Inventive Church

Ok. Two posts in one day. I know. But it’s worth it.

I’m reading Emergent’s latest blog posts and Mike Stavlund wrote a needed post entitled “Inventive Church.”

Here’s a taste:

Doug Pagitt’s recent book Church in the Inventive Age is not a clarion call for change. Rather, it assumes that change is normative, and that innovation is in fact a way of life. Moreover, it contends that younger generations are trending away from resistance to change, and are in factembracing it. That there is a shift from the ‘information age’ toward something that is more about discovery, creativity, and collaboration. What Doug terms the ‘inventive age’ is one where churches need to decide how they will relate to this shift in culture—will they get on the change train, or will they stay put? Pagitt is remarkably charitable to those who would choose the latter, arguing that they provide an essential function in a changing world, too. And while I might quibble with Pagitt as he argues that such shifts are largely demographic—rather than, as my friend Deanna Doan has put it, ‘psychographic’—I understand that more younger people will experience this psychographic shift, so it’s actually both. Fair enough.

It’s a short book that means to make its points succinctly, with money quotes like this one:

“The ability to teach and preach and lead is taking a backseat to the pastor’s capacity to create and facilitate open-source faith experiences for the people of the church.” (p. 33)

I wholeheartedly agree with this call for leaders who stop parroting the party line and repeating conventional wisdom, and who choose instead to open the door to let in the heat and cold, the light and darkness, the hope and doubt. And to, in equal measure, let that same stuff go out the same door and into the larger world. (Read it all here.)

I am not into change for change’s sake, nor am I into change as a marketing ploy or a ‘kick-start’ to re-energise or re-focus congregations. Like Mike and Doug, I believe people, organisations, things naturally change. These changes need to be encouraged, recognised and celebrated. In churches, especially, these changes can result in great movements of God in the community.

Lest this evolve into a rant, I’ll leave it here. Read the blog. Get the book. Open your heart to the flexibility and adaptability that will bring God’s change to your world.



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