Innovation is a popular buzz word now and a sought after topic of discussion in conferences and the ministry resource world. I approach innovation a little differently and try my best to look at it through a Biblical lens. Innovation is the act of introducing something new. God tells us in Isaiah 43:19 to “Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new. It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it? “(MSG)
Something that was foundational in my own life was studying Henry Blackaby’s Experiencing God. In the book, Blackaby teaches that “when you recognize where God is working, you can join in what He is doing.” That to me, friends, is at the very core of being innovative – to be so in tune with God that His dreams become your dreams. May we stop bringing God our plans to bless and seek where He’s already at work around us?
Ephesians 5:1 reads, “Watch what God does and then you do it.” (MSG) What does being innovative require? A few things: First we must grasp onto this concept of joining God in His mission. Blackaby teaches that “God’s activity is far greater than anything we could aspire to do for Him.” Let that one sink in a little bit. For some of you it may be painful. For some it may be a relief.
So a first step in being truly innovative is listening to the Spirit of God and looking for where He’s moving. It requires that our innovation antennas are up and seeking God moments that lead to breakthroughs in our ministries.
Another step in being truly innovative is walking with God and being men and women of integrity. Genesis 6:9 teaches us that Noah “was a righteous man, blameless in his time; Noah walked with God.” What did Noah do? Only one of the most innovative and unprecedented acts in all of human history. He built an ark to protect himself, his family and many animals from a flood before it had ever rained! – that’s innovative (doing something new).
The question is: Whose idea was it? Let that sink in for a moment. Did Noah come to God with a plan to build a boat and ask him to bless it or did God speak to Noah and guide Him because he was a man that “walked with God?” When it comes right down to it, we really can’t take credit for innovative ideas. They are truly gifts from God that should lead us to worship.
My prayer for you is that you get to a place of desperation in your ministry. A sense of desperation that leads to a dependency on the Holy Spirit. Friends, there are no shortcuts to innovation. You cannot bypass prayer. Prayer isn’t just the way to open a brainstorming meeting, it is the meeting. If you want to be truly innovative and start doing new and exciting ways of ministry you must be dependent upon the Holy Spirit.
I’ll close with Scripture and let God have the final word. Jeremiah 33:3 teaches us, “Call to me and I will answer you. I’ll tell you marvelous and wondrous things that you could never figure out on your own.”
Greg Atkinson lives in Georgia with his wife and their three small children. Greg most recently served as the Director of Technical Arts at Bent Tree and before that as the Director of WorshipHouse Media, after having served as a worship pastor for 11 years. Greg is now an innovation consultant and continues to consult, teach and write about innovation, technology, leadership, worship and social justice. You can connect with him through his daily blog at Greg Atkinson. ©2010 – Greg Atkinson