I have noticed that there are four basic people that attend a church: innovators, renovators, maintainers and destroyers. I don't know of anyone who has labeled it quite like this but various lists have different people. For simplicity sake, I normally just use this classification. Over the next few days I want to write briefly about each group and talk about how they can be used in the church.
These are the people that see things in totally new ways. They bring fresh, new ideas to the table. Some of the ideas might be totally crazy--others might be brilliant. Either way, these are great people to have in the church.
The obvious strength of innovators is thinking up new ways to do ministry. These guys are ahead of the curve and often come out with truly breakthrough ideas. It is not uncommon to see these guys as the heads of large churches because these are the ones with the newest ideas.
However, what is also cool is that these guys might be hiding in your church or (in my case) youth group. You know that annoying kid that keeps saying they should do some off the wall idea and everyone goes, "Hahahha...that is crazy but would be so cool..."? Yeah, that kid could be your next innovator.
The innovators strength can also be a weakness. Even though they are creative, they might not see the downside to their decisions. Some innovators are calloused and don't care who they hurt in implementing their ideas. Some innovators also have no clue on how to actually do what they want--they need some more realistic people to help implement their ideas. Innovators are also flakes because they have SO MANY good ideas and big dreams. In other words, an innovator probably isn't the guy you want running a singular ministry for the long haul because once it has been implemented, they often move on to the next thing.
How do I deal with Innovators?
If you are a pastor or youth pastor and ARE NOT an innovator, you need an innovator(s) on your team. They need to be mentored closely and unleashed for God's glory. Innovators can dream big and help you think outside of the box. However, at the same time, innovators can also be like shotguns--they shoot many things but not one thing with accuracy. You need to focus them so that they can become more focused.
Multiple innovators can either help spur one another on or end up fighting. Since they tend to be rather outspoken or calloused, you need to make sure that you deal with them on the issue of love. Even if their idea is right and absolutely awesome, you always need to consider the larger scale of the idea--how is this going to impact the church.
Innovators tend to fight with renovators and maintainers. Renovators think, "Why do something this crazy? Let's stick with updating our existing organization" and maintainers, if they don't buy into the idea think, "This guy is out of hand." Innovators need a strong panel of people to work with them because if they don't, they often have a VERY short life at a church. Innovators should not surround themselves constantly with other innovators because innovators often let other innovators run unchecked.
Because of the above, innovators often turn into destroyers, though unintentionally. I have seen many good ideas become the foundation of a church split because the innovator was left unchecked. Pride, as always, is a huge issue here.
The simple truth is this: a church needs an innovator or it will either die or always be behind the cultural curve. Innovators are God's gift to the church and, if mentored and used correctly, are a huge asset to church growth. Pastors who are not innovators need to also humbly listen to innovators who might have a great idea that should be utilized.