Tracking an Emerging Role in Church Leadership: Pastor of Innovation

What may be emerging is a new role in the church: pastor of innovation. (Granted this may not become mainstream where every church would have one, since most churches have more pressing operational day-to-day needs.) I’ll do my part to keep this list updated. (Please do add to this list.)

How much of their job is pure innovation and experimentation? Would you like to know? Me too!

There are over 30+ definitions of innovation and over 6000+ definitions of leadership. Organizations, especially organized churches in the 21st century, need more innovation and more leadership, not less. What’s worked in the past is not working as well as it used to, so we as the Church capital-C must make room to develop new ways of doing things.

Peter Drucker has said, “Any time an organization fails to change at the rate of the world around it, that organization is doomed to failure.” and ”innovation is change that creates a new level of performance” and ”All organizations require one core competency: Innovation.

The chart below (from Leadership Network) illustrates how church innovations get adopted over time. As an experimenter, I’ve had very limited resources to experiment in developing innovations; I’m praying for more resources to do more. [disclosure: I do contract work with Leadership Network]

Innovation curve - LN

Rob Rynders makes a case for innovation in his denomination – Why The UMC Needs an Era of Innovation –

We need an intentional, grassroots, movement of innovators willing to put new ideas into action, fully realizing that many of those ideas will fail, but some will be successful. Even the failures will allow for immense learning, evaluation, further experimentation and adaption, ultimately leading to success. As successes and failures build, over time, we must apply those learnings from those models to other contexts and allow easy ways for others to learn, model, and adapt.

As mentioned in yesterday’s post, there are 4 levels of innovation, so not all innovation has to be risky and be revolutionary game-changers. Pastor Karl Vaters provides a helpful list for key questions to consider when preparing a church for change (and innovation) @ 10 Questions Every Innovative Small Church Pastor Needs to Ask.

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D.J. Chuang

D.J. Chuang

D.J. is a Strategy Consultant for non-profits & churches with a focus on web strategy, social media, and online education.

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RON M WEEKS — 05/13/13 7:21 pm

Faith in Various Expressions is now over the first year of being a forum on the internet. I am glad for all of those who shared and read the blogs and ideas offered and what next? I am confident that the next year will bring much more on how to bring forth information on faith growth.

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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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