Is It Possible to Remain Relevant and Innovate Without Losing Our Religion?
Posted by· April 10, 2018
Innovation is not a word that we readily associate with the Christian church or the faith-based sector. We’re seen as traditionalists, outdated, resisters of change.
That perception is only partly true. Our Christian story requires both a firm ‘yes’ and a firm ‘no’ to any move for change depending on the context. However, it only takes a cursory glance at the brokenness of the world to recognise there is plenty of scope for Christians to be exploring new possibilities.
It’s time for the Christian faith-based sector to regain a humble confidence in our public engagement. It’s time for the sector to play a significant leadership role in creating positive change in society through social innovation. Is that really a possibility in our current culture?
As a society we face increasing complexity as we seek to deal with pressing social problems; housing affordability, social isolation, rising inequality or domestic and family violence to name just a few.
Faith-Based Organisations have a rich history and heritage of responding to these issues. Yet in the present context, where the pace of change is increasing, the inertia of our institutions and structures makes it difficult for us to keep pace. We often find ourselves lagging – chasing the public conversation rather than leading it.
Add to this the erosion of our society’s connection with the Christian story, the widespread distrust of the church and the challenges of funding and red tape. It’s no surprise that many believers feel overwhelmed by the layers of complexity we face when all we want to do is get on with serving people!
It’s easy for us to shrink back in the face of this complexity. There can be a temptation to lose our religion, to let our story slip into the background. And some have.
But losing our religion is not the answer.
It is possible to be deeply engaged in society without drifting from the Christian story that guides us. It may be difficult, but it is possible.
Rather than pushing our story to the sidelines, we need to go deeper into our story. We need to recapture the good that our story offers for all of life. Our story holds enormous power to transform both lives and structures for the common good.
When we step into society, we need to stop complaining and start creating.
It’s time to remove the blinders, time to move beyond our walls. It’s time to recapture the Christian imagination, to rediscover God’s intention and design for creation. It’s time to focus on possibilities rather than problems.
And that means, it’s time to innovate.
Seed has been developing, testing and refining an approach to innovation and design that is distinctive to the Christian story. Seed’s approach draws deeply from other disciplines including Human Centred Design, Business Modelling and Asset Based Community Development but reframes them into a Kingdom Centred approach. Seed’s highly skilled team draws together capabilities from the fields of innovation, theology, design, business, and social change.
It’s innovation that shows the world what Jesus is like.
You can read more about Seed’s approach here.
If you’re a Faith-Based Organisation who is finding it challenging in this ever-changing world, Seed’s design and innovation frameworks might be the life boat you’ve been searching for.
The way of Jesus is still relevant. It always will be. God doesn’t change, but as these seismic shifts in our culture take place around us, we must learn to once again create things out of our story that disrupts the brokenness of our world.
We see good things happening in our sector, but we imagine a time, in the not too distant future, when these are not one-off stories, rather the faith-based sector will be at the forefront of social innovation – where it should be.
John Beckett is the CEO and Founder of Seed. John developed Seed as a vehicle to help give people the agency, support, resources, networks and confidence to create a new chapter to their stories.