INNOVATION – the action or process of innovating. “innovation is crucial to the continuing success of any organization” “Innovation is the creation, development and implementation of a new product, process or service, with the aim of improving efficiency, effectiveness or competitive advantage.”
The last year-and-a-half have tested all of us, and in ways that most of us would never have imagined. Some have focused on the challenges – others on the opportunities the challenges have provided. From these challenges/opportunities many have embraced innovative ways of being church. To paraphrase Alan Hirsch, we have learned to play chess without the Queen. His observation is that the pandemic has exposed a growing edge for the Church at the dawn of the 21st century, at least, as he observes “church” as practiced by most of the Western world. Hirsch notes how many of us have become so centered around the acts of worship, and the spaces we worship in, that we are often failing to actually know our neighbors; to see and to hear those outside our places of worship, to know their hopes and their hurts. How has the pandemic strengthened your church’s relationship with the community where your facilities are located? What hurts and hopes have you discovered among your neighbors that you were previously unaware of? How are you cultivating partnerships in your neighborhood, inviting neighbors to join you in serving one another?
I have to admit that I was caught off guard recently by a piece of NC history that celebrates innovation and names its historical significance. When you think of the county in NC where motorized school buses first appeared, which counties come to mind? Wake? Mecklenburg? Guilford? How about… Pamlico? As you can see, the State of North Carolina wanted to be sure to note and mark this for future generations. Pamlico is the first county in our state to utilize this mode of transporting students to and from their respective schools. The erected marker stands for all to see in the heart of Oriental. I thought it noteworthy enough to circle the block for a second gander, and a requisite photo.
This causes me to ask: In 100 years what marks will be left by our own innovation in our communities? What new forms of serving neighbors are taking root where you live and work that might merit a marker being erected in 2121? Serving others with the love of Jesus will always carry seeds of innovation. Jesus demonstrates this to us in the washing of his disciples’ feet. First century Jewish law forbade a rabbi from demanding that his disciples wash his feet. However, it did not forbid a rabbi from washing the feet of his disciples. Jesus innovated and did just that. In doing so, he points us to The Way of discipleship. “The one who would be greatest among you must become last, and servant of all.” (Matthew 20)
May we serve our communities and each other in such caring and innovative ways that in a hundred years a marker can be erected to the glory of God, and our legacy be one serving like Jesus. Serving like Jesus will always be innovative.
Still In ONE Peace,
Jon (the Methodist)
If you would like to view past editions of How Sweet the Sound, follow this link: https://sounddistrictnc.org/category/from-the-ds/