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Innovative Churches: Definition & Is It Biblical?

January 22, 2007 by

Part 2 in a series on Innovative Churches. Be sure to contribute to the Most Innovative Churches list.

As a part of Outreach‘s Most Innovative Churches list, I answered a questionnaire for Tony Morgan about what it really means to be innovative. Here’s the first of those Q&A’s:

How would you define innovation?

Innovation is the ability to look forward, leverage potential and lead change.

Is innovation biblical? Does God want churches to innovate? Did innovation happen in the first-century Church? Should the Church embrace innovation today? Why?

Yes, innovation is biblical to the extent that it fosters and facilitates God’s agenda. God is all about being innovative! He’s used things like a burning bush, a talking donkey and a huge boat to get his point across. God is all about getting our attention and using whatever means necessary to build his kingdom.

Acts 1:7-8 is a great example of strategic innovation in practice. Here, Jesus helps the apostles look forward (I’m coming back but you don’t know when), leverage potential (you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you), and lead change (start here with Jerusalem, and work your way out to Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth). This innovative approach was Jesus’ way of saying take my gospel to the people; don’t wait for them to come to you. That’s innovative!

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Brad Abare


Brad Abare is the founder of the Center for Church Communication. He consults with companies and organizations, helping them figure out why in the world they exist, why anyone should care and what to do about it. He and his wife Jamaica live in Los Angeles with their daughter, Miró.
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3 Responses to “Innovative Churches: Definition & Is It Biblical?”

  • Jody
    January 22, 2007

    I think you have to take into consideration the area and culture you live in. For instance, we live in a surf town, near agricultural farms, plus it’s a college town, and most of the group is artistic in some way. So, our pastor took up surfing and is more in touch with the community. We have an outreach ministry that ministers to migrant farm workers and hungry families through Salvation Army. There are a ton of high school/college aged kids in our church who are excited to lead Bible studies, home groups, get-togethers, and ministries. We also host something called Mosaic every few months where everyone brings in artwork, poetry, prose, food, etc. to share our natural abilities and to glorify God through them. it unifies the body and creates a sense of community other than the typical Sunday morning coffee break.
    What I think is important it that everyone feel involved, or that everyone feels comfortable getting involved somewhere in the body and that can lead to a lot of innovative practices and ideas.
    It’s always exciting because people are doing what they love, sharing with other people, and God is glorified.


  • Ryan
    January 22, 2007

    In Milwaukee, there is a large German population, and there is a tradition of having hot ham and rolls on Sundays. So what the Catholic Church is doing (in District 16) is having a “Come Home” event to reach out to inactive Catholics with a Hot Ham and Rolls theme. I’d say this goes beyond the typical outreach and relates to the community in which it belongs.


  • KJV
    January 23, 2007

    For the ways of man are before the eyes of the LORD, and he pondereth all his goings. Proverbs 5:21
    There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. Proverbs 14:12
    Show me thy ways, O LORD; teach me thy paths. Psalms 25:4
    It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man. Psalms 118:8



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