I spent a few hours with two pastors I respect, discussing the church.

At some point, I expressed a growing frustration – how the promises in the Bible rarely line up with the reality of the Christian life. Something was not adding up.

The consensus seemed to be that Christians rarely deploy the gifts of the Spirit in the real world. This is because we are limited by religion. So, we become as normal and as powerless as everyone else.

For some reason, we do not think to use words of wisdom and prophecy for instance, in product design and corporate negotiations.

We think those gifts are limited to church services and our personal lives.

Discernment of spirits is not something we activate when choosing business partners or in the thick of politics.

Another constraint we discussed, is how we fail to empower the young. We forget that many celebrated ministers started in their teens or twenties. But somehow we look down on young people, assuming they are incapable of the same responsibilities we held back then.

We have become gerontocratic without realizing it.

What has now happened is that Christians rarely come together in churches to dynamically solve real-world problems. We prefer safe scripts. There must be prayer meetings first and redundant committees. The conversations tend to be sprinkled with religious lingo that cannot translate globally.

On the other hand, if you see yourself having a product development brainstorm, your mindset transforms. If you imagine having a formal business meeting with God (otherwise known as a petition), the results change.

Jesus is not religious and never came to found a new religion.

Therefore, so many of us are disconnected from the essence and power of God because of religious ideologies.

Religion is often a tool of control and conformity. So, it limits creativity, imagination, and independent thinking.

My advice to churches is this (especially assemblies with vibrant youth ministries) – if you want to unleash the creative power of young people and the gifts of the Holy Spirit, you must try something new.

Here’s one idea.

Give young people a big world challenge to solve and then commission a hackathon. Maybe media or tech-related to tap into their natural predilection for those fields.

Use an experienced facilitator and not just a random volunteer. CC Hub comes to mind.

You see, the best design workshops often pull into cells, people with disparate disciplines. Those cells then compete. For example, a group can have a strategist, designer, software developer, writer, and marketer in it.

It is the interplay of those different disciplines that produce unique products.

Once the hackathon is complete, provide seed funding for the best ideas, as well as a pipeline to an established incubator.

Ideally, the products should never be non-profit. At the very least, a social enterprise model is preferred so the outcome can be self-sustaining and scalable.

On the days services aren’t held, use church buildings as incubator spaces for the best ideas that come out of the hackathons.

Pass on the cost of the extra utilities to volunteer “investors”. Let the volunteers also provide business advisory services to the incubated ideas.

Using a hackathon format removes the veil of religion. But two very important things should be done first.

The initial thing is a facilitator that teaches people how to translate spiritual gifts into real-world problem-solving.

Leke Alder is a good resource.

The second thing is play.

Day 1 should be dedicated to games, fun, and critical thinking exercises. This enhances team dynamics and ignites creative neurons.

I wish you all the best should you decide to implement this and I am available to advise serious churches only.

For more, please read Church Notes: A New Design

Religion is often a tool of control and conformity. So, it limits creativity, imagination, and independent thinking. Click To Tweet


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