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Why Should Faith Communities Practice Innovative Leadership? Part 1

by Dr. Tony Blair, President

Surprisingly, Christian churches, parachurch organizations, and other ministries are notorious for being resistant to change. Particularly, they resist innovative leadership practices that may revitalize and renew the work they do. But, the opposite should hold true.

This post and the several that follow contend that Christian faith communities should be more innovative than most groups in their organization, and in their understanding and applications of leadership.

Why should faith communities be innovative in their leadership practices?

Innovation stems from both practical and theoretical foundations.

Let's talk about the practical reasons first: Many faith communities struggle, particularly in a weak economy, because they rely on the donations of their members and supporters. Because "necessity is the mother of invention," faith communities can invent out of their financial necessity.

For instance, quite a few small churches are now exploring bi-vocational ministry simply because they cannot pay a full-time pastor. As a bi-vocational pastor for decades now...out of choice, not necessity... I applaud this trend, because I see the additional benefits possible in this style of leadership. As congregations adopt an innovative leadership model out of necessity, they may find that the benefits far exceed the amount of savings on a full-time salary expense.

By better embracing the Protestant doctrine of the priesthood of all believers congregations could quit outsourcing their ministry to a paid clergy. The result would be a new vitality, energy, and creativity that has laid dormant for too long.

Be encouraged, dear friends. External factors that force our hand don't need to represent decline, much less disaster. By embracing the innovations that these factors bring we are invited to find the good that's gone unrealized.

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