One of the reasons church planting is such a powerful tool for the mission of the Gospel is because it allows leaders to overcome challenges through innovation.  But, as churches grow larger and more committed to systems, innovation can be lost.  So based on both my experience and this recent article from the Harvard Business Review I want to expose these eight inhibitors of innovation.

Inhibitor #1: Focused on the short-term results

Often church planters get funding from groups that want “quick” & “quantifiable” results…  resist the urge to sacrifice long-term missional purpose for the short term goal.

Inhibitor #2: Afraid of cannibalizing the sending church

Create partnerships with church leaders that have a history of sending people without reserve. Leaders who make people “off-limits” lack the innovative thinking needed to prosper the Kingdom.

Inhibitor #3: Devoted too many resources to today

It is easy for church planters to get consumed with the tyranny of the urgent. Force yourself to make time and set aside resources for new ventures.

Inhibitor #4: Passed it on to someone else

There are unique needs in each community that can’t be left to someone else. Using your unique gifts and talents, look for ways to engage pressing needs with new ideas.

Inhibitor #5: Constrained by efficiency and excellence

Efficiency and excellence are the enemies of innovation. Ministry is always messy and if you wait until everything is “perfect” & you have everything you “need” you will never take action.

Inhibitor #6: Coached by leaders not trained to be innovative thinkers

Find a church planting coach who is capable of fostering innovation and not simply helping you imitate the success of others.

Inhibitor #7: Paralyzed by flaws and fears

New ideas are full of flaws and the only way to work out the kinks is to discover the power and potential of an idea, move forward, and take risk.

Inhibitor #8: Controlled by systems that don’t reward innovation

Avoid denominations, churches, and leaders who are afraid of letting go of their systems or want to make clone-ministries and embrace those who reward new ideas.

Read more articles like this on my regular Column @ ChurchPlanting.Com

Dr. J.R. Miller is a Professor of Applied Theology and Leadership & Dean of Online Learning at Southern California Seminary. Outside work, he is a church planter. Dr. Miller has a diverse educational background and authored multiple books on church history, biblical theology, and Leadership. Joe and his wife Suzanne enjoy the sun and surf with their 3 sons in San Diego, CA.

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