I couldn’t help but think immediately about churches when I read Seth Godin’s post today…

That’s not the way we do things around here.

Please don’t underestimate how powerful this sentence is.

When you say this to a colleague, a new hire, a student or a freelancer, you’ve established a powerful norm, one that they will be hesitant to challenge.

This might be exactly what you were hoping for, but if your goal is to encourage innovation, you blew it.

Amen. I’ve watched “new people” come into a church, excited to get involved and lead. They bring new perspectives, fresh approaches, and sometimes a certain awkwardness as we determine how to incorporate their input into our established patterns and structures.

So our tendency is to make them read the unwritten manual, learn the unspoken rules, and figure out the culture of our church so they can adapt their new ideas to our old way of doing things. That’s when excitement is extinguished. Sadly, many church members are ultimately happy when these new, energetic people just move on to some other house of worship.

Meanwhile… we fade slowly into irrelevance. But hey, at least we owned it all, right?

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