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Innovative Churches: Does Size Matter?

February 27, 2007 by

Part 9 in a series on Innovative Churches. Be sure to contribute to the Most Innovative Churches list.

Does size matter? What about smaller churches and those with limited financial resources? Or, is innovation more difficult for larger, more established churches?

Innovation is difficult for every church because it is not natural for groups to be innovative. By nature we’re drawn to the lowest common denominator of a group, so innovation can sometimes be squelched for the sake of unity. History is riddled with individuals who are known for innovation. It’s been only recently that companies have started to provide outlets for innovation, realizing that some people need to be alone and others want to be in groups. Either way, innovation is always a challenge because it takes time, commitment, resources and failure.

Yep, failure is typically a huge part of the innovation process. And what churches are OK with failing? I am encouraged by the increasing amount of church cultures that do foster innovation, but the size of these churches has run the gamut.

Post By:

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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2 Responses to “Innovative Churches: Does Size Matter?”

  • Geoff Brown
    February 27, 2007

    Speaking as someone who was actually titled an “Agent of Change” at a huge money-center bank way back in the 1970s, who now kicks the envelope regularly at a small, rural Episcopal parish, I’ve concluded that size does NOT matter.
    The extent to which an organization is amenable to change/innovation is almost entirely a function of the most senior management of the organization. If the top people are able to cope with the idea that great ideas come from other than their own heads, change/innovation will succeed — and failure will even be tolerated.
    But we’ve all seen the TV commercial where at a meeting the geek proposes using some logistics service, and everyone in the room looks at him “funny”. Then, the boss paraphrases what the geek said, and everyone in the room nods enthusiastically.
    That said, it may be easier to “sell” an idea in a smaller church than a larger one, simply because in a smaller church there are fewer people who need to get on board.


  • Margaret
    February 27, 2007

    Another great thing to keep in mind: it ain’t the size of the church that matters- but the size of the egos.
    I was on the staff of a large Episcopal church for 12 years, and the greatest advice I ever followed was the following: work as hard as you can; as creatively as you can; be as innovative as you can be – and don’t care who gets the credit. Too often innovative ideas die on the vine before they can ripen because of massive egos cloaked in spirituality.



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