Where does innovation most often occur?  Innovation most often happens on the edges and because of that we need to stay close to those on the cutting edge.

Our NewThing Networks has gone from one network to three networks and doubled the number of churches  in the last year.  And because of our investment in resources and staff we get lots of kudos for thinking beyond Chicago.  At Community we get lots of credit for being “Kingdom minded” because of our commitment to church planting.  While everyone likes to hear a compliment, I think we need to be in relationship with new churches.  Even though Community is probably five times bigger than any of the new churches inNewThing I’m convinced that we need to be connected to these new church plants.  I also believe that I need to have relationships with other leaders who are doing new ministry on the edges.

Why?  You see, there is a reciprocity that comes with being involved in church planting.  There is a huge benefit that comes back to me by being connected to church planters.  Church planters are the entrepreneurs in God’s Kingdom and they are the one’s who if they don’t make it, they don’t eat.  Leaders who are involved in the task of planting new churches are risking the most for the mission of Jesus.  And because they are involved in starting something new and risking it all in a win or lose proposition it is the most likely place for innovation to occur.  I’m convinced that most innovation happens on the edges and if we want Community to continue to be innovative we need to stay close to church planting.

When I was in Kansas City a month ago visiting Troy McMahon who is launching Restore Christian Church I came back with and great idea about “repay cards” which we are already using.  We are going to start our ninth location in Plainfield on March 2nd and we expect that it will be our largest launch to date.  Know where our CCC-Plainfield team was two weeks ago looking for new ideas?  They were visiting 242 Community; one of our new church plants in our NewThing Network.  Our team came back with a couple pages of ideas and two or three things that they are going to implement immediately.  At the beginning of the month we brought all our NewThing Network churches together in Boston and in the middle of having a great time I also left with a page full of ideas that came from these new churches.

Innovation most often happens on the edges.  What are you doing to stay close to the edge?