Innovation always meets resistance from people who embrace what has been done in the past as the ultimate standard for the future. So many time when I have tried to rethink and reinvent inside the church I have been challenged to “be careful” not to get too far out there…not to move to far away from what we have done in the past…not to take too big of a risk. Why? Well because that is not how we do things. That is not the norm. There is wisdom in learning from the past but there is a call we all must embrace to risk everything for the sake of following Jesus Christ and expanding His Kingdom today. Sometimes I wonder if we have spend to long listening to people in love with what was in the past. We have embraced the voices of fear that warn of impending doom if we stray from outdated methods. We have listened to people to are trying to preserve rather than advance the Kingdom of God. The church is doing just fine, God does not need us to preserve anything. Read this from Steven Pressfield in his book, The War of Art…
The fundamentalist (or, more accurately, the beleaguered individual who comes to embrace fundamentalism) cannot stand freedom. He cannot find his way into the future so he repeats the past. He returns in imagination to the glory days of his race and seeks to reconstitute both them and himself in their purer, more virtuous light. He gets back to basics. To fundamentals.
Please do not place this quote in your framework of theology…PLEASE let’s not shrink God into the box of your church culture. This thought from Pressfield flows from the idea of leadership and action…the choice to risk, create and innovate rather than preserve __________, you fill in the blank. The question I am asking today is what voices are you listening to you? The majority of people around you will ask you to conform, fit in, and shut your mouth. Sure…innovate but within this outdated mode of operation. Create…but paint on this broken canvas. Program…but do it with this Commodore 64 from 1986. (just a little computer joke there for all you non-nerds) Here is the heard part…all us have a small voice inside telling us to embrace fundamentalism and preserve our little reputation we have created.
Are we willing to choose freedom (freedom to risk, dream, create) over fundamentalism as we lead? Will we empower people to take risks? Will put our reputations on the line in order to maybe, just maybe follow the voice of God and innovate? You are going to spend your life fighting for something. Let’s spend it advancing the Kingdom of God not preserving institutions and methods of the past.