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Innovation and a Culture of Trust

Being a creative leader means ensuring that everyone in the organization is playing to their creative strengths and feels that their contribution is valued as part of the overall performance of the organization. ~ Ken Robinson, Out of Our Minds: Learning to be Creative

In a trust-laden culture, new ideas and innovations can be shaped, pushed back on, clarified, questioned, and reworked to be made even better, but only if the originator of the idea feels safe and affirmed in who they are and their place in the organization. Churches with a culture of trust tend to encourage intra-preneurship, creating an entrepreneurial culture inside the organization, launching new ideas and ministries within the parameters of the vision and values. That means the church has to give some space for trying things that may or may not succeed or pay off in the typical ways.  For instance, a vital ministry for special needs children was developed in our family ministries area simply because some key volunteers had personal experience with the need and were given permission to explore what it could look like, eventually turning into a successful ministry called BridgeBuilders. In some ways, BridgeBuilders led to another initiative and an example of intrapreneurship.  One of our staff had been a Christian kid growing up, a “good girl,” active and well-liked. In high school, Harmony contracted a viral disease and ended up having nearly twenty surgeries to remove tumors in her neck, missing over two-hundred days of school. At one point, the nerves in her face stopped working correctly and she found herself slurring her words, drooling in a stroke-like condition. Imagine your impressionable high school years and the unique cruelty of school kids. Because she missed so much school, she was put in what was called the “slow classes” back then. During that experience, she felt as though God whispered to her, “Don’t forget this time.” Harmony eventually recovered, but years later what she wanted to do at our church was throw a free party for adults with special needs, particularly a prom, which is a serious event for high school kids in America: a big, final dance when they graduate. This party would be designed especially for special needs adults who more-than-likely were never invited to a prom. She mobilized hundreds of volunteers and created the first one that drew over eight-hundred special needs adults [see video below from 2008! ]. We repeated it for several years. There were calculated risks with the prom, including significant safety issues, and the potential of being a mistake in terms of resources and return. It wasn’t. Within a culture of trust, intrapreneurship can yield surprising results and release leaders into substantial ministries.

Question of the Day: How are you encouraging intrapreneurship in your church or ministry?

DAVE WORKMAN | Elemental Churches


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