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The bronze statue of a manpertly trapped in a stone wall.

The Need for Innovation

 Are you stuck?

Given changes in the religious landscape in America, along with emerging generational differences, congregations must innovate to remain relevant and vital. The nature and extent of the innovation is not simple. If it was, everyone would already be doing it. Gil Rendle, a senior church consultant with TMF, offered a thoughtful perspective in an April 2015 publication that addressed the topic, When Better isn’t Good Enough. Well aware of the formidable challenges that churches are facing, Rendle reviewed three options to engage these challenges: maintenance, improvement, and the “creation of the new.” He noted that maintaining the status quo has become a prescription for decline as churches are overtaken by rapid, ongoing changes in society.


Churches that realize the shortcomings of maintenance opt for improvement because leaders know how to improve their organizations. Unfortunately, while improvement is significant, it is not sufficient. And, as Rendle observes, many activities that are considered “improvement,” are actually “maintenance.”


The way forward requires a blend of activities in support of authentic improvement while also working on the “creation of the new.” The latter is difficult. This theme-based ministry program is helping Unitarian Universalist ministers and congregations innovate through implementation of a comprehensive, theme-based program that contributes to a new way of doing church. We invite your consideration.

Photo Credit: Stoned?, photo by Filippo Giunchedi, January 30, 2006,

(CC BY-SA 2.0),

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