Innovation³ Main Session #4, Wed Afternoon

Reggie McNeal, Leadership Network
Missional has become the latest buzzword that all books have started to include in their titles. We may end up losing focus on what missional is while we’re in a rush to become it. It’s a shift in how the church sees itself and its function(s) in the world.

In India, church leaders don’t have time to “evangelize” because they’re too busy growing and reaching new people. The percentage of Christians in the country has grown from 2% to 10% of the country’s population.

We, in America, are in the backwaters of the church growth movement. The missional movement is an entry-point into God’s work on earth. e need to get into what God is doing worldwide.

Five Indicators that we need to look at the church through Kingdom lenses instead of looking at the Kingdom through church lenses:

  1. Church moves from a what to a who. It’s not a place where things happen. It is not an it. We talk about “our churches” “a church,” but the Spirit is moving people world-wide to refocus on the fact that “I am the church.” When you move from what to who you’re able to legitimize and celebrate a whole bunch of different expressions of the local body of Christ. There are a whole lot of groups of people who will never be able to “go to church” (hospitality/service industry). We need to be the church there if there’s going to be the church. We’re not the point, the mission’s the point.
  2. We need to stop thinking about church as the destination and more of the connector. When an airport has a bunch of planes on the ground and is full of people and activity the airport is not winning. People are angry when that happens. No one has a book “Great Airports of the World.” When you screw the scorecard up you screw up people’s lives. People want to go somewhere. Jesus didn’t say, “I have come to give you church and give it more abundantly.”
  3. There are going to be a lot of church life forms that we don’t currently have a taxonomy for. Some life forms aren’t going to survive, but that doesn’t mean you have to shoot it.
  4. There’s going to be a shift in the scorecard. In the church world we measure who shows up here. In the missional world we dare to measure what happens beyond us.

If you don’t have questions you’re not paying attention.
If we don’t have a worldview where we have an impact beyond us our vision is too small.

Dino Rizzo, Healing Place Church, Baton Rogue, LA

If we don’t understand the power and necessity of diversity we can never be used in a powerful way for the Kingdom. The church is not about my wants and desires, it’s about reaching all kinds of people.

John 5. We must be about reaching people, not just crowds.

Two thoughts for the coming future:

  1. Opposites are going to have to attract.
  2. The integrity of our ministry is not dictated by how well we minister to the masses, but how well we minister to the one (and the one is usually different than us).

Neil Cole, Church Multiplication Association
What is a church? Is it by-laws & constitution & elders?

Matthew 16

  • The first question we need to ask is not who are we trying to reach, it is “Who is Jesus?”
  • Jesus didn’t say you will build the church. He said I will build my church.
  • The church should be growing. Buildings don’t shrink while they’re being built.
  • Gates are not offensive weapons.
  • The only thing holding us back from accomplishing the mission of the church is our own lack of faith.

Churches have a DNA:
D – Divine Truth
N – Nurturing Relationships
A – Apostolic mission

Every church will be judged not by the quality of its programs, but the quality of its disciples.

Matt Carter, Austin Stone Community Church

  • Excessive numerical growth in an extremely short amount of time can be a bad thing if you don’t have a plan for it.
  • Mission creates community. When you’re on a mission of significance together you form a deep bond.
  • Jesus called his disciple to himself and to mission.
  • They shifted the focus of the group from study/fellowship to missional communities.
  • A missional community doesn’t focus on how its needs are going to be met, they do life together and meet needs.
  • When we aimed simply for community, we got neither mission nor community. When we aimed for mission, we got both almost every time.

Innovation³ Main Session 3 (Wed AM) Notes

Ed Stetzer, What does the dangerous church of 2010 look like:
– Cautions

  • Don’t believe the hype
    • Many who promote bad news have a program to fix it.
      • These people are probably passionate about the future and have data to support their findings.
    • Be more cynical.
      • We tend to believe things too soon.
  • Be people of Issachar (1 Chronicles 12:32)
    • There are trends we can an should watch.
    • Skate where the puck is.
      • Many churches live in a past era where the puck used to be or maybe where the puck never was.

