What does it mean to be innovative? When does real innovation occur in marketplaces, industries, and in our context; ministry? Is it when a new product comes on the scene? A new way of programming? A new stage design to go along with our newest and most innovative series? New is good and change is great, but does innovation always occur with a new product or way of programming? Simon Sinek, author of Start with Why (a great book built off of his very popular Ted Talk) stated that “real innovation changes the course of industries and even societies.” He goes on to give examples such as iTunes, which caused the music industry to drastically reevaluate their business model as a whole, thus altering the course of the way we purchase music.

I long to see innovation take place in student ministry. I long to see the course and trajectory of the way we measure success changed. Student Ministries want the numbers, because numbers matter. I’m on board with that 100%. But here’s where I differ; I long to see Summit Student ministry define success by our capacity to send students and not just our capacity to seat them. Yes, we want to reach hundreds of thousands of students with the gospel and see their lives changed. But what would it look like in student ministries across the country if we began defining success by how many mature believers we SEND rather than the number of bodies we have in seats. Make no mistake about it, my passion and desire to fill seats with students that are far from Christ is fueled by a passion to see them discipled, trained, and sent as mature believers armed with the gospel.

Maybe one day, we’ll see a wave of student ministries taking up this challenge, and we’ll see a generation of men like Sam James (founder of Homestead Heights Baptist Mission, later to be renamed “The Summit Church”) raised up and sent to the nations.

– Until all have heard.

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