18 ideas for disrupting the church industry

A disruptive innovation is a creative change that establishes a new market by disrupting an existing market. It gradually replaces established market leaders. The term was coined by Clayton Christensen in the mid 1990s. In addition to uprooting markets, another result of disruptive innovation is “significant societal impact.

In the past few decades many industries have been thrown topsy-turvy by disruptive innovations. One of the early disruptive innovations in world history was Christianity. It was said of the early Christ-followers that they “turned the world upside down.”

Today Christianity is declining, especially in the West. It desperately needs the gumption of a spiritual eruption that will cause an interruption and create a new disruption beyond a mere organizational reformation. Here are 18 ideas about how that can happen.

  1. Christians have been taught that it is their duty to go hear sermons. They need to be trained to hear directly from Jesus.
  2. People sit passively and listen to sermons as if Jesus isn’t in the room. Instead, let’s all recognize and respond to His presence. A windless environment where the wind of the Spirit isn’t allowed to freely flow becomes a winless environment.
  3. Amazing, disruptive things would happen if a church would be so dependent on God, that if He didn’t show up in power, the service would flop. To make that happen, all a church needs to do is to throw away it’s programs, formal hierarchy, and showmanship and rely on the risen Jesus instead.
  4. The typical church service is so well organized that it has no need for God. If a preacher disrupted that comfort zone by standing up, turning control of a church service over to Jesus, and then sitting down and remaining quiet, what do you think would happen?
  5. A famous recovery slogan says: “Let go and let God.” Church says: “Hold on, keep it together, and watch a preacher perform.”
  6. When church is an open forum rather than religious decorum, the Spirit is free to move! If you heard God speak, what do you think He would say to you right now?
  7. Hearing one message directly from Jesus and obeying it would have greater impact on your life than 100 sermons. Listen up!
  8. If Sunday sermons were more effective, every time we heard one we could be radically changed. Instead, we mostly forget them.
  9. Some sermons are powerful and life changing, but in my experience those are very rare. Why are there so few disruptive sermons? We need people to share fiery, heart-felt words prompted by the Holy Spirit.
  10. A talk from a man can never take the place of a touch from God. In our interactive, social media, high-tech world, church needs to move beyond high-talk formality and attendee passivity.
  11. It’s alright to give people a talk about God, however, it’s a lot better if we let God take control and demonstrate His presence. Church’s lack of Sunday service interaction is causing a reaction as people leave in search of honest, heart-to-heart community.
  12. Jesus came to give us light and life; not to set people in a religious rut. We need to root up the ruts!
  13. Maybe church could take a lesson from TED Talks and have lots of different speakers instead of the same one over and over again. Did the last sermon you heard have any lasting impact on your life (or was it soon forgotten)? If not, why would the next sermon that you hear?
  14. Perhaps people in church would learn more by walking out Christ’s walk together in intimate, support-group style community than by silently hearing a man’s talk. The Bible says, “Taste and see that the Lord is good,” not “Sit and listen to a talk about God’s goodness.”
  15. Church asks people to show up and listen to a sermon. Perhaps, instead, we could ask God to show up and show out! Those who haven’t heard about the reality and presence of Jesus need to hear. Those who have already heard need to obey his voice.
  16. To grow Christians need more than a sermon and a religious show. We need to actively listen to and obey the Spirit. (Romans 8:14)
  17. Christianity is about forgiveness, not about innocence or denial of guilt. Jesus’ forgiveness helps us admit our fault lines without collapsing under the heavy load of guilt.
  18. When the Bible says, “We who have believed enter that rest,” (Hebrews 4:3) I don’t think it means “sprawl out during a sermon.” Let’s get out of His way, tear up our program, and let the Jesus disrupt the way we gather in His name. (He said, “I am the way!”)

Click here for a book about disruptive innovation in church.


About Steve Simms

I like to look and think outside the box. In college I encountered Jesus Christ and I have been passionate about trying to get to know Him better ever since. My wife and I co-lead a non-traditional expression of the body of Christ in Nashville based on open participation and Spirit-led sharing. We long to see the power and passion of the first Christ-followers come to life in our time. I have written a book about our experiences called, "Beyond Church: An Invitation To Experience The Lost Word Of The Bible--Ekklesia" that is available in Kindle & paperback @ http://amzn.to/2nCr5dP
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2 Responses to 18 ideas for disrupting the church industry

  1. Jon says:

    Just read this to my wife. She said, “Hear Hear!”

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