Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Authentic Innovation

I have been thinking about authenticity recently. It started when I asked God why he doesn't move more powerfully in us at times. As I thought about this, I realized that many times when God moves I immediately focus in on this new exciting thing that is happening and take it over. I am convinced that I can run it better than God!

You know what I mean. How many times does God do something special just to have us come in and build this movement a building, a program, an 8 week curriculum, etc. We don't know what else to do with the God of the Universe on the move. To let Him do His thing would be to loose control of our lives completely - and that is the idea isn't it?

I think there is a powerful application to innovation. God is the ultimate innovator. He is doing incredible new things that are transforming lives and blessing communities. His ways are inherently innovative - we understand only a small piece of who God is and how He thinks. Imagine the endless stream of new ideas that God is capable of revealing in our world.

With this in mind, innovation in mission is about seeking God. If God is the source of our ideas, then those concepts will have an authenticity that we could not develop on our own. Let me give you an example. In the Old Testament, God innovated to create a place for His people Israel. He brought them out of captivity and gave them a land. In that land there was no king - simply a judge that represented God's holy rule. What an innovative model for government! To think that the God of the universe would guide and lead an earthly people.

As this played out, God showed himself faithful and protected Israel. After one such event, the people decided that they needed control. They wanted a king. Samuel tried to convince them that the authentic rule of God was more beneficial than a human king, but they had made up their minds.

How many times do we take a holy idea - authentic to its core - and destroy it as we seek to gain control and power? How many innovations has this destroyed? Who knows, but we do know that God is an endless fount of blessing and He is willing to bless us with many more ideas. IF we will not seek to control and own them.

So what does authentic innovation look like? It is God moving through us to bring about a new idea that will bless many. We participate and God guides it to fruition. Pray that God will move in that way in your ministry today!

2 comments:

danielredbeard said...

Jon - I drink deeply from the well that you wrote this from. Thank you for being purposed to remind me and others about authenticity. I think at the core, authenticity is why I (and my wife) are drawn to house church so much. There are no sermon, no buildings, no five-point cleverly-branded six-week series'. It's just the Body Of The Christ gathering weekly, sharing a meal, diving into His Word, taking communion, and praying for and with each other. Then we live simply, literally loving our literal neighbors as often as we can.

I was thinking over the weekend about how to be intentionally missional in a neighborhood that for lack of a better word would be considered affluent - or at least not for needing much, entrenched in a consumerism lifestyle. I prayed and asked the Holy Spirit to guide me as I tried to figure it out. I was doing yard work while having this conversation, and when my chores moved to my front yard a neighbor 3 doors down, whom I'd never met before, walked my way.

She is an older (60s) woman, a widow who keeps to herself. I thought she was passing by, but instead she approached me, introduced herself, and then asked if I would trim and edge her sidewalk, like I was doing to mine. What a divine appointment!!! "Gladly," I replied, and struck up a simple, ordinary, God-love-inspired conversation.

That's authenticity: Just making yourself available to be purposed by God to love not-yet-Jesus-followers in very ordinary ways.

Thank you for your blog post! Great stuff!

dan c.

Jon and Mindy Hirst said...

Daniel,

Thanks for sharing those thoughts. You are right - when we make ourselves available and allow God to do things on His terms, our efforts have an authenticity that we could never manufacture.

The big question that I want to throw out there is this: What kinds of innovation might God be ready to unlease on the world if we were willing to let Him lead instead of us?