A Spirit of Unoriginality

In Scot McKnight’s article, Copycat Church, he outlines his case for the need of spirit-driven and spirit-empowered driven ministry, versus ministry that simply mimics the trends of the latest church fad. As McKnight claims there is no movement of God apart from God’s empowering Spirit, he describes what a “Spirit empowered movement” is:  a discerning and contextual articulation of the Gospel for a specific context and a specific time.

As we observe The Gospel being communicated throughout the biblical narrative in various forms pending on the context & moment in history, today’s church much continually invoke the Spirit for His leading on new forms of Gospel articulation.  As I agree with McKnight, especially concerning the need to seek new forms of communication in replacing the “traditionally preached sermon,” is copying such a bad thing?

In a recent Harvard Business Review interview with Oded Shenkar titled, “Imitation is More Valuable Than Innovation,” Shenkar found out that imitation is definitely under-appreciated in our world and is not in fact “mindless repetition,” like McKnight suggested is common among a number of our “trendy churches.”  While Shenkar was explaining the findings of his study he stated, “In one study I reviewed, the researchers looks at 48 innovations and discovered that 34 of them—almost three quarters—were copied,” with the rate of imitation accelerating among businesses.  Essentially, in all of the studies conducted by Shenkar, he found that the basic source of progress is imitation.

As I agree with McKnight that the church must continually invoke the Spirit of God as their guiding source, could that same Spirit be collectively enticing a large segment of the American church to embrace an attitude of imitation in certain trends? (i.e. multisite)  Shenkar says, “We’ve been socialized from a young age to treat imitation as undignified and objectionable, something done by those who are unoriginal,” but in fact is “a complex and demanding process that requires high intelligence and advanced cognitive capabilities”and maybe even the Spirit’s leading?

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~ by Dave Smith on May 7, 2010.

2 Responses to “A Spirit of Unoriginality”

  1. Posted on McKnight’s blog and semi-related…
    Sunday Morning

  2. Nice. Hopefully not only a jab at the typical order of service…but also the mediums always used: music and monologue.

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