Your vision is your ability to see clearly. When you have an eye test the accuracy of your vision is assessed. It is factual: There is a spectrum spanning from perfection to correction.
But we also use the word embedded in imagination – your vision of a future situation can be what you hope it will be, what could become.
The dictionary defines ‘vision’ as seeing something that other people cannot see.
What is your vision of church?
What can you accurately assess now? What do you hope for and can others see that future too?
Church has been reflecting and reforming all along. I wonder what is next?
Romans 8:6 says ‘The mind governed by the Spirit is life’. What are we speaking life to? Where are we declaring possibility? Where are we noticing potential?
At the beginning of Romans 5 we read the following chain of consequence ‘Suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope’. It has always intrigued me that hope is the pinnacle. When standing on solid ground, hope can feel flimsy and a little foolish. Hope comes into its own when it is the rope you’re climbing up out of the pit, when it is the thread you are following to lead you out of the dark.
As Christians we try to see the reality of this world and also of the next. We ‘fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen’ and we use that vision as the north star to set our course.
We are a creative people. Creativity and ingenuity thrum in us as the breath of God. In their image – the image of creator God – we are made. Innovation is happening all over the church, from flower co-operatives to youth conferences to pilgrimages. Where ever there is personal passion there is energy and wherever there is energy there is hope.
Perhaps it is time to look for the pockets of personal motivation in your community. What are people excited about? What do they get up at 6am for? What do they prioritise? Is it golf, good food, embroidery, singing, dog walking? Sometimes we have to go with the flow, follow the cloud, move to where the energy is. Join in.
Innovation might already be part of your culture, but if it is not it can be hard to start thinking in new ways. What does a culture of innovation look like, feel like?
One thing for sure is that we can get better at trying. Try, reflect, try again. Ideas don’t fail, they flex. And in all that flexing we need to have some fun. Lorenzo Lebrija, Founder of TryTank (Experimental Laboratory for church growth and innovation) says if you are not having fun, STOP and try something different.
We have created a free resource for all Culture of Innovation Learning Module Film. The five sessions can be worked through at home with a small group or you could pull people together for a fun and interactive day conference.
We have also created a lively community to discuss innovation- please do join our Facebook Group.
Often a small amount of money at the right time can make a huge difference. These two funds can help with small grants towards supporting innovation in church practice.
Small Grants Fund
The Small Grants Fund provides grants for short-term project funding of between three and twelve months. There are two ‘calls’ for applications this year: February–June and September–November. Criteria for funded projects include ‘increasing experimentation with innovation in church practices’. Max grant size: £1000.
‘Novum’ literally means ‘a new thing’ (Isaiah 43). Novum Trust supports new work with the provision of small short-term grants to initiate projects in Christian action and research which cannot readily be financed from other sources. For general guidance, grants are typically between £500 and £2,500.
Innovation and Events Manager for the Church of Scotland