I very much appreciate and concur with Bill Wilson, the author of this article.
I believe history bears out one thing; there will always be people who see a current situation and make it into an inevitable crisis in the future. I must admit I laughed at the Great Horse Manure Crisis of 1894. But isn’t that how this whole process works?
Typically, innovation occurs because someone has seen an issue, a current or potential problem, and strove to combat it and change its impact or course. There is a reason why it is said that “necessity is the mother of all invention.” It is the same, whether in the “secular” realm or the church realm.
Yes, it is true that most denominations are currently in decline based upon membership and baptism numbers, but that does not necessarily mean that it is due to a lower interest in things of a spiritual nature. Actually, research I have seen over the last number of years has actually shown that interest in things of a spiritual nature is higher than ever before.
So, what’s the problem then? Simply put, quite often that innovation which is needed to avert a “crisis” in the “secular” realm is absent in the “church” realm. It’s far too often that the “tried and true” of the 20th century and even a decade ago are gripped so tightly that innovation is not allowed to happen.
The answer to what is a “doom and gloom” prediction for the church is, in my opinion, entrepreneurial (creative and innovative) kingdom living. The history of the church in America is replete with this. One example would be the creation of Sunday schools, which started in Great Britain and spread to America, to combat the high illiteracy rate of children in poor families who couldn’t go to school because they were working all week in factories. Religious education was mixed in with this education. A very creative and innovative solution to a crucial problem. Kingdom living which is entrepreneurial in nature seeks creative ways to bring the qualities of God’s kingdom into a specific context.
As a citizen of God’s kingdom, I should be the most loving, humble, gracious, grace-giving, merciful, hope-filled, joyful, peaceful, patient, faithful, trustworthy, kind, considerate, helpful of all people. The crux of the matter is how to impact and share these qualities with those in my community, with those in my immediate context.
This is where the entrepreneurial spirit enters. I must know those around me and my community. I must understand and then seek to impact them and it with these qualities. It is done through relationships and drawing people to the real hope found in Jesus Christ.
What that looks like will be different in Fort Dodge, IA then in Battle Creek, MI or San Antonio, TX or Greenfield Township, PA, or Muskegon, MI or Chicago or New York City. You get the idea.
Innovation will not just happen. The people of God must be willing to let go of “what worked in yesteryear” and embrace innovation and that entrepreneurial spirit in order to move into the future God has for us.
As God said through the prophet Isaiah, “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”
What might God be calling you today to start for His kingdom?