THE IMPORTANCE OF INNOVATION
BY DR STEVE DUNN
Innovation is a strong value in our culture. Doing things better—which can mean more efficiently, more effectively, more cost effective–or stepping onto new frontiers of a concept or a product is a powerful engine of motivation for many.
Too often the church is perceived as old-fashioned and/or out-of-touch. We use words that have lost their meaning, technology that is out-of-date and inefficient, programs that respond to needs that no longer exist or no longer meet needs that have evolved in different directions.
Elmer Towns has observed: “Many churches, faithfully teaching and preaching the gospel, seem to be left behind because they have failed to see the need to be innovative in the way they reach their communities.”
Innovation by the church is important for at least five reasons:
1. Our changing environment. People no longer get their news via the print media. They increasingly turn to technology–primarily the computer. It is very difficult to reach the unchurched without a creative use of technology.
2. Our changing technology. People are increasingly visual in the way their learn. Worships services that depend a message delivered by a speaker without visual assistance will be less accessible. Churches first used overheads–but now powerpoint has replaced those as a better tool. Videos have become even more effective at reaching multi-sensory people.
3. Competitors improve. Satan is always finding new ways to lie to the world, which means we must find new ways to communicate the Gospel. In Bridgebuilders we teach, “Each new generation must learn how to re-present the Gospel.”
4. People have stopped coming to church. One of the most important innovations is for the church to get out of the building.
5. People have more choice. We cannot assume that we are going to get their attention or their time unless we look for better connecting points that speak first to their perceived needs. For example: Instead of simply complaining about youth sports taking over Sundays–maybe we need to find nontraditional points not tied to Sunday morning to speak to their spiritual needs.