In the book What Matters Now in Children’s Ministry, Henry Zonio chose the word “Ingenuity.”
Aside from making me hungry with his references to recipes, short order cooks, and mouth-watering masterpieces, Henry taps into something critical for finding continued success in children’s ministry. Henry cuts right to the motives of why we do what we do:
Why is it that you attend conferences, read books, network with others, and buy curriculum? Is it simply to gather and trade recipes for ministry? Or is it to gather inspiration, taste something different and discover ingredients you’ve never tried before?
No two children’s ministries are exactly the same, and what works for one may not work for another. What failed in one ministry could be exactly the thing that helps another to soar. That said, those things that work for a particular children’s ministry can, and should, inspire us to change and improve our own ministries. We network, collaborate and attend conferences to learn about the successes of others people so that we can grow from, not necessarily copy, those experiences. Likewise we share our failures so that we can evaluate whether or not we should avoid certain approaches or resources in our own ministries. Through it all though, the point is not to find the “quick-fix” or avoid the “sure-fail” idea but the inspiration we garner from it. Indeed, merely copying the efforts of others is not ingenuity. Henry explains:
True creativity, innovation and reformation in children’s ministry will only come when we dare to step beyond the tried and true recipes and are willing to experiment with new strategies and practices.
It is time to quit playing it safe and step out on a limb. Only through risk can we attain the reward, and the reward in children’s ministry is eternal.
Questions for further discussion
The stated purpose of this book is to spark further conversation. I have included some of my thought above, but like other chapters I have included a listing of additional questions to spark further conversation. Here are the questions I came up with:
- What new ideas for your ministry have you had that fear of failure or change has kept you from implementing?
- In what ways has your ministry embraced ingenuity?
- What have learned from past attempts at ingenuity?
- Where do you find your inspiration for new ideas for your ministry?
- Are there any areas of your ministry where you do things a certain way because “that’s the way it’s always been done?”
You can find a link to this, and all the other articles I’ve done related to this book, on my What Matters Now in Children’s Ministry Page.