8 Nations of Innovation for Your Church

4. Elimination: What part could we take out to make it simpler?

Software designers who are truly innovative ask this question. Steve Case, who founded AOL, says we always overestimate the amount of complexity people will put up with. So at Saddleback, we ask what we can take out to make things simpler. When I moved here to South Orange County in 1980, I was 25 years old. I was starting a church in a place where land was going for a million dollars an acre. I knew I’d need 50 acres someday, but until then, we eliminated our need for a building. We went 15 years and grew to more than 15,000 in attendance without a building. We used four different high schools, camps, banks, parks and tents. In the first 13 years of Saddleback Church, we used 89 different facilities in Orange County. We became one of the largest churches in America before we ever had a building.

5. Reconstitution: What has died, but we could bring it back to life in a new form?

Ask yourself, “What worked twenty years ago and died?” What great idea from the past could you bring back, but in a new format? For 2,000 years the Christian church has done systematic training. Catholics called it catechism. But a few years back, it had pretty much died. We reformatted systematic training for the Internet age, and we’ve had thousands go through it.

6. Rejuvenation: How could we change the purpose or motivation for doing it?

Sometimes changing the how and why makes all the difference. There are probably 1 billion health plans in America. So why did we start emphasizing biblical health through the Daniel Plan? We knew that for people to fulfill their God-given destiny, they needed to be healthy. We helped people change their motivation for both losing weight and exercising, and we changed the delivery system by having small groups work together to encourage one another to get healthy. Listen to this: In 2011, the Saddleback Church family lost an average of 4,000 pounds a day! Why? We provided a new motivation and created a new delivery system for dieting.

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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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I like it Mac and do agree with your opinions on the matter. Thanks much
— winston
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
"While I understand the intent behind this phrase" Expound please. What do you understand to be the intent behind that phrase?
— Ken

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