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Creating Something New


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Len Wilson has spent most of his career in some area of church communications, from being on staff at Gingshamsburg to working for Abingdon Press in acquiring new titles to authoring 11 books on his own. He was part of the Missouri Annual Conference learning day this year, discussing ideas he presented in his latest book titled, Greater Things.

The concept of creativity is something close to Wilson’s heart and at the core of where he believes churches need to be. 

“You hear a lot of boomers talk about changing the world, but change is the wrong focus,” Wilson said. “We’re called to create. Change is not our job. It’s what happens after we create.”

To be a creator is to be vulnerable, Wilson said. Most of Wilson’s books have been trade books – how-to books for ministry. His later books are becoming more personal. 

Much of his new take on the creative cause runs counter to other ministry how-to books. He says church leaders shouldn’t be talking about building the kingdom or advancing the kingdom – we’re already living in the kingdom. Instead, they should be considering how to use the resources they have to innovate. Wilson uses four words to define innovation. 

Despite being very pro-innovation, that doesn’t put Wilson in the “throw out the old” camp. 

“I don’t like the phrase “creative destruction” that has been part of the church-growth era,” Wilson said. “We were a little too eager to get rid of some things.” 
Wilson defines the church growth era as the mid-1950s to 2010. He describes it as a time when many ministries were modeled after seeking new and improved ideas and sharing best practices. 

“That all came with a lot of bad assumptions,” Wilson said. He thinks this era was already sharply declining, and Covid put the final nails in its coffin. Wilson now runs his own publishing house that he started in 2020 called Invite Resources (www.inviteresources.com). He has built that business around three core values:
  1. High on Jesus
  2. Low on politics
  3. High on innovations

“You can pray, you can protest, or you can produce, meaning create,” Wilson said. “This isn’t a call to stop the protest, but more of a call to pray and produce.”

Wilson believes the recent pandemic just accelerated what was already happening in the world. 

“Things are several years ahead now,” he said. 

He called into question some traditional methods that most churches are currently using as they try to plan for the future. 

“Budgets are by nature anti-innovation, built on best practices, things that happened in the past,” Wilson said. 

Everyone who attended the workshop was given a copy of Wilson’s book “Greater Things.” For more from Len Wilson, go to www.inviteresources.com.