In his 2009 essay “The church will become small” from the Faith and the Future compilation,

Pope Benedict XVI foretold, “She [the Church] will no longer be able to inhabit many of the edifices she built in prosperity. As the number of her adherents diminishes…she will lose many of her social privileges…As a small society, [the Church] will make much bigger demands on the initiative of her individual members…”

Perhaps this is the greatest invitation for innovation the Church has seen since the 16th century renaissance.  

There is simply no better time for creativity and innovation in the Church. This is not a discussion about dogma or doctrine. This is an articulation of the broad demand for free association of ideas that lead to post-modern proclamations of the Gospel. “Newness” is the beauty of the Holy Spirit’s gift to all creative thinkers on concepts of faith.

The OSV Institute’s inaugural Innovation Challenge brought forth creative thinkers in ecclesial ministry from all over North America. Three $100,000 prizes can certainly get the innovative juices moving! The result of the OSV Innovation Challenge was an affirmed reality that there is never “one way” to do ministry nor is there one way to creatively build the kingdom. Innovation promulgates invitation. Where a young heart may sometimes interpret the ritual and traditions of the Catholic faith as stagnant or dull, innovation stimulates interest.  The creative approaches of Hispanic/Latino outreach and young adult ministry development occurring today draw attention to the dynamic nature of the Holy Spirit. This breathes life into the faithful and the disaffiliated. The Holy Spirit is wind, water, whisper, fire and storms. No one single methodology. No one single approach.

Innovation in ministry is exactly what the Spirit has ordered, and the bar is set high. When delving into modern media production or digital marketing strategies, excellence is the only path forward. Sub-professional attempts at video production will not attract an audience in today’s saturated markets nor will poorly planned gatherings with sparsely envisioned goals lead to growth in a community. Innovation demands excellence and well-developed vision. This is the platform for modern expression of evangelization.  

A compelling, contagious and enthusiastic proclamation of Truth must be accompanied by high professional standards of messaging. In fact, the Church must point the way as custodians of THE most important communication the world has ever received. Its members are the conduit of the Gospel. What an extraordinary time to articulate methods moving forward in ministry! What an immense opportunity to delve into solidarity with the original disciples and their creative approach to sharing the good news. Perhaps our Church has been made small by the jurisdiction that technology has allowed. Perhaps many have left the faith, and we are simply left smaller by the nature of disaffiliation; or perhaps our smallness is the exact environment the Holy Spirit has chosen to use in demanding our initiative. Maybe this unique moment in history is a profound invitation to greater innovation.

Committed to leading the charge in professionally-produced content, OSV Institute, in partnership with ODB Films, has announced the release of OSV Innovation Talks, a series of powerful talks on a variety of important topics aimed at igniting creativity and innovation in ministry and evangelization.  

Current titles include:

  • The Inefficient Innovator, Jason Shanks, President of OSV Institute
  • Bruce Lee was a Master Evangelist, Jared Zimmerer, Word on Fire, Institute Director
  • Daily Bread Discernment, Sr. Josephine Garrett, Sister of the Holy Family of Nazareth
  • The Subtle Deterioration of True Professionalism, Jason Deuterman, Diocese of Dallas, Director of Youth, Young Adult, and Campus Ministries
  • Undignified Liturgical Music, Justin Drey, St. Paul Parish, Seneca, SC, Director of Ministries
  • Lost in Encyclical Translation, Brenda Noriega, Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers, Mission Education Promoter

New talks are released regularly for all those seeking to answer the Spirit’s call for excellence in ministry and new methods in evangelization.

Guest article written by: Eric Groth (President/CEO) & Doug Tooke (VP of Mission) of ODB Films