I suppose the idea of thinking outside the box is an idea that all of us have heard spoken about but I wonder how well we might be at it or even want to think about it. By definition, it will require us to see value in a different way of thinking or admitting that the way we are currently seeing things needs improvement. To move away from our default positions or standard ways of doing a task will first require the willingness to see value in challenging our current assumptions and then start the difficult and often uncomfortable work of searching for a better or perhaps more efficient way of achieving whatever it is we are trying to achieve.
This reality is part of the reason I enjoy talking with other ministers. I know I can get stuck in ruts or develop a mindset that doesn’t seek better ways to solve problems. I recently got the opportunity to visit with my son in law who serves as a Youth Minister in a congregation in another state. He is a generation behind me and is always helping me to see how to do much of the daily work of a minister in new ways. His awareness and appreciation for what can be accomplished through technology amazes me. Nearly every time I see him, I leave with ideas that he has shared with me that could make my ministry more effective and efficient. The catch….I will have to think outside the box to implement what he is suggesting.
An example of one of his ideas that has been effectively integrated into the life of the Itawamba Christian Church is online giving. In the midst of covid, he shared with me how online giving could help people to stay faithful to supporting their congregation in an efficient and effective way. Today, I am amazed at how many of the congregation use this approach to giving. You can see the weekly contributions made in person and online documented each week in our bulletin. This kind of outside the box thinking has proved to be worth it on many levels. If the leaders of the congregation hadn’t been open to this type of innovation, we might not have seen the congregation thrive financially in the midst of covid.
His last visit was no different. I am currently considering some ideas he shared with me that could also have a positive impact upon our congregation. But it all starts with having a willingness to at least consider that things could be done better. Yes, I know that the devil is in the details. What some might think is “better” may not actually be so. Not every new innovation is better. But many of the origins to practices we have done for so long that we don’t even think about it were at one time innovations.
Someone has famously said the last 7 words of a dying church are “we never did it that way before!” As our congregation continues to grow, new strategies will need to be employed to help us stay connected and healthy. I am happy to say that the leaders of the congregation aren’t afraid to think outside the box and at least consider new methods or new solutions to old problems and challenges. My encouragement to all of us is to remain open to innovation and please pray for our congregation’s leaders as they do precisely that, LEAD!