Innovation is creating something new. For example, when Konrad Zuse put together the Z1 in his parents living room in 1936 giving the world the first programmable computer he was innovating.
Discovery is finding something that is already there. In 985 when Eric the Red landed his boat on Greenland, he wasn’t innovating. He didn’t create Greenland. Eric hadn’t invented anything. He had discovered and named something that was already there.
When we talk about “new stuff” in church world (like new missional thinking, or emergent theology, or new organic ways of organizing ourselves, or new styles of worship, or putting drums on stage, or having a stage, etc…) it is important for us…okay, me – young leader with ego…to remember that we aren’t inventing. We are simply rediscovering and relabeling truths about God’s family.
Take the recent posts I’ve been throwing up on Activities Centric thinking of church vs. Lifestyle Centric thinking of church. This way of talking is new for me. It excites me because it is fresh and invigorating. It helps me make sense of the world around me. It helps me classify and organize feelings in my gut and thoughts in my brain. But its not new. There is no innovation going on here. For example…
“I hate, I despise your religious feasts; I cannot stand your assemblies. 22 Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them. Though you bring choice fellowship offerings, I will have no regard for them. Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps. But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream! Did you bring me sacrifices and offerings forty years in the desert, O house of Israel? You have lifted up the shrine of your king, the pedestal of your idols, the star of your god– which you made for yourselves. Therefore I will send you into exile beyond Damascus,” says the LORD, whose name is God Almighty.
Sounds like a “misisonal” lifestyle centric vs. activities centric debate to me. This whole conversation is not about inventing anything. It is simply discovery. And what I’ve been writing about is not even new discovery…more like personal discovery. I’ve simply stumbled upon some language that helps me make sense of stuff I see around me. Some of you I’m sure read it and think, “I don’t know what the big deal is. I’ve thought this way for years.”
Anywho…I share this because I’m going to continue on this activities centric vs. lifestyle centric train of thought for a while (I’ve got a lot more to work out) and I wanted us all to be on the same page.