God is ready to overwhelm you with more blessings
than you could ever imagine so that you’ll always
be taken care of in every way and you’ll have more than enough to share. 
Remember what is written about the One who trusts in the Lord:
He scattered abroad; He gave freely to the poor;
    His righteousness endures throughout the ages.

The same One who has put seed into the hands
of the sower and brought bread to fill our stomachs will provide and
multiply the resources you invest and produce an abundant harvest from your righteous actions. 
You will be made rich in everything so that your generosity will spill over in every direction.
Through us your generosity is at work inspiring praise and thanksgiving to God. 
For this mission will do more than bring food and water to fellow believers in need—
it will overflow in a cascade of praises and thanksgivings for our God.

2 Corinthians 9:8-12

There are those times in the life of the church when it’s hard to see the bright side – when the bank balances are dwindling, there aren’t enough people to serve, and the repairs to the building are endless.  It is difficult to see possibility when everything feels like a challenge.

One of the favorite activities I love to share with church leaders is a game called, Mission Possible. The game is an interactive design-thinking exercise.  A group of leaders are asked to tackle a very large and difficult social issue (i.e., homelessness).  They are provided very limited (pretend) resources (i.e., a circus tent, 10,000 pennies, 10 hours of graphic artist services) and asked to address the issue.  Through the design-thinking process, leadership groups brainstorm and make multiple decisions throughout multiple steps in a very condensed timeframe.  During the process, the teams feel rushed but they always manage to finish on time.  The fascinating outcome every time is how creative the teams’ have been in using their limited resources to address the issues with such incredible impact. 

What researchers have determined is when people have more time, they talk themselves out of bold, innovative decisions.  Their first inclination is to be much more courageous, but over time they become more cautious and hesitant.  In the life of the church, this rings true, too.  Church plants are much more innovative and courageous than established churches.  Church plants often have small budgets and are resourceful and creative in how they do ministry in their early days.  Established churches who once experienced earlier glory days, but are now faced with challenging times sometimes find it difficult to be resourceful and creative with their limited resources.  They have not had to flex those creative, bold muscles in years or decades.

Yet, leaders are sometimes the most innovative and creative when being forced into a corner by limitations (such as lack of resources).  As the old proverb reminds us, “Necessity is the mother of invention.”  When we are comfortable and things are working well, we keep doing things as we have always done them.  It is only when we must find another way forward that we do so.  And even then, we are not necessarily bold in our steps forward as oftentimes a cautious and scarcity culture has begun to develop. 

As Christ followers, I believe we are challenged to remember that God will provide abundantly for the ones who trust in the Lord. Therefore, let us go forth boldly trusting that God has gone before us and is calling us into the future in ways that are creative to reach new people in new ways in this upcoming new year – and the resources we need will be provided and the harvest will be bountiful!

If your church would like to journey with other church leaders in thinking creatively about new ministries in the coming year, join the Innovating for Love Cohorts.  Register now to save your spot for the January launch.