Episode #3 – Creativity vs Effectiveness

“Sunday’s Coming” Movie Trailer from North Point Media on Vimeo.

As a response to this video, I talk a little bit about the tension within evangelicalism between creativity and effectiveness.

Here is the RSS feed for the cast.

Here is the link to subscribe in iTunes.

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5 thoughts on “Episode #3 – Creativity vs Effectiveness

  1. Hey Zach, you touched briefly on McLaren’s latest book in the podcast (I think it was this one or maybe #2), which I’ve been hearing quite a bit about but haven’t had a chance to read yet. You mentioned how some of the ideas that Brian raises can potentially open a can of worms for many folks as they wrestle with these concepts… I’d love to hear you expand on that.

    Specifically, you highlighted the Evangelical preoccupation with “numbers” as it relates to a transactional view of the Gospel. I’d be interested in hearing more of your thoughts on what happens when the Evangelical institutional model, while created with good intentions of extending the Gospel message to as many people as possible in a culturally relevant way, becomes a creature that needs to be fed in order to survive. That is to say, that while “numbers” in an evangelism sense may have been the initial goal, that same “numbers” element can quickly become a dollars & cents issue when you have extensive buildings, staff, costs that need to be maintained in the face of your income dropping, say, 50% (as I would guess most churches around us have experienced lately).

  2. I’ve enjoyed the blog for a while, and am enjoying the podcast now as well. I come from a UMC background where the ordination process completely revolves around the term “effectiveness.” The sense that I get is that in this podcast you kind of equate standard evangelical numbers rubrics (worship attendance, budgets, buildings, conversions, etc.) with effectiveness as far as the title is concerned. In the podcast content itself you seem to have a different definition of what you consider to truly be effectiveness and it seems to be linked to creativity almost as if being creative equals being effective.

    I would love to hear your definition of what it truly means for a church/faith community/collective to effective ministry or be effective.

  3. I very much appreciate this podcast series. It was sweet to be able to listen to it.

    I’ve spent some time musing on it, and have been in conversation with some friends and old pastors that I know and something came up in conversation that I wanted to pass on to you.

    The story that your podcast tells is that there is a battle between creativity and effectiveness, that one is chosen over the other. Whether one is better than the other is really of nominal importance. At the end of the day, as a community of people who come together to be the church, we have come off course if we find ourselves relentlessly pursuing effectiveness and numbers. Yet we will also find ourselves off course if we are relentlessly pursuing creativity. Neither stand alone as the ultimate goal of christian community.

    Just as we can bring millions into the doors of church and yet lack any depth, so can we be so focused and creative that we get nowhere. Numbers for numbers sake is a death. Creativity for creativity’s sake is just a more interesting death.

    There needs to be a bigger aim, the trajectory needs to be set so that our efforts to be both effective and creative will complement each other. We need to be effective — if we are going to be a real community (and I find it hard to really participate in deeply meaningful relationships with more than a big handful of people) it will demand from us massive amounts of rich creativity. Our goal in this should have a deeply rich theological grounds, such as being a community that is compelled to do all things because of and in the love of Christ. And we cannot be a community anywhere else but here, and we cannot be a community at any time but now.

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