You’re not innovative!

In ministry, it’s become the trend for young pastors and church planters to attempt to describe themselves as Creatives. I don’t necessarily think that’s a bad thing. I mean, we need to ensure that we’re faithful to the God who called us to ministry, and to the proclamation of His Word rather than our own creative ideas. But I do believe that there’s a level of creativity that is important to our calling.

Let’s face it, we proclaim a two thousand year old message. If we’re proclaiming that message in such a way as to incite bored yawns, we’re failures.

But…

What makes me completely insane is when I read or hear a pastor describe himself as a creative or innovative, and yet when I look at their “innovative” ministry, I can tell exactly which books he’s reading, and pastors he’s listening to. In some instances, I’ve seen them use the exact same graphics. In others, they’ve just grunged things up a little, added overused buzz-words like, “missional,” “authentic,” and “community.”

(image via flickr: The Infatuated)

For the sake of clarification, let’s be sure we’re defining terms the same way.

Innovation: the action or process of makimg changes in something established, esp. by introducing new methods, ideas, or products

Innovation means that you are coming up with fresh ideas.

Innovation does not mean that you’re rehashing someone else’s idea that gained them national attention.

That’s called plagiarism.

So why write this? Why would it bother me so much?

Because it used to be me.

I used to try to fit that mold because I thought that was the only way to do it. So I did what everyone else did. I cast the same vision for a church as everyone else. In fact, I did a ton of research to study what mega-churches were doing, and cast a vision for that as though it were my own idea.

Some called it pragmatism.
Some called it studied.
Some called it wisdom.
I called it innovative.

But then the best possible thing occurred. God refused to allow it to happen. My attempt to plant a church was a tremendous failure.

And God used that failure to force my reliance upon Him, to reveal Himself more through His Word, and to force me to my knees in obedience.

And when that happened, it became incredibly more important that I fulfill what God has called me to.

I’m not innovative. And, in the ministry culture that we live in, that’s original enough.

Who else is ready to speak up and admit it?

I’m not innovative!

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