List of Churches with Innovation Pastors

What may be emerging is a new role in the church: pastor of innovation. (Granted this may not become mainstream where every church would have one, since most churches have more pressing operational day-to-day needs.) I’ll do my part to keep this list updated. (Please do add to this list.)


How much of their job is pure innovation and experimentation? Would you like to know? Me too!

There are over 30+ definitions of innovation and over 6000+ definitions of leadership. Organizations, especially organized churches in the 21st century, need more innovation and more leadership, not less. What’s worked in the past is not working as well as it used to, so we as the Church capital-C must make room to develop new ways of doing things.

Peter Drucker has said, “Any time an organization fails to change at the rate of the world around it, that organization is doomed to failure.” and “innovation is change that creates a new level of performance” and “All organizations require one core competency: Innovation.

The chart to the right (from Leadership Network) illustrates how church innovations get adopted over time. As an experimenter, I’ve had very limited resources to experiment in developing innovations; I’m praying for more resources to do more. [disclosure: I do contract work with Leadership Network]

Rob Rynders makes a case for innovation in his denomination – Why The UMC Needs an Era of Innovation –

We need an intentional, grassroots, movement of innovators willing to put new ideas into action, fully realizing that many of those ideas will fail, but some will be successful. Even the failures will allow for immense learning, evaluation, further experimentation and adaption, ultimately leading to success. As successes and failures build, over time, we must apply those learnings from those models to other contexts and allow easy ways for others to learn, model, and adapt.

As mentioned in yesterday’s post, there are 4 levels of innovation, so not all innovation has to be risky and be revolutionary game-changers. Pastor Karl Vaters provides a helpful list for key questions to consider when preparing a church for change (and innovation) @ 10 Questions Every Innovative Small Church Pastor Needs to Ask.


8 responses to “List of Churches with Innovation Pastors”

  1. We actually have a Director of Innovation & Creativity whose primary role is to take each environment and make it better.

  2. @Bobby, good to hear of that – thanks for adding to the list!

  3. James Browning Avatar
    James Browning

    A little surprised that none of them (at first glance) are from Southern California

  4. James, thanks for adding a comment, and making a keen observation. Maybe staffing for innovation is different than having a culture of innovation? And, certainly, having both would be the best way to go all around.

  5. Nice list! Creativity and innovation should live within all ministry teams!

    Glad to see more ministries giving a nod to innovation formally with staffing.

  6. @James, keen observation. Southern Cal may have some reputation for innovation, but not yet codified in this form of staffing a position for it.

    @Kenny, yes, innovation should be an integral part of the entire church culture, _AND_ it becomes all the more realized when there is a staff person that lives/breathes waking up thinking about implementing innovation as a part of church life too.

related posts