Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Innovation and the church


There has always been a tension between innovation and the church. Tradition has long been seen as a necessary element so much so in many churches that it is part of the church’s doctrine. Change anything and you’ll find reactions varying from discomfort to downright anger. Many pastors are afraid to change or do anything different so as not to make anyone mad and cause them to leave the church. Therefore innovation in the church becomes very difficult and often at a high price. Because of the church’s culture of orthodoxy the church finds itself left behind in almost every area of ministry from missions to communication.
Grace Point is unique in that innovation and change are accepted and even embraced. Part of the reason is that those attending are new believers or Christians who want a different, more relevant way of reaching people for Christ. We realize God’s word is unchangeable but how we communicate and minister must be dynamic. Even how we see the mission of the church is a radical departure from many churches. *
In the coming weeks I would like to present some innovative ways our members are “being the church” in their community. And I hope that you will send me creative ideas of how you are reaching and ministering to your community also so I can share and inspire others. My desire is not to use this as an intellectual exercise, but for you to grab on to one of the ideas or allow the creative ministries to motivate you to reach out to a world that desperately needs Christ.
Innovative ministry: PAWS FOR SERVICE
J.C. and Cathy Smith minister with their golden retriever, Meg to the elderly in nursing homes and hospices through a ministry called Paws For Service. J.C. said he was recently contacted to visit a patient at the Alta Vista Nursing Home, “my visit was short because the patient wasn’t feeling well. However, while in the facility, I was surrounded by other patients and staff members. Meg was petted by more than a dozen residents and staff. The administrator asked how to get in contact with someone to request regular facility visits“. What a great way to brighten someone’s life and a great way to open the door to sharing Christ.
If you have a dog that you think would be trainable, Paws will train you and your dog so that you can bring some joy and Christ into the world to the elderly and sick. Paws for Service will be having a training class for K-9's and their "chauffeurs" (owners) early next year. If you are interested, please contact J.C. at
n5rxs@satx.rr.com
*The church of the future must become what we call “incarnational” in the way it does ministry. Incarnational means that all of our members are called and view themselves as missionaries to their community and world. The local church is not a building or denomination but a body of believers living out the Word, with the power of the Holy Spirit (incarnation) sharing their faith, caring for and being involved in the lives of their neighbors and changing their community. We live, work, study and interact with others as a witness for Jesus Christ. Our focus is not “to come to church” but we encourage our members “to be the church.” This is really a return to the first century church in purpose. But the way we communicate and reach the world can be as modern and innovative as possible. There should be few limits and boundaries. The goal is to reach our world for Christ and that means using whatever tools are available in our world today.

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