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October 11, 2018

the current (10/11/18)

By James J. Kang (IG@calpacinnovation), Director of Communications and Innovation

Imagine that it is Christmas 2028 and one of our local churches is celebrating something special in their Sunday worship service.  The birth of the baby Jesus?  Well, of course.  But, in addition, this church is recognizing the winner of their annual $10,000 Christmas award for an initiative that can successfully eliminate infant homelessness (that is, homelessness in the first 12 months of life) in their city – a modern day effort to provide at least a manger, if not an inn, to babies in need.  How did they do it?  They started by forming a partnership with government, business, and other organizational leaders, all who were members of the church.

What We Know: A farfetched idea?  Even in 2018, hardly.  Today, as people experience a spiritual dissonance of being able to both get a ride or a place to stay on demand at the tap of their mobile device while at the same time receiving news of families having to leave their home and walk for miles away from violence, there is a growing question inside of them: surely there must be something I can do that may not be neither joining a march or signing a petition nor handing out bibles or religious material, but somewhere in between.

What We Wish: This experience of spiritual dissonance and a desire for social and personal transformation is the point at which innovation in ministry can be key.  Innovation is not about tech or necessarily anything digital.  It is, to put it crudely, the practice of re-appropriating (or re-combining) things that already exists for a need that has not yet been met, thereby opening a new category of activity and progress.  The local church, by nature of its membership, often connects people across government, business, and community-based organizations.  It can also have funds or be able to raise it.  In the example above, this can be a point of pride in our internal assets (ie. look at who we are/what we get as a collection) re-appropriated into a means of external breakthrough (ie. look at what we can do/give when we collaborate).

What We Need: Are we there yet?  Maybe not totally.  But, there are certainly steps to take.  Specifically, Cal-Pac Innovation is forming a list of contacts who either have experience with, involvement in, or a great depth of knowledge about any of the following who can lend expertise to the various initiatives that might be undertaken for innovation in ministry here in our Conference:

  • DARPA / Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works
  • President Obama’s Presidential Innovation Fellows program / Code for America
  • McKinsey’s Prizemaking in Philanthropy / Bethnal Green Ventures (London)
  • IDEO & IDEO.org / Google X / Xerox PARC
  • Y Combinator / 500 Startups
  • Other related organizations and efforts…

Please share with James J. Kang (jkang@calpacumc.org) any leads on contacts related to the above or stories of innovation already taking place, as the time is now to step into God’s current of Transforming Vital Congregations and Christian Leaders!