Thanks to Meghan Hatcher for sharing this Great Idea – which is way more than a Great Idea: it’s sage advice with research and resources to back it up!

I can’t link you to her post, so here it is in its entirety:

Meghan writes:

‘I gave an Ignite presentation at a conference earlier this week — 5 minutes, 20 slides, 15 seconds per slide. The format was strict (read: stressful) and forced me to be extremely clear about the mission of the presentation for my particular audience of ministry leaders and the context.

Just like the Ignite format constrained and expanded what I shared, theological reflection plays a critical role in constraining and expanding how a faith community innovates. A ministry setting’s unique theological values and commitments should serve as a Spirit-filled litmus test for what kinds of ministry are developed, and what’s not.

In other words, what a community believes to be true about God, God’s world, and people should be the foundation and guide for any ministry event, activity, or program.

But too often, theological reflection is completely left out of the innovation process in favor of focusing solely on shiny ideas. This can lead to ministries that simply wave in the winds of the latest trends, instead of being firmly rooted in the good soil of theological convictions and the Church’s identity as the body of Christ.

Consider these questions to discern whether theological reflection is the foundation of your faith community’s current ministries.

  1. Can you think of a time when your theological convictions led your faith community to say yes — or no — to doing something in ministry? What was that experience like? 
  2. Picture how your faith community receives Holy Communion/Lord’s Supper/Eucharist. What is being communicated about God by what is said and done? What’s being communicated about people and creation? How are these theological values showing up in other areas of the faith community’s ministries? 
  3. When a ministry event, activity, or program is being planned, how often are theological values or commitments mentioned? If not very often, what could you do practically to change that? Example: In a planning meeting, identify what the faith community specifically wants people to experience about God through the ministry.

Meghan is the director of the Innovation Laboratory at CYMT. She holds degrees in journalism; sustainable development and applied sociology; and a Master of Divinity. Meghan has served diverse faith communities through pastoral leadership, youth ministry, new church development, community engagement, and ministry innovation.

To visit with Meghan about theological reflection in ministry, send her a message.

The Ministry Lab partners with Innovation Lab to facilitate both the Innovation Culture Index and Ministry Transformation Labs for member congregations. Contact Emily Meyer with questions and/or interest.