Friday, April 11, 2014


The LIne Between Innovation and Fundamental Change

As I read about church leadership, I read article after article like this from Todd Rhoades:
One of the biggest questions right now, whether it be personal or business, is how to innovate and move past what has come before. In fact, whole companies have grown up around the idea of innovation and fostering it within staid organizations. But really it comes down to a single question.

What If?
This is vitally important stuff in business. When a product moves from the new thing to a commodity, profit margins drop, markets stagnate and growth slows to a trickle. That is a deadly formula for a business.

Churches have come to follow this model on the reasoning that the church should be forever growing in pursuit of the Great Commission. The problem is such is not the church's only role. Yes, it should grow, but it must also preserve. The university finds itself in a similar dilemma. Universities, by definitions are institutions of research - that is to say the growth of knowledge, but they are also institution of education. Education is a means of preserving that which we already know and passing it on to the next generation. When growth become the sole pursuit, much is lost.

Churches, when they seek to innovate to grow, must also ask themselves what it is they are to preserve and what it is they are to pass on. The desire to grow is of itself not enough. The church does not seek to evolve, it seeks merely to be a bigger church. Business innovation, conversely often evolves a company from growing hay to making bricks - there is some sense to it, but it fundamentally changes what the business is.

I grow weary of discussion of innovation that do not at the same time discuss what must be preserved.

What must be preserved?


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