Thursday, May 06, 2010

Innovation in the Global South

You know how you hate to be told the ending of a movie? It really ruins the whole experience. We want to enjoy the whole experience and see where the plot takes us.

But in life, we are not so adventurous. In fact we spend most of our time reducing risk, playing it safe and going down roads we have been down before. It feels safe and comfortable and so we stay on those well-worn paths.

Recently I have been thinking about those paths. I was in Africa last fall and I saw a path wind its way through the red dirt and green foliage and I got to thinking. The innovations that the believers in the Global South will produce won't come from any area we in the West are expecting or have any particular interest in. They will be vastly different.

But they have been slow in coming and I think I know a reason why. When Western ministry organizations come to the Global South to do ministry, they tend to invest in things they care about and believe are innovative. And as we know . . . where the money flows the programs and activity happen.

So we know what is down the asphalt roads that we have built around the world and we inadvertently rebuild those same programs and activities everywhere those concrete roads lead. But what innovations are waiting for the global Church down the red dirt pathways of the world? I have a feeling that we will see some amazing ideas and innovations appear along these paths and they will change the way Kingdom ministry is done around the globe.

So if you work in a Western ministry and you are about to role out what you believe is an innovative solution in a place far away . . . STOP. Ask yourself how you might tap into the innovative streams in the country you want to bless. See where God is leading their hearts and minds before you pull out your wallet or your whiteboard.

You may find that the surprise ending to God's Kingdom work is much more exciting than the ending you had planned!


JC said...

very cool post and something I've been thinking about alot as I move into Central Asia and the culture of the fiber arts on the other side of the world. I'd actually like to chat with you about that sometime if you get the chance. I'll message you on FB.

Jon and Mindy Hirst said...

I would love to chat JC, look forward to your Facebook message.

Nate said...

A great point, Jon. I am certain that our African Brothers and Sisters as well as people in developing nations everywhere don't get the attention and open ear that would result in awesome transformation in their own cultural context. We in the West need to think outside our cultural box to see the potential.