Carlos Whittaker pointed out this article by blog warrior Ben Arment. Arment points out that the churches that make the lists that are the envy of every other church in America are the usual suspects of current Pop Church Culture that focuses on glam and glitz and ignores ministry in the trenches.
It cracks me up when I see a blog or a magazine list "the most innovative churches" in America. The list reads like a high school yearbook where the same homecoming king gets crowned every year because he looks like a Ken doll and stars on the football team.
Somehow, we've changed the meaning of innovation to popularity. We're not measuring innovation as much as we're rewarding impression. The same mondo churches win every year because they've erected something close to Space Mountain in their children's wing.
Listen, your church doesn't need to be large to be innovative. If you've got zero funds and limited resources, out-of-the-box thinking belongs to you. If you've got a small church, creativity is your playground. So take heart, innovation is not as exclusive as you think it is.
For a decade I worked with volunteers and staff that had to make church happen in one school on Sunday and another school during the week. Air conditioning went down, teachers launched political attacks ambushes against us, hurricanes forced us out of school owned buildings and have church in alternate locations with just a few hours notice. Youth group and ladies' bible studies happened in other schools, church fellowship halls, coffee shops, craft stores, and living rooms. The children's ministry and sound systems lived on trucks and we set up and tore down with skeleton crews in record time. Observers heads would spin at the way it was unloaded and re-loaded week in and week out.
Making all this happen is innovation. This forced the church to interact in the community and allowed missionaries to be sent into the field. I was privileged to work with a group that knows how to operate armed with a Bible in one hand and duct tape in the other.
The first shall be last and the last shall be first.