categories: church, communication, creativity, culture, development, future, innovation, leadership
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November 3rd, 2009

by Craig Groeschel

14 comments (+ Add)

Letting Go of Old Assumptions

The world is changing faster every day. Too many Christian leaders are working off old assumptions rather than new revelations.

When we assume that our way of doing ministry is best:

  • We stop learning from others.
  • We rarely try something new.
  • We quickly see faults in new ideas rather than seeing opportunities.

To reach people no one is reaching, we have to do things no one is doing.

If you think the way everyone else is thinking, you’ll do what everyone is doing.

It is time to let go of old assumptions about how to reach people.

What assumptions about church and ministry are you shedding?

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  1. 1Manu Reyes
    Nov 3, 2009 at 7:58 am

    im learning that one church cant do everything. we need each other and even other non-church organizations. those who can are already experts in certain fields… we do better together.
    sometimes, churches forget that “the body” also applies to the WHOLE church not just the locality.

  2. Nov 3, 2009 at 8:16 am

    I am letting go of the assumption that just because I am passionate about a specific mission opportunity…that others will feel the same. (I have learned) We are all prompted to minister by the Spirit at unique times and in different ways to different people. As long as we all are doing SOMETHING…one opportunity cannot trump another.

  3. 3Steve
    Nov 3, 2009 at 9:14 am

    I am learning that the Kingdom of God conversation needs to lead in describing what we are doing and why we are doing what we are doing. It is a conversation that refines focus.

  4. Nov 3, 2009 at 9:49 am

    Someone else will handle that
    To reach people no one is reaching, we have to do things no one is doing.

  5. Nov 3, 2009 at 9:57 am

    I am shedding that lie that community happens without any action from me. That I can sit in the seat at church and God will speak to those in the auditorium and as soon as the experience is over, the masses will flood me with open arms waiting to create meaning and purpose.
    The truth is that community is not passive, it is sought after by my heart so I must seek those around me in the direction that God points, not wait on the air to breathe but breath knowing there will be air.
    Hard lesson to learn but one that changes everything.

  6. Nov 3, 2009 at 10:06 am

    This post is logically self-defeating. The concept of thinking new is itself an old thought.

    There is nothing new under the sun.

    New does not necessarily = better.

    That is not to say that new can’t be better or that innovation is wrong. But let’s not elevate it above tried and true methods that have worked since the inception of Christianity.

  7. Nov 3, 2009 at 10:09 am

    These comments need an ability for specific replies ;)

    @ Jake….examples of ‘tried and true methods that have worked since the inception of Christianity’? Thanks!

  8. Nov 3, 2009 at 10:12 am

    Hi Danny – I’m thinking all the way back to Acts 2:42-47, which ends with the wonderful words, “And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.”

  9. 9Charron
    Nov 3, 2009 at 11:45 am

    I lead a small group of 11th grade girls and I’ve just been given the opportunity to begin leading all of the female 11th grade small group leaders at our church.
    I can’t learn from the people that are below me from a leadership stand point
    Everyone has something to give and has knowledge that I don’t

  10. Nov 3, 2009 at 1:51 pm

    Troublesome language aside (new revelations, etc.) this is a good post.

    Interestingly, I’m learning that simply doing new things doesn’t automatically result in new people being reached. Additionally, given how fleetingly pastors and youth pastors today go from one thing to the next, I may even be willing to say that what we need is less “new thinking” and more “good thinking.”

    That said, there are definitely things we can stop (or start) doing to reach those who are not being reach elsewhere. I actually wrote a blog that loosely connects to this today regarding how we need to begin rethinking outreach. Check it out if you’re interested:

  11. Nov 3, 2009 at 3:59 pm

    A lot of times I am finding that doing things no one is doing is not about always doing something totally new, but fulfilling a need not being met in your community or area. I have realized our community does a bad job of communicating the needs of local organizations that help people here (food, shelter, education, etc…) One of our goals for next year is to create a hub, if you will, for any church, family, person to access through video and web and fin places to volunteer and give too.
    I lot of people here don’t know where to start. We are going to take that out of the equation and let them jump right in. It’s not for our church, but for all churches, people, families, groups, etc…
    It being “the Church” and not just “our church”.
    It’s a starting point for our community.

  12. Nov 3, 2009 at 5:38 pm

    Thanks for the post Craig and for all the great comments!

    As a 30 year old male who sits on the cusp of Gen X and Gen Y I can really relate with the need to let go of old assumptions and look to what God is calling us to do. Sure somethings we need to keep becasue they are working and others we need to let go because they are not what God wants us to hold onto.

    I want to encourage us to seek God and live in His strength… we’re all aware that change is hard especially in the church so let’s keep the bigger picture in mind - God’s Kingdom and seeing people come into relationship with Him.

    Let’s learn from the past but let’s not let it rule us. God is our Master not our past, let God teach us through it and show us the way for the future.

    Exciting times ahaed my friends, God is going to do some great things in our time, can you sense it too? :-)

  13. Nov 4, 2009 at 9:43 am

    That discipleship and evangelism are opposite ends of a spectrum to program for. Both are “go and make disciples.”

    That making disciples counts at all if the disciples you make aren’t making disciples. We can’t just produce seedless grapes.

    That fruitfulness comes from a solid knowledge base. Roots are indeed important but a vine with no fruit is useless no matter how strong its roots are.

  14. Nov 4, 2009 at 10:17 am

    Tried and true methods such as prayer, loving people, and being Christ centered should never be replaced, but I think God is a fresh idea God. I think He loves His people stretching to find ways to reach “His people”. Whether you call it new or fresh or just not stale, get a heart to go after people and keep church moving!