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Innovating Your Church Around What Never Changes

So, I (Reggie) grew up playing baseball, and I was a second baseman. My dad was my coach, and I remember one day he took me out to the baseball field and had a bucket of baseballs. He put me actually on second base and he made me practice over and over and over again, turning a double play. I’d have to catch on second and then pivot and throw to first. 

After a while, I got extremely tired of the process and said, “Dad, I know how to do this.” 

He said, “Nope, you don’t yet.” 

Then he made this statement, “How fast you turn determines if you make the play.”

And the more I think about that, the more I think about this organization, your organization, and organizations all around the country. There are times when you have to turn fast to determine whether or not you are going to make the play, and that means rethinking and re-evaluating what you do.

That’s why we wrote Think Orange 10 years ago. We wanted to invite leaders who work with kids and teenagers to actually rethink how they saw family ministry, but as we traded ideas and best practices everything kind of came down to five different principles. 

Leadership  –   What does it look like to align leaders around a comprehensive strategy? 

Messaging – What are the most important things for a kid or teenager to know? 

Parents – How do we re-engage parents into the strategy so they know how faith development affects their kid’s future? 

Community –  What does it look like to put a consistent leader in the life of a kid? 

Influence Service – How do we invite a generation to experience what it looks like to be the church? 

When we look at what has happened over the last 10 years, none of these values have changed. So as we innovate and reevaluate church it’s important to understand the difference between values that never change and the things in our organizations that do change. 

Let’s state it another way.
Values are timeless.

Innovations are temporary. 

Values are the things in your organization that will always exist, but your innovations, how you do ministry will change. As a leader, you have to clarify the difference between what is temporary and what is timeless. And sometimes we just need to be reminded that… 

Leadership will always be essential. 

A timeless message will always matter.

Parents will always have more influence in the everyday life of theirs kids. 

Community will always be a core need of every person. 

Service will always have the potential to inspire faith and help someone understand their significance.  

These values are timeless. 

How you innovate around these values may change according to the life-stage and phase of kids or teenagers, when there is a crisis, or as culture shifts, but how you change should actually highlight the things that never change. 

However, if you refuse to change, you may actually risk the ability to be relevant and hand what is timeless to a generation because you didn’t connect it to their everyday life. 

That’s why churches go out of business. It’s not because things change, but because they didn’t change. They didn’t adapt to highlight what is timeless. Because they thought they could transition gradually, they actually lost the ability to influence the culture of their community or congregation. 

They didn’t make the double play. 

If we are going to win as leaders, we’ve got to pivot not just to hit second base, but to throw to first. We have to understand what it looks like to reevaluate because a lot is at stake. If we don’t make a change, we lose influence with a generation. 

So let’s change what needs to be changed for the sake of what never changes. 


Listen to The Think Orange Podcast, EP089: Re-Evaluating Church with Reggie Joiner for more!

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