Our exclusive state-of-the church research revealed the top
obstacles that stand in the way of innovation. And since one of the
things I do here is lead our teams in innovation, I'd like to speak
to each one to challenge you to take risks.
Fear Whether you're afraid
of what people think of you or that you may lose your job, you
don't get a "pass" on this obstacle. If "playing it safe" is the
only reason you're not taking risks, use the change-agent tips in
this article to pray, communicate, lead, and innovate for greater
effectiveness. Start small, and build.
New to Ministry If you've
just started in your ministry, you're wise to wait to make changes.
Take a luxurious amount of time to learn from your church staff and
your ministry team before you innovate. Your tenure in your
ministry will be much longer if you move with caution.
Time One children's
minister described what most of us would probably say is our #1
obstacle: "I've wanted to take a risk, planned to do so, and have
advocated failure as an important part of ministry but when it all
came down to it, I let the tiny, everyday things take precedence
over the risk…and subsequent reward." If this is your obstacle,
focus on the subsequent reward and make time for innovation. The
"time" obstacle is never going to go away.
Sometimes personal health or fatigue can get in the way of changing
something or trying new things. And, you do get a "pass" on this
obstacle. If you're physically or spiritually tired, don't focus on
making ministry changes to try to renew yourself. Instead, you may
need to give yourself permission to keep things as the "status quo"
while you allow God to heal your spirit or body.
Complacency Someone said,
"What I'm doing works." Another person said that no opportunities
for risk have presented themselves and asked, "Am I being too
safe?" The answer? Yes. To fight the complacency monster, schedule
a review process for every element of your ministry on a cyclical
basis. Get feedback from kids, families, and volunteers to
determine if what you're doing really is working…or whether
something could use a facelift. (Our team does this very thing
every three years for this magazine.)
Lack of Resources Whether
it's a lack of money or people, welcome to ministry. We'll always
minister in a situation of "not enough." Don't let that stand in
your way of dreaming improvements for your ministry. Where God
leads, God will provide.
Wisdom Ask God to guide
you in making changes. Sometimes you shouldn't make a change
because the cost of that change is too high. For example, one
person said, "My ministry is in the public schools. I have to be
careful with the risks I take or I could lose my ability to be on
campuses." That's using wisdom.
Christine Yount Jones
Want more info about leading your ministry in
For expert tips and newsletters, go to group.com/state-of-the-church