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The Innovative Church

How Leaders and Their Congregations Can Adapt in an Ever-Changing World

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The church as we know it is calibrated for a world that no longer exists. It needs to recalibrate in order to address the questions that animate today's congregants. Leading congregational studies researcher Scott Cormode explores the role of Christian practices in recalibrating the church for the twenty-first century, offering church leaders innovative ways to express the never-changing gospel to their ever-changing congregations. The book has been road-tested with over one hundred churches through the Fuller Youth Institute and includes five questions that guide Christian leaders who wish to innovate.

1. How the Church Is Calibrated for a World That No Longer Exists
2. The Meaning of Christian Innovation
3. Leadership Begins with Listening
4. Making Spiritual Sense
5. Reinvented Practices as Shared Stories of Hope
6. A Process for Innovation
7. Organizing for Innovation
8. Innovation and Change
9. The Next Faithful Step
10. Recalibrating Church for the Smartphone Generation
Appendix: Systematic Listening


"Scott's thoughtful and practical insights on innovation have helped countless churches and ministry organizations. Now they can impact yours as well. He is a reliable voice and trusted resource for all leaders who want to bring adaptive change to the people and contexts they serve. Trust me, you'll keep this book close and refer to it often!"

Kara Powell, executive director, Fuller Youth Institute; coauthor of Growing Young and Growing With

"Scott Cormode incorporates Scripture, practical theology, personal stories, real-life church examples, and the best learning on creativity and leadership from the world around us in order to help congregational leaders recalibrate the church for a world that has changed. The sections on empathetic listening alone are worth the price of the book. Church teams will find this both readable and challenging. I will be using it in my leadership class with seminarians."

R. Robert Creech, Hubert H. and Gladys S. Raborn Professor of Pastoral Leadership, director of pastoral ministries, George W. Truett Theological Seminary

"With The Innovative Church, Scott brings road-tested research to bear in a practical and insightful guide to innovative change within the twenty-first-century church. For any leader who longs to see the church not just survive but thrive amidst the rapid pace of cultural shifts, start with this book."

Jill Ver Steeg, chief operating officer, Reformed Church in America

"We live in a moment when the need for churches to innovate has become undeniable. Yet that innovation must carry forward the best of Christian traditions so that they might faithfully offer life, hope, and healing to the world today. This book distills enormous wisdom in an accessible and practical, yet intellectually rigorous, guide for all those seeking to lead the church to adapt and flourish in trying times. Scott Cormode speaks to the heart of the challenges facing the church and offers hopeful ways forward."

Dwight Zscheile, vice president of innovation and associate professor of congregational mission and leadership, Luther Seminary

"In recent memory, no book has been so timely as The Innovative Church. In the face of social upheaval, as demonstrated by such challenges as a pandemic and racism as unfinished business, the mainline Christian church needs to hear concepts and strategies not solely on innovation but also on our basic human experiences of 'longings and losses' that just may propel us to a way forward. Drawing on deep theological and biblical groundings, Cormode provides a field-tested method for innovation to emerge for our churches. This is a must-read book if we are to break the downward malaise that we are currently experiencing and emerge from our present crises with a future of hope."

Bishop Grant Hagiya, resident bishop of the Los Angeles Area of the United Methodist Church

The Author

  1. Scott Cormode

    Scott Cormode

    Scott Cormode (PhD, Yale University), an ordained Presbyterian minister, is the Hugh De Pree Professor of Leadership Development at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. He is also a senior fellow at the Max De Pree Center for Leadership and the...

    Continue reading about Scott Cormode