Do you ever feel lost and alone as a church worker? I know I?ve felt that way before. Maybe you’ve felt like no one else is going through what you?re going through, or maybe you see the success of other large churches and you think you?ll never make it.
Every once in awhile, I like to break away from looking at some of the incredible mega churches around the world and find some lesser-known churches who are winning and being incredibly creative.
Here are ten of those lesser-known churches doing really innovative stuff we could all learn from.
Mosaic Church started in 2002 by Pastor Renaut van der Riet and his wife Brooke. Mosaic started with the idea of reaching people and building tight community. Sounds like every church plant, right? The thing that Mosaic did to turn the church world upside down was to start a campus specifically designed for Walt Disney World cast members and employees. There are more than 60,000 Cast Members who work at Disney and Mosaic has reached out to them with what they describe as a ?contextualized campus.? By creating a unique community, Mosaic Church has reached a group of people who largely have felt disconnected from the church. This unique approach could easily translate to our own communities and cities. Find an audience no one is reaching and go for it.
?If you think your church supports creativity and the arts, this church community takes that idea to a whole new level. At Convergence, they live and breathe the arts. The Church at Convergence is a Christian congregation who believes in supporting arts, imagination, and creativity. They created the Convergence Arts Initiative to foster creativity, conversation, and art making. You do not have to be a part of the church or any particular faith background to participate in the Arts Initiative. They provide physical space to local artists and arts organizations to help make their creative vision reality.
Flat Irons is a no-holds-barred church in Colorado. Most of our churches like to think that we are ?real? with people in our congregations, but Flat Irons takes getting real to a whole new level. With sermon series titles like Missionary Position, “God The Bounty Hunter” and “Grow A Pair”, Flat Irons? pastors and creative teams are not afraid to tell it like it is. Check out Flat Irons messages and see for yourself how they explain real life issues.
As you well know, music in the church has been a point of tension for a long time. So when I ran across this church reaching out to the heavy metal community, I was really excited. This heavy metal church is one of a kind and I hope to see many more of these kinds of church plants in the future.
?This church caught my attention on one of the fastest growing social networks: Instagram. Anchor Faith?s Instagram account is one of the best church accounts I have seen (and that includes most mega churches). They do an incredible job of creating shareable content that church members can use and share with friends. If your church is already on or looking to get started with Instagram, you will definitely be inspired by this church?s account.
Rockford Church is one of the most creative churches in America. They have tons of incredible ministries that reach out to so many types of people. The best part is that they are doing all of them extremely well. My favorite thing Rockford is doing is a ministry called Focus One, and it is different than anything I?ve ever seen a church do. It is a ministry that is designed specifically for graduating high school students. The one-year ministry helps young adults focus and learn what God wants for their life. With so many voices screaming at young people and telling them what they should do, Rockford wanted to help recent high school grads focus and get on the right track.
Full disclosure here. This is the church where I serve. But nonetheless, I believe we are doing some pretty cool stuff. We are a multisite church just south of Kansas City, MO. The national average for a church income per person is about $27. Ours happens to be about $12 per person. With that statistic it could be easy for us to throw technology and creativity to the side. Instead, we have used the lack of funds to inspire our creativity. For the past several years we have done a new stage design for every new series (usually every 3-5 weeks) and we have never spent over $100. In fact, we rarely use over $50. Most of us have assumed at one point that if we just had money we could be creative. I take the opposite approach. Lack of money helps you be creative. So like us, lean in to that and make things no one has seen before. We launched a video campus for under $1,500. It just took some creativity.
ChristChurch London is one of the coolest community-based churches I?ve come across. Their goal is not to build the biggest church but to help build a city that people love. They have various Sundays with only one service scheduled to encourage church members ti get involved in the life of the city. The most unique aspect of ChristChurch is their refugee mentoring program. London is home to thousands of refugees who have fled conflict zones, and in response, the church has created a place where those refugees can come to experience Christ and receive education. They are heavily involved in social justice campaigns throughout the city and are making Jesus? name very famous.
?CBC is one of the first churches I know that hired a social media pastor. They launched a new version of their Internet Campus that has 30-minute messages delivered just for their Internet campus. You can check it out at onlinechurch.com and see the value they’ve placed on their online presence.
As a designer at heart, I would be remiss not to mention a lesser-known church that has an incredibly designed website. The Fathers House in New York has a great responsive website that is both inviting to visitors and well maintained for church members. It provides great inspiration for everyone designing graphics or websites. Make sure you check out their watch page for great ideas on how to post video to your website.
As you can tell, this list is made mostly of churches that are doing things very few are doing. Your church has a unique set of gifts, talents, and passions. Finding a way to connect those to the life of your church can help you break out and do some incredible things for the Kingdom. Let this list inspire you to be creative and try new things.