Author Kenda Creasy Dean writes that starting with why is the wrong place for Christian ministry to begin. Human decision-making starts in a different place. “Starting with why” assumes a rational relationship between human cognition and human action: if we understand someone’s purpose, we will be persuaded to join them. What we do, writes Dean – buy an iPhone, join a cause, come to church, choose a side – has more to do with what we feel than what we think.Our model – and indeed, our power-source – for such a compassion-driven, grace-drenched version of humanity is Jesus. Our vocation always involves becoming more profoundly human, becoming more like Jesus, divinely wired and earthly-born, made from mud but bound for heaven, one with God and one with all the world. We are not called to build better churches. We are called to be better humans who reflect God’s love.
This book argues Christians must enact a distinctive approach to social innovation. In short, we are called to participate in God’s dream, rather than invoke God’s blessing for our own. the task of Christian social innovators is the task Christ offers to every believer: to unbind one another as we stumble out of our tombs toward the new life Christ offers.We are not called to build a better church. We are called to go and tell about Who is doing a “new thing.” God becomes human, death becomes life – it doesn’t get any more innovative than that. The Bible both begins and ends with stories of God innovating, and records God delight in it.
Not since the Reformation, writes Creasy Dean, has so much energy gone into discerning what it looks like to be Christ’s body in the world. If you leave these pages feeling a little bolder, a little lighter, a little more ready to risk making your life look more like Jesus’ – you are already innovating, redeeming the wreckage for the next leg of your journey toward God.
What Readers are Saying about Innovating For Love
This is the book the Church has been waiting for. Kenda Creasy Dean leads us humbly to discover love’s relentless creativity and imagines a new kind of flourishing. Innovating for Love quickens us to love as we are loved. Indeed, our collective grief has loosened us to receive her timely invitation, to embody God’s new thing. We are all hungry for this message.
Gregory Boyle, Author, Tattoos On The Heart
Kenda Dean knows exactly what time it is in the church. It is time to come to terms with our common weariness about a church that is excessively compromised and accommodated to culture. More than that, it is time to let the deep mandate of love energize new entrepreneurial efforts to explore new ways of ministry. Dean is utterly serious and completely convinced that the church, because of its singular mandate to love, can indeed be innovative in ways that add real value to human life, citing numerous specific examples of innovative church initiatives and an extended battery of “practices” in the art of innovation. Dean invites us to a fresh breath in the church that is nothing less than the gift of the Spirit.
Walter Brueggemann, Columbia Theological Seminary