Called to Lives of Meaning and Purpose

April & May

What do we mean by the term “innovation”? How can we explain to congregations what we mean by innovation?

Pre-Meeting Work

Please listen, read, and reflect before the Zoom meeting:  


Interview with Greg Jones, Faith and Leadership, Duke Divinity School

The same interview is posted here in two different file formats.


Greg Jones, Preserving Tradition and Leading Change

Floyd Thompkins and Byron Bland, “Every Church an Innovator”

Victoria Atkinson White: We create in community

Scripture reflection

Mark 2:1-12.

There are interesting issues of translation in the very first verse: is Jesus in a house, in his own home, or does the house symbolize the early house churches (where the risen Lord was felt to be “at home”)? The following questions play with the idea that innovation in congregations can be a little like taking the roof apart for the power of God to become manifest—highly effective, if a little unsettling. The second-to-last portion here marks another interesting issue for translators, the theme of ordinary people’s “rising” in Galilee after their encounters with Jesus. This theme becomes apparent for readers who heed the angel’s invitation at the end of Mark, to “Go to Galilee. There you will see him.”

The friends of the paralyzed man go to great lengths to bring him into the presence of Jesus. In doing so, they bring up issues of calling: the paralyzed man has a call to agency and freedom; the friends have an unstoppable call to assist him. Where are congregations experiencing a call to assist particular groups that they discern may be “paralyzed,” unable to answer God’s callings on account of societal neglect, misunderstanding, or marginalization because of youth or age or unjust discrimination related to race or immigration status? Who needs entry into Jesus’ presence?

The friends stage a remarkable intervention by digging through the roof of the home where Jesus is. What surprising innovations or improvisations are being called forth among the congregations to help people gain access to a more direct, liberating relationship with Christ?

What role does forgiveness play in this work?

Zoom meeting dates

April 30, 1:00 pm, 2:30 pm, 4:00 pm (CST)

May 1, 8:30 am, 10:00 am, 11:30 am (CST)

Discussion Questions

How does innovation relate to concepts and practices you are already familiar with?

How do your pastors and congregations talk about innovation or change, when they talk about it?

What language do they use for processes of making changes?

What do you want to know more about, with respect to innovation?

Additional Resources

Shannon Hopkins, Matryoshka Haus

Design Thinking

Kendra Creasy Dean – Princeton Theological Seminary, innovation lecture at Fuller Seminary; see also Ministry Incubators

See Faith and Leadership resources on: