Innovative Churches

Tony Morgan asks what makes a church innovative. My response:

The most innovative churches (or organizations) are those that employ the most discontinuous methods/practices/strategies to fulfill their mission. Therefore, some of the churches we judge “innovative” are simply so in comparison with the mass of churches out there. If we’d like, we can say that’s enough – just do something that can’t be arrived at via a straight line from what everyone else is doing.

But I’d argue that the most innovative churches are those that are pursuing discontinuous change, i.e., not in a straight line from what they’ve been doing, in relation to themselves. Of course the disadvantage of measuring innovativeness this way is that it is extremely difficult to be discontinuous all the time (and retain any kind of coherence).

The primary model for the church in this kind of innovation may or may not cause a church to appear innovative. If all we do is what we’ve always done, we’re clearly NOT innovative. But if we are moment by moment following Jesus, who is always trying to reach an ever changing set of people, our pathway – from the perspective of someone not observing either Jesus or the group pursued – may seem purely chaotic.

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