June 2022 Resource
The Innovative Church: How Leaders and their Congregations can Adapt in an Ever-Changing World
Baker Academic, Grand Rapids, MI
Book Review By:
Premise of the book:
Leaders and congregations can adapt and remain relevant by acquiring the necessary listening and hospitality skills to discern community needs/opportunities, which lead to creative ways to minister to persons in and outside the church in rapid and on-going change.
What this book does:
The Innovative Church is an excellent resource for clergy and laity who desire to be in ministry in a rapidly changing environment. The author introduces church leaders to listening skills to assist with properly hearing the narrative of their neighbors. The goal of Christian innovation is to invite people into a new story, a communal story, and a hopeful story. Further, he defines hospitality as, extending the privileges of community to people who do not have the standing in the community to expect it; it is treating outsiders like insiders. (p. 86) Also, he encourages churches to innovate and experiment with developing new ministries. Some chapters conclude with related biblical narratives and texts.
How the church is Calibrated for a World That No Longer Exists
The Meaning of Christian Innovation
Leadership Begins with Listening
Making Spiritual Sense
Reinvented Practices as Shared Stories of Hope
A Process for Innovation
Organizing for Innovation
The Next Faithful Step
Recalibrating Church for the Smartphone Generation
Appendix: Systematic Listening
What are some important insights:
This resource has numerous useful insights for ministry today. Innovative organization characteristics: identity-creating purpose, communally shared values, diversity-rich collaboration, experiment-driven learning, and integrative decision-making. The listening skills and components shared are very insightful and informative when leaders attempt to hear and understand the stories of their neighbors and community.
Possibilities as a resource for churches:
The Innovative Church is a great resource for denominational leaders, clergy, and laity, who want to lead the church forward amid an on-going changing environment.
The Rev. Melvin Amerson is a member of the Texas Annual Conference and serves as a Resource Specialist and Area Representative at TMF. His experience and passion lie in encouraging and developing generous, faithful leaders and congregations.
Amerson is the author of Celebrating the Offering, Fruit for Celebrating the Offering, and Stewardship in African American Churches: A New Paradigm, as well as several articles covering topics from generosity, leadership, and visioning. He served as a board member of the Ecumenical Stewardship Center until it was dissolved in 2021 and is currently serving on the Texas Annual Conference Church Leadership Team. He is a nationally recognized generosity consultant known for his engaging presentations. Beyond strengthening congregational leaders, one of his favorite ways to use his skills is to empower Wesley Foundation staff to effectively fund their college ministries.
Melvin obtained a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Texas A&M University in Corpus Christi, an M.Div degree concentrating in Christian education from Gammon Theological Seminary in Atlanta, Georgia, an Executive Leadership certificate from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, and a certificate in Professional Fundraising from Boston University. Recently, he completed a fundraising certificate with the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.