In June 2021, participating pastors received Navigating the Future by Dr. Gregory Jones & Andrew Hogue.

We invite you to grab your book, a journal to write your reflections, and to engage with our content as we learn from Dr. Jones what it means to utilize traditioned innovation to thrive in our communities and institutions. *

Chapter 2: Purpose

This chapter focuses on a vital starting point to prepare for innovation.

To begin, let’s reflect on our individual purpose. Write down 1-2 sentences that roughly describe your purpose in life.
Dr. Jones identifies that we all long for a sense of purpose – an answer to the question why. Purpose gives us a reason to push ahead into unknown and often difficult challenges, because there is a meaning to our work and to our lives.

Now, reflect on the purpose of your church community. Try to write down 1-2 sentences that roughly describe the purpose of your church.
Often when we talk about purpose, we get bogged down in individualistic pursuit – what makes me feel good, what uses my passions, how can I be more fulfilled in my life.  Dr. Jones reassures us that these are not inherently bad, but are short sighted. This chapter challenges us to imagine how our purpose encompasses more than just ourselves; it includes our communities.

Dr. Jones points to how we as individuals (of faith) and our institutions actually have the same purpose.

Can you make a connection between your purpose and the purpose of your church?

Mission and Strategy should not exclude purpose. In the context of our institutions, we are often focused on sticking to our mission and strategy that we never stop to consider why we are focused on that mission in the first place. What we do overtime matters. But, the why of what we do should constantly be at the forefront.

Good vision and purpose can lead people in the right direction. When we start with purpose and hold to that purpose, it deepens and sustains our commitments and enables us to be open to a more hopeful future.

Risk new approaches for the sake of larger purposes. Dr. Jones suggests to start with the why. It will allow your community the freedom and nimbleness to innovate.

In what ways does the Cross Ties ministries discussed in this chapter demonstrate purpose?

Chapter 3: Bewilderment

We live in a world that is complex, changing, and bewildering. When we are overwhelmed by that, we respond impulsively to hazards. Dr. Jones identifies two of our responses:

  • traditionalism (do things as we have always done them)
  • futurism (a rush to change things because of an unfettered faith in progress).

Change is coming at us quickly in the form of technological advancement, declining trust in institutions, and market forces beyond our control. Dr. Jones believes that because of these things, we live in a context marked by volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity. We respond by hunkering down, panicking, growing paralyzed, isolating ourselves or seeking change hoping it will make things better.

Dr. Jones invites us to imagine a different way to respond – traditioned innovation.  Traditioned innovation does not make us choose between the past and the future. Instead, we are faithful to the things in the past that have served us well and have an openness to changes that can and will lead us into the future.  It is not a quick fix, but requires sustained attention to know what to keep and how to innovate.

Churches face a handful of challenges each year. Reflect on a challenge your church faced in the past two years.

How did your church respond to the change?

Would you say your church responded in traditionalism, futurism or traditioned innovation?

We look forward to sharing our upcoming post next week. Be ready to reflect on Chapter 4 and 5 of Navigating the Future. Remember to subscribe to our blog for more content from the Project Thrive team.


*We encourage you to gather your answers in a word document or journal – and feel free to leave us your thoughts in the comments below! Reply to others’ reflections or submit your own reflection.

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