8 Reasons Why Innovation in the Church Matters Now More Than Ever

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1. Participation in the divine

To innovate is to participate in the creative act and process of God. All creativity, all innovation, has God at its source. At the very beginning in the garden, Adam was asked to tend to the garden. It was not a consequence of the fall, but part of the very nature of who man was created to be. And now, same it was then, we participate in the creative act of God in bringing new life into being. In our ordering, caring for, stewarding, and innovating, we are participating with God who is Creator. And, in the act of creating as a parish, team, or group, we are participating in the creative act of the Triune God.

2. Some things are not working

Judging by our numbers, what we are doing as a Church is not working. We do lots of things, but are they effective? For every one person who enters the Church, six leave. What are the new methods and innovative approaches that will retain Catholics and draw more into our Church?

3. Called to action

Pope St. John Paul II called for the New Evangelization: new in ardor, new in expression, and new in method. Yet, our approaches and methods have grown stale and have not substantially changed over the past 40 years.

4. Best of both worlds

We can take the best from the world of ministry and from the world of entrepreneurship. We as a Church, especially in areas of ministry, need to learn how to try, to fail, to iterate, and to try again. We could benefit from empathic listening and design thinking. Pope Francis talks about “accompaniment” and going to the peripheries. In business, this concept is knowing your customer and going to new markets.

5. Renew, not renovate

Innovation is part of the Catholic Church!  We preserved and built Western Civilization. Hospitals, music notation, great art, university systems, and caring for the poor, just to name a few, started with those who have gone before us. It is time to do it again: to innovate, to set the standard for the world, and to renew the splendor of our Catholic faith. The world needs us. And needs us urgently.

6. It’s about unity

Innovation can mobilize, galvanize, and bring us together as a Church at the service of the New Evangelization. More than “invention,” innovation has a sense of “execution” which requires collaboration, cooperation, and moving in a common direction. It moves the Church proactively outward.

7. Not a secret to be kept

We don’t grow in our faith by keeping it to ourselves. We grow by giving our faith away. This requires our messaging and approaches to reach audiences who are not currently listening. And it is by innovating to bring people to Christ and His Church that our faith grows, our dependence on our Lord grows, our trust grows, and our love expands. As such, there is an innovator in all of us, and the Saints of tomorrow will be the Catholic innovators of today.

8. Opportunity knocks

To be inspired! Join 12 Finalists at the first ever OSV Innovation Challenge Demo Day. These pioneers started with a “napkin idea” and are now ready to tell the world for their chance to win one of three $100,000 to advance their missions! When you register for your free virtual pass to Demo Day on Saturday, August 29, 2020, you can be inspired by some of the brightest and most innovative ideas in the Church today!

This post was written by Jason Shanks, President of the OSV Institute.

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