn’t as much about what we do, but how we think. When we learn to think differently, we become what God intended us to be. Then, we can innovate. It’s about stewardship. It’s about faith in a God who is in control.
How to Think About Innovation:
LIMITED RESOURCES +
A WILLINGNESS TO FAIL +
INCREASING PASSION =
“We can’t ____ because we don’t ____.” = wrong mentality to have.
- We can’t add a new service because we don’t have enough volunteers.
- We can’t do real church because we don’t have a real building.
- We can’t do that because we’ve always done it this way.
However, limited resources are not a hindrance to innovation, they are actually a catalyst to innovation. God is sovereign. If God gives you what you think you need, then you won’t see what he wants you to see. Sometimes, God will withhold what we want to show us what we actually need. You might already have everything that you need to reach every person that God wants you to reach.
Peter to the lame man: “silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.”
Therefore, embrace your limitations! Limitations are the breeding ground for innovation. After all, if you weren’t in need then you wouldn’t need to innovate.
A Willingness to Fail
Mindset people often have: “Failure is not an option, so we won’t even try.” This is the wrong mentality.
Failure is in fact not an option, it is a necessity. You must be willing to fail. You must be willing to risk it. Failure is often the first step in God’s process of success. Peter is a great example of this. He had failed to love God multiple times yet he was called to speak on the day of Pentecost. Because he had failed much, he was most equipped to preach with passion for God’s grace.
YouVersion bible app was supposed to be a website where people share socially and engage with the word. It failed as a website. They started an app, and the rest is history.
Try, fail, learn, adjust. Repeat.
The mindset we often have: “We want to reach people for Christ.” Not bad, but let’s change it with increasing passion.
Rather than saying we “want” to reach people for Christ, we “have to” to reach people for Christ. Paul didn’t say he wanted to preach the gospel. He HAD to preach the gospel. It is important to make this distinction—we don’t just want to do things, we are compelled to do them.
If you believe that people are headed to a very real fate in a place called Hell unless they come to Jesus, then you have to reach them.
Forget the term “church growth.” I don’t care about “church growth.” What we’re talking about is populating the kingdom of God.
If you want to reach people you have to be willing to break the rules of man. You have to care about reaching lost people more than you care about pleasing church people.
- In the 1500s, Martin Luther had to get the word of God out to the common people. So he went bangig on the Wittenberg door with a hammer in nail. He broke the rules.
- John Wesley had to get people who would never enter a church to hear the gospel. So we went outside. He preached open-air, sometimes on his father’s grave, for over 50 years.
- Rick Warren saw that churches and denominations were drawing lines and no longer working together. He had to change this, so he started sermon campaigns so that multiple churches could go through God’s Word together.
- Mark Driscoll wanted lost people to get saved, so he planted a church in the single most liberal city in America. He has been planting churches all across the city and training future church leaders.
Sometimes the closest thing to the heart of God is the most offensive thing to the Pharisee. We need to care more about God’s people than we do about the approval from church people. Innovation happens when you care more about reaching people than you do about the approval of men.