We do lots of things as a Church, but are those things effective? Judging by our numbers, what we are doing is not working. For every one person who enters the Church, six leave. What are the new methods and innovative approaches that will retain Catholics and draw more into our Church?

by Jason Shanks, President of OSV Institute

Pope St. John Paul II called for the New Evangelization – new in ardor, new in expression, and new in method. Yet, our approaches and methods have grown stale and have not substantially changed over the past 40 years.

The Catholic Church has preserved and built Western Civilization. Hospitals, music notation, great art, university systems, and caring for the poor, just to name a few, started with those who have gone before us. We as a Church, especially in areas of ministry, need to learn how to try, to fail, to iterate, and to try again. We have the ability to take the best from the world of ministry and from the world of entrepreneurship, and it is time to do it again – to innovate, to set the standard for the world, and to renew the splendor of our Catholic faith.

Innovation can mobilize, galvanize, and bring us together as a Church at the service of the New Evangelization. More than “invention,” innovation has a sense of “execution” which requires collaboration, cooperation, and moving in a common direction. It moves the Church proactively outward. Pope Francis talks about “accompaniment” and going to the peripheries. In business, this concept is knowing your customer and going to new markets. Our messaging and approaches must reach audiences who are not currently listening.

We don’t grow in our faith by keeping it to ourselves. We grow by giving our faith away. And it is by innovating to bring people to Christ and His Church that our faith grows, our dependence on our Lord grows, our trust grows, and our love expands. As such, there is an innovator in all of us, and the Saints of tomorrow will be the Catholic innovators of today.

As Catholics, we are inspired by innovation! OSV Institute and Catholic Creatives presented the first ever OSV Innovation Challenge Demo Day, which took place virtually on Saturday, August 29, 2020. Likened to Catholic Shark Tank, 12 Finalists presented their honed pitches to a panel of expert judges, and the three winning initiatives were Catholic Sprouts,  Eden Invitation, and  Juan Diego Network.  Each was awarded $100,000 as direct capital to support project completion. Are you ready to impact the Church and our world with a game-changing idea? Set to become an annual competition, you can participate in the 2021 Innovation Challenge by signing up to stay informed on when application submission reopens.