Trickle-Up Ministry

In last month’s Fast Company article, “How Innovations from Developing Nations Trickle-Up to the West” Michael Fitzgerald writes that as “Innovation has always been about people in rich nations getting the latest stuff and the rest of the world getting our castoffs as our markets scale and prices come down,” there is now a quiet shift occurring. That the “traditional model of developing new products is quietly reversing course,” called, “trickle-up innovation,” in which “ideas take shape in developing markets first, then work their way back to the West.”

As this is a good reminder for us egocentric-Americans, it is a good reminder for us as servants of the church as well.

How easily we can think that the next ministry innovation will stem from the institutional church. Have we forgotten about the emerging, Korean church and it influence on our cell group ministries? Or the need for greater, cultural relevance from Young Life and Youth For Christ? Or the new monasticism and their embracing of geographic proximity to community members?

May we as institutional church leaders keep a close eye on the “emerging church markets,” the parachurches of our town, and the daring church plants down the street. For their reckless pursuit for ministry effectives in the midst of bureaucrat freedom is the breeding ground for the next big idea, heightening church effectiveness.

Fitzgerald ends his article by stating, “The emerging world, then, is no longer a dumping ground for trailing-edge technology. Brace yourself for the next wave of immigrants: ideas.”

This has been true in the past for the church, and it remains so today.

May we be thankful for the bold, underground ministries of our day, keeping a close, respectful watch on their ways of groundbreaking blessing.


~ by Dave Smith on March 18, 2009.

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