Most organizations (including churches) have a forty year life cycle at best. Over the course of those four decades there is a birth, adolence, adulthood and eventual decline and death. When an organization reaches adulthood it is at that point that most churches begin to plateau and then eventually decline not only in numbers but also in impact. So, the organizational question is how do you stay in in that birth and adolecent stage? (Dramatic pause) Continuous innovation.
Here is my theory: the best ways to create continuous innovation is to leverage your leadership to keep you close to other innovators.
I had a facinating conversation with a couple of key leaders at Willow Creek Community Church a couple months ago. Over the course of the conversation they said something that surprised me and then something absolutely profound.
What suprised me was the admission that they were not on the cutting edge of innovation in the church today. This was not self-depricating humility on thier part. And me mentioning this is not taking a shot at them. Afterall, Willow did invent at least one paradigm for how to do church and only a handful of people in the history of the church can make that claim. But the fact that they admitted this allowed them to do something I think is absolutely profound. They went on to explain that they are intentionally using the WCA’s platform of influence to get closer to the churches that are on the cutting edge of innovation. That is why they invite in leaders from churches like Life Church and The Dream Center.
I thought that was sooooo smart! So here is my takeaway: One of the best ways to create continous innovation is to leverage your leadership to keep you close to other innovators.