“…if you’re willing to risk everything, then there’s nothing God can’t do in you and through you.” -Mark Batterson, Author, In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day, Pastor, National Community Church, Washington D.C.
In his book, Purple Cow, author Seth Godin argues that “playing it safe is risky.” When leaders focus on running a business rather than serving a people group, nothing truly remarkable happens. It is only when we take bold risks that we can truly experience wild success (or learn a valuable lesson).
Innovating a remarkable product, Godin claims, is the ultimate marketing strategy in industrialized nations. Where ad campaigns have ruled in years past, the best marketing in this post-consumer age (where people already have what they think they need) is offering a truly remarkable product. Thus constant and ‘risky’ innovation is key.
God is the ultimate creator and innovator. But all too often, the church plays it safe. Scripture shows time and again that when God is behind the plans, men will succeed even (and especially) when the odds are stacked against them. These risky moments make for the best stories, greatest blessings, and give great glory to God. But instead of taking God’s big risks, we usually roll out the established ministry offerings in the same formats—because they work and God uses them. But it begs the question:
Could God have a bigger plan for your church?
What if your church offered something different? Something no one else did? Would you reach a new people group? Could God use your church in a remarkable, new or helpful way? You will only know if you step out in faith.
Start any plans by asking God to grant you a vision, and allow Him to dream big or start small…
A Vision for God’s Big Plan
“Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.” Proverbs 16:3
Use these items and questions from Godin’s Purple Cow as brainstorming tools. Read scripture, seek wise counsel, collaborate with your team, and pray in expectation for God’s big plan…
- Could you renovate an existing ministry to be more effective? Could you start a new ministry?
- What underserved people group could you reach? What problem could your church solve in a remarkable way? Can your church focus on a specific interest, hobby or skill?
- What people are (or would be) most passionate about your ministry? When/where are they most likely to listen to you? How can you gain permission to contact them on a regular basis? How can you equip them to spread the word easily to their circle of friends? Consider a Facebook page, Evite or printed invitations, or another tool that speaks to your target audience.
- What does your dream visitor look like? How can you serve their needs or interests?
- Could you transform your messages, features, techniques, service, or tangibles to be truly remarkable?
- Does your ministry have a simple tagline that makes your identity easy to share?
- How might you apply these adjectives to transform your ministry?
Useful, Practical, Relevant, Simple, Convenient, Easy, Free, Best, Assurance, Complex, Challenging, Investment, Specialized, Specific, Personalized, Custom made, Personality, Newsworthy, Conversational, Interesting, Remarkable, Edgy, Unheard-of, Outrageous, Extreme, Distinctive, Beautiful, Green, Kid-friendly, Hospitality, Compassionate
How have you followed God’s plans for innovative ministry? What happened?