I don’t mean to disturb you

 In Blog, Communication

When people think of disruptions, they are not usually thinking about something positive. Typically, people think of disruptions like Jim Carey’s “world’s most annoying sound” from Dumb and Dumber.  No question, that is disturbing. But, there are some really powerful examples of disruption that have led to innovation, growth and reaching unimaginable potential.

There are many examples of disruptive innovation. The automobile, transistor radio, mobile phone and countless other inventions have disrupted the status quo and led to new ways of doing things. In 2014, Forbes reported on the 2014 CES (Consumer Electronic Show) about the 5 most disruptive technologies. Two years later, we are just beginning to see some of the impact of these innovations. They include driverless cars, embedded sensors in devices, wearables like the apple watch or fitbit, and immersive tools like the oculus rift. Not too many years ago, the virtual reality experience you can now have with VR wear was a thing of science fiction.

How do disruptive approaches emerge? It typically begins with someone looking at a problem or opportunity and ignoring current constraints and approaches. This blue sky thinking allows someone the freedom to envision a new way or approach. You may be wondering how this relates to churches? Based on recent data from sources such as Lifeway, the Barna Group and Pew Research, the church is in need of a disruptive approach when it comes to developing generosity.

Lifeway, in a recent survey, shows that churches are experiencing budget shortfalls and in part, believe that the state of the economy is a cause. But if you dig into the numbers a bit, since at least 2009, over 50% and as many as 80% of churches surveyed have felt that the economy has been negatively affecting church budgets. Perhaps it’s time we face the potential that this is the new normal and not something that is going to fix itself.

Thom Rainer, in a great post, explores six reasons churches might be facing decline in giving. These include skepticism from millennials, declining attendance, and lagging economic growth. If we are going to reverse these trends, we are in need of a disruption.

An honest look at how people today build connections and spend their time and money, will indicate that the church is overdo a move towards mobile technology. By 2018, 57% of all internet traffic will be from mobile devices. This isn’t just the youngsters. The same study shows that in 2014 over 59% of people over the age of 66 made online donations. So much for the myth that older church members won’t adopt new technology or be able to use your church’s mobile app.

As a church leader, if you are totally satisfied with the engagement level of your congregation, your ability to reach those outside your church, and have no problem exceeding your projected budget each year, then this post may not be for you. If, on the other hand, you are wanting to improve engagement and grow your impact, perhaps now is the time to start disrupting.

How open to disruption is your church?

Are there new approaches or technologies that you are willing to try?