Innovation requires a couple of things: First, we must grasp onto this concept of joining God in His mission. Henry Blackaby likes to say, “God’s activity is far greater than anything we could aspire to do for him.” (7 Truths from Experiencing God p. 1) Let this one sink in a little bit. For some of you, it may be painful. For some it may be a relief. So a first step in being truly innovative is listening to the Spirit of God and looking for where He’s moving. It requires our innovation antennas to be up and seeking God moments leading to breakthroughs in our ministries.
Another step in being truly innovative is walking with God and being men and women of integrity. Genesis 6:9 teaches us Noah “was a righteous man, blameless in his time; Noah walked with God.” What did Noah do? Only one of the most innovative and unprecedented acts in all of human history. He built an ark to protect himself, his family, and many animals from a flood before it had ever rained—this is innovative (doing something new) and at the time, was strange.
Let me state something up front I’ve said as I’ve traveled and spoke on this subject all over: There is no shortcut to innovation: you can not bypass prayer. Stacy Spencer (senior pastor of New Direction Christian Church in Memphis, TN), in his keynote address at the Leadership Network Innovation 3 Conference in 2009 said, “The main thing is to be pure and praying.” He was talking about his church and how he leads them. I’ve stated, “You can not bypass prayer,” because everywhere I go, a church leader will ask, “How can we be an innovative church?” When I talk about prayer, they say, “Yeah. Yeah. What’s next?” To me, prayer is not how you just open the meeting—it’s the meeting.