– Cultural perspective

  • The dangerous church will have
    • Seized economic opportunity
      • Economic growth and evangelical church growth are counter-cyclical
      • Prayer for spiritual growth may hinder spiritual growth, but you should still pray for both.
    • Addressed sexual brokenness
      • 30 years ago having a gay bishop pray at the inauguration would have been the controversial choice to pray instead of the protestant evangelical pastor.
      • Most churches don’t know how to address brokenness. Churches that thrive will have to address homosexuality, brokenness, and sexuality in general with a solid biblical perspective.
    • Wrestled with gender inclusion.
      • It will become an increasing challenge.
      • This will become more of a problem to attendees who go to a church without a woman in a pastoral role.
      • Bent Tree has had two statements about their stance on women in ministry.
      • We need to be able to explain it and have a biblical rationale for it.
      • 65% of young adults polled said that a church that didn’t endorse women ordained for ministry would have a negative impact on their decision to attend.
    • Faced increasing intolerance
      • This is not the same thing as persecution. Someone not saying “Merry Christmas” at the grocery store is not persecution or an excuse to snap back “Jesus is the Reason for the Season”
  • The dangerous church will have
    • Navigated the Post-Seeker Context
      • Boomers have come back, so unchurched don’t have a Christian memory at all of what church used to be.
    • Regained confidence in the Gospel
      • The church and its Gospel has lost credibility in our culture.
      • We may have a wrong understanding of what the Gospel.
      • The New Reformed and Emerging church get the most media attention
    • Addressed Evangelical Confusion
      • Defined from John McCarthur to Joel Osteen. Broad spectrum
    • Rethought discipleship
      • Reveal from Willow Creek shows that we’re not making disciples well.
      • 2,500 Protestant churchgoers surveyed. Same people were surveyed a year later and barely anyone had grown
    • Worked through denominational catharsis
      • Many are rethinking how their denomination functions.
    • Found networking strategies
      • Acts 29
      • Sometimes we end up cloning ourselves, but we need to not just copy each other
    • Implemented New Innovations

Nancy Ortberg, TeamWorx2
Innovation is not a buzzword. It’s an essential part of God’s work here on earth. We innovate so that people will be transformed by the Gospel of Christ. The Gospel is always provocative and is never boring.

How do leaders create an environment that demands change and innovations?

  • Tensions
    • Leaders know that struggles foster growth
    • You need to develop infrastructure
    • You need to activate gifts without elevating them. Innovators are not any more important in the church than those who live for infrastructure.
    • A partnership is needing between incremental and exponential growth. We need to be comfortable and embrace both.
    • Passion & Humility – We need to embrace the confidence that comes with passion, but not allow that confidence to allow us to set aside humility.
  • Innovation happens best in teams
    • Patrick Lencioni writes about teamwork
    • There is magic in a team. We are holding back the potential of the church if we don’t embrace teams as the model of leadership.
    • We need to have Spiritual Gift radar and see clues as to what people’s gifts are. Work toward being able to identify someone’s gift within 4-5 sentences of talking with them.
    • Pursue leaders who are better at their gift than you are. Don’t be threatened by them or try to control them.
    • Learn to orchestrate the team and guide them.
    • Mature leaders need to pull back intentionally so that we can light a fire in younger leaders to allow their passion to grow and then take off.
  • Behavioral Values Needed for Innovation. Core values inflict pain. They force you to make choices.
    • 1 – Ask Questions.
      • Learn to ask, “I don’t know, what do you think?”
      • Be inquisitive, not judgmental (using tone).
      • People change on a quest or in a crisis.
      • Rhetorical questions plant seeds of provocation in people’s brains that the Holy Spirit fosters throughout the week.
    • 2 – Risk.
      • Failure & change go together.
      • Evaluate where people took a risk and failed. Ask what they learned from the experience. The only failures that should be tolerated should be for lack of effort.
      • You don’t know which ideas will take off. We criticize ideas too soon.
      • Fear.
      • Increase the amount of curious
    • 3 – Collaboration.
      • This doesn’t mean that the leader brings in his idea and asks for everyone else to implement it.
      • Gary Hammil – The Future of Management. “We need divergence before we have convergence.”
      • Compromise = mutually agreed upon mediocrity.
    • 4 – Trust.
      • Covey, The Speed of Trust.
      • Trust implies we have patience with each other. It is a build value.
  • We have moved so quickly from a chruched culture to an unchurched culture that we have no choice but to be innovative.
    • Monvee
    • Innovation comes from hope and hope is deeply tied to the Gospel.

