In church we’re taught about the power of the Holy Spirit when we share a message. In seminary we’re taught about the importance of theological integrity when we share a message. What we’re not taught, and what we desperately need, is a deeper understanding of the influence of our communication – our language, symbols, and signs – when we share a message.
How do churches grow? The best way to know this question may be to look very closely at churches that are growing the best. Learning from other good ideas, or what’s called “Small I” innovation, can help. But in my annual list of the top 25 fastest growing churches, most don’t just practice Small I – they pursue Big I innovation, which is something totally different.
When I arrived at St. Andrew, I felt that the weekly email newsletter was not being leveraged to the best of its ability. So we shut it down, then relaunched a new one a few weeks later. Performance of the new design is through the roof. Here’s what we did, why it’s working, and some of the philosophy behind it.
There’s a spectrum of innovation that happens when we think creatively about our problems. Most of us aim for small innovations all the time. A better process for retaining guests. A more efficient way to track paper costs. A social media strategy that results in higher engagement. And so on. But while we spend most of our energy on Small I, it’s Big I that creates real growth. Further, Small I rarely leads to Big I. Big I is something else entirely.Further, Small I rarely leads to Big I. Big I is something else entirely.