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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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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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Recent Comments
I'm lost, to say the least! As a new pastor, taking over a newly started church I have read just about everything there is to learn what I can do to grow the church. I truly beleive that those attending our church are friendly and sincere. So that can't be the issue. I have read all the comments to this article and I feel that most churches will never have a fair chance! We are a VERY small church, so we don't have a children's church (yet). So if a family comes and gets upset that we don't have a children's church for them to put their children into, we lose! We do provide things for their kids to do during the service and even have an option for their kids to be in a different room, if they don't want their kids to sit with them. We are also such a small church that we don't have a worship team/band/etc. Our worship music comes from music videos. The congregation we do have likes it this way, but of course we would love to have a worhsip team. So, if someone comes to our church and is upset that we don't have live music, we lose! The point I am trying to make is that when people come in with preconceived ideas of what a church should be like, they will never find a church home, unless they find a church who's goal is to entertain! Every Sunday our message comes from the Bible, so that can't be a complaint for someone, so instead, people leave the church and never come back because they want more from a church: they don't want friendly people who are following the Word of God; they want a church that give them something (a babysitter for their kid, entertainment, free gifts, etc.) I'm sorry if sound cynical, I truly want everyone to hear the Good News and learn about Christ's love, but if they come in looking for something else, then the church will always lose!
 
— JAG
 
Reminds me Tony Morgan's classic post entitle “What If Target Operated Like A Church?” I wrote about this in a blog post "Is Your Church Like Target…or More Like A Mall?" https://goo.gl/2qQIy3
 
— bruceherwig
 
Challenging and very good
 
— John Gilbank
 

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