Innovation is a buzz word making its way into the world of religion and congregational life. At the heart of the word innovate is the concept of renewal. Innovate’s root word is innovaré, which means to reform, to change, to make new. All things can be made new and reformed. In fact, this spirit of renewal is the cornerstone of most faith traditions. But like any sector, congregational and faith life is susceptible to becoming resistant to renewal and change. In our book Divergent Church: The Bright Promise of Alternative Faith Communities, Tim Shapiro and I maintain that the principles of innovation are just as applicable to congregational life as they are to the business world.
Communal religious experiences, or congregating, are foundational elements in human experience. These experiences are comprised of time honored traditions that signify spiritual home for adherents. However, without the discipline of newness, or innovation, patterns and practices that used to be life-giving disengage from purpose. Ultimately, the tapestry unwinds. New threads creating new textures need to appear.
Divergent Church tells the stories of alternative/new/innovative faith communities, but within the frame of practices that grounds the work in the past, present and future. The book will argue that alternative faith communities are not just a passing, contemporary concern, but creative expressions of universal practices.
The typical reader will choose to read this book to learn about what life is like inside alternative faith communities so that he or she might critically and effectively adapt some of the lessons to his or her context. If you’re curious about how others are renewing and adapting congregational life to their own contexts, contact the Center for Congregations or pick up a copy of Divergent Church.
If you would like the book, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. As long as limited quantities are available, I will send it to you. Include your name, your congregation, and your address in the email.