Bob Roberts, Northwood Church, Keller, TX

  • The church is exploding like never before in history, just not in America.
  • We need to understand our context before we can expect to be able to grow.
  • When it comes to globalization we’re incredibly old-fashioned.
  • The greatest thing you can do to learn how to be innovative is to take a mission trip, find a local pastor, sit down, shut up, take notes on what he’s doing, and then do what he says.
  • We need more than lip-service to the Gospel.
  • We need to be less about missions and more about the Kingdom of God.
  • Sometimes we talk about being missional, but we’re just talking about serving the poor. Those are fishing pools.
  • We need to avoid bringing “the four spiritual laws” overseas without getting to know them.
  • When people became disciples in the NT they were making a choice of abandonment in which they were willing to die for their faith.
  • When we see bad news on CNN it’s God saying “Over here.”
  • The disciples were more passionate for their faith and they didn’t have the whole NT.
  • Abraham was the ultimate disciple. He was to be a blessing to ALL NATIONS. God has good promises for the children of Ishmael.
  • Some people want deeper theology, I want Jesus.
  • Jesus said “blessed” eight times to start the Sermon on the Mount.
  • Reinvent your disciples and you’ll reinvent your church.
  • Lessons from Middle-Eastern mega-church leaders
    • 1 – Focus on the Holy Spirit instead of pragmatics
    • 2 – More an obedience to the Word of God than a right understanding of proper theology
    • 3 – Gratitude towards Abraham and what he did, but a focus on Ishmael. We’re going to have to learn to love Muslims in order for the Great Commission to be fulfilled.
    • 4 – Don’t care as much about trying to develop a particular type of church (house vs mega).
    • 5 – Integration of faith, life, and everything. We take disciples and make them.
    • 6 – Theology of context of God.
    • 7 – No money, so trusting God is needed.
    • 8 – Driven by living heroes instead of dead saints.
  • It’s never been about how much money you’ve had, it’s about obedience.

John Bishop, Living Hope Church, Vancouver

  • Innovation is most about simplification.
  • Our plans sometimes trump God’s purpose. Our five-year plans many times put the Holy Spirit out of the equation.
  • God does his best work in our weakness, but we hate weakness. Why do we want to hide our weakness?
  • People in this generation want unbridled truth. We’re responsible for presenting the Gospel in a way in which people will respond to it.
  • “Pure and simple devotion to Jesus”
  • Pastors who say they don’t count people are saying a bunch of crap. The book of Acts counts people.
  • Are we doing everything we can to reach the people in our community?
  • Are our methods for our purpose or the unchurched?
  • We have to ruthless and desperate to reach people who do not belong to God.
  • If you’re not reaching people, don’t ask the people you work with, ask the ones you’re trying to reach.
  • Celebrate each others victories. If you hurt, I hurt. If you win, I win.
  • We need to practice on the earth what you’re going to do on the other side of eternity.
  • Why don’t you quit worrying and start praying. Repent of your worry.
  • People don’t want to see fancy programs, they want to see love and unity.
  • Revelation 3, we’re indifferent.
  • Over time we tend to see people as tool instead souls to win for Christ.
  • People matter, so change whatever you need to change.