8 Inhibitors of Innovation

Many things can distract church planters from being innovative; here are the eight biggest culprits.

One of the reasons church planting is such a powerful tool for the mission of the Gospel is because it allows leaders to overcome challenges through innovation. As churches grow larger and more committed to systems, however, innovation can be lost.

So based on both my experience and a article from the Harvard Business Review, I want to expose these eight inhibitors of innovation.

Inhibitor #1: Focused on the short-term results.

Often church planters get funding from groups that want “quick” and “quantifiable” results. Resist the urge to sacrifice long-term missional purpose for the short term goal.

Inhibitor #2: Afraid of cannibalizing the sending church.

Create partnerships with church leaders that have a history of sending people without reserve. Leaders who make people “off-limits” lack the innovative thinking needed to prosper the Kingdom.

Inhibitor #3: Devoted too many resources to today.

It is easy for church planters to get consumed with the tyranny of the urgent. Force yourself to make time and set aside resources for new ventures.

Inhibitor #4: Passed it on to someone else.

There are unique needs in each community that can’t be left to someone else. Using your unique gifts and talents, look for ways to engage pressing needs with new ideas.

Inhibitor #5: Constrained by efficiency and excellence.

Efficiency and excellence are the enemies of innovation. Ministry is always messy and if you wait until everything is “perfect” and you have everything you “need” you will never take action.

Inhibitor #6: Coached by leaders not trained to be innovative thinkers.

Find a church planting coach who is capable of fostering innovation and not simply helping you imitate the success of others.

Inhibitor #7: Paralyzed by flaws and fears.

New ideas are full of flaws and the only way to work out the kinks is to discover the power and potential of an idea, move forward, and take risk.

Inhibitor #8: Controlled by systems that don’t reward innovation.

Avoid denominations, churches, and leaders who are afraid of letting go of their systems or want to make clone-ministries and embrace those who reward new ideas.

Joe Miller
Dr. J.R. Miller is a church planter currently living in San Diego, California with his wife and three sons. He is an author and avid blogger.