Wednesday, September 5, 2007

11 Innovations for Your Church!

This stuff is really innovative! It is completely "outside the box"! Implementing some of these radical approaches to church ministry and programming may be risky and controversial, but they may just revolutionize the spirit of your congregation and take your ministry to the next level.

1. Sing hymns.

2. Preach through a book of the Bible.

3. Talk about sin.

4. Celebrate the Lord's Supper more frequently.

5. Have a Scripture reading in the service.

6. Transition creative content from aping popular commercials and other media to creating your own, wholly original content.

7. Read, study, and teach theology.

8. Put as much effort and resources into men's ministry as you do women's. On the flipside, pair up younger women with wise, older women in mentoring relationships with the same conviction you have about men being in accountability and mentoring partnerships.

9. Hire from within.

10. In promotional material, use actual photos of actual people in your community.

11. Preach the Gospel.


Bird said...

I like #10 because it's so obvious when churches don't do that. I shoot a lot of our churches website stuff.

Jen said...

I'm happy to say that I think my church does all of those things.

Great list!

Rick Shott said...

I am a small town pastor, new to the calling. I do all that apply, but let me add something.

12. Implement a church year.

Currently, I am preaching through Romans, but in a few weeks I will break from that for Christmas. I have decided that every year, from Christmas to Palm Sunday is preaching about Jesus directly. The church year should recognize advent somehow. It should take seriously Palm Sunday, Good Friday, Easter & Pentecost. (each one is very different in tone, I cannot stand Good Friday messages that were meant for Easter Sunday.) I may not hold Pentecost on the traditional date but there will be a Sunday sermon, after Easter.

Book studies are great. I will always have some book in view, yet I believe that there is an importance in focusing part of the year on Jesus. Last year for me it was a series on the sermon on the mount. This year will be a series on the parables of Jesus.

The Bible is such a wondrous book with a vast variety forms to share the gospel. Therefore, I believe that we should make its variety known to our congregations. I even make a point to preach a few sermon from the Old Testament just before advent.

As is possibly clear, I do not follow any official church year but I have made my own. Each pastor should look and set out their own year. I do believe that there is something important in the variety that helps us realize the depth of the Gospel message.

Jared said...

Rick, good stuff. Thanks!

I do like the idea of pastors developing their own "church year," and I am absolutely in favor of preaching Jesus. I think we ought to do that whether we're preaching Old Testament or New.

David van der Stoep said...

Jared, Good stuff! I especially sympathize with number 7. I think it's a shame that in my church no theology is preached. They do preach the Bible, but important theological issues are not preached.

Can I add to point 3 that alongside preaching about sin, also grace should be preached?



Jared said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jared said...

David, absolutely. I have grace in mind in my #11.

I singled out sin earlier, however, b/c I think it is the part of the gospel that is left out in most churches today.
But I absolutely believe we cannot preach sin without grace. That was the failure of the fundamentalist church movement of our past.

Anonymous said...

Amazing...every church I've been to or attended has done these things. They've never tried to be 'relevant' but 'tried and true, traditional, sacramental, faithful." The churches? Lutheran.

Daniel said...

No. 10: ALWAYS. Our web site is nothing but actual people from our church.

As far as singing hymns, I'm a big believer in that but I'm also a big believer in doing contemporary stuff too. I don't think you were saying ONLY hymns but too many people are either/or when it should be both/and.

PamBG said...

I'm trying to understand why number 5 was mentioned. In the traditions in which I've worshipped, it's normal to at least have a Gospel and Epistle reading if not an Old Testament reading and maybe even a Psalm.

I'm trying to understand whether this is deemed to be inadequate and you're talking about the whole congregation sitting down and reading the bible for, say, a half an hour, or whether there are churches that are conducting worship that does not include scripture reading? If the latter, I'd be curious to understand what happens in worship. Thanks.

Jen said...

pambg - there are many non-denominational churches that do not do readings from Scripture in every service. The more liturgical churches do because of the traditions inherent. But too many non-denoms tend not to have specific readings from the Bible outside of the sermon.

Anonymous said...

I would suggest "#0: Interaction"

As noting that in a service 2-10 are all unilateral (preach/read/teach TO the congregation), and there are many performance-oriented institutional churches where #1 is unidirectional too.

Jared said...


I don't think you were saying ONLY hymns but too many people are either/or when it should be both/and.

Oh no, not at all. Thanks for helping me clarify.
Just saying it's great to include them and not pretend, as many worship leaders and churches do, they are not relevant, current, or meaningful enough for contemporary use.


I'm trying to understand why number 5 was mentioned

What I have in mind is someone from the stage/pulpit/whathaveyou reading a passage of Scripture either to or with the congregation. Can be the passage being taught on in the message or just connected. Or not connected.
In any event, just calling for the hearing of Scripture in context and read as an act of worship.

I mention it because I am writing from and to an evangelical church culture that has largely not abandoned or just never adopted this element of a worship service. I think it's a great way to add "new" elements to our gatherings.


No way! People should just walk in silently, by themselves, and never speak, look, or gesture at or to anyone else throughout the service.

/sarcasm off

Do you not think celebrating the Lord's Supper interactive? It is a meal we share together.
You don't find #8 interactive?

#9 is interactive b/c it necessitates the mentoring, training, and discipling of future leaders.

#11 is interactive b/c "preaching the Gospel" extends beyond a message and finds incarnational power in our bringing a radical grace to those in radical need.

Are you the "no monologue preaching" commenter?

Jared said...

in my above comment, "not abandoned" should just read "abandoned"

Brian said...

Jared, this is too radical. I don't know if it'll ever fly. Unless, of course, you label it, package it, and market it. Then you might have a chance. :)

Related to #8, it seems that we think people in the church become leaders simply by osmosis. And there is something to be said for learning by example but there needs to be more intentional discipling and the mentoring that you mentioned. Not only on the personal level but for the purpose of serving the church as the need arises. And that flows directly into #9.

Great list Jared!

joel hunter said...

Great list, Jared. Any room on it for that controversial practice of blessed SILENCE?

Question: how can a church do #8 when the older women have been run off by the assault upon their eardrums?

Jared said...

I don't know. We have a LOT of old people at my loud church.
If a church lacks for old people, maybe it should become a fisher of elderly. :-)

Anonymous said...

Sounds pretty Catholic to me.

Lord's supper, serious theological thinking, Scripture.

When you really study the Catholic Mass, you find that most the texts involve the priest and the people essentially quoting Scripture at one another. Besides listening to three Scripture readings and a Psalm.

Just sayin'

So much of what I read on these blogs is followed by me scratching my head saying, "Uh...this is the Catholic Church they're aching for."

Jared said...

Uh . . . no it's not.
I promise.

Anonymous said...

What radical ideas. Is this New Emergent or something?