For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. ~ 1 Corinthians 2:11-12
The Holy Spirit within us consistently speaks to us about innovative ideas. Not only does he bring counsel, correction, conviction, truth, and information about the future, but He also speaks to us about how to respond to life’s circumstances. He helps us with creative ways to do what is in our hearts.
When the Holy Spirit gives you innovative thoughts or impressions, they might be new to you, but they are not new to God. God is a creative God, and you have creative abilities and gifts because you are a child of God. The Holy Spirit lives within you and you have the mind of Christ.
It is not uncommon for people to resist your ideas or recommendations. It’s important to listen to those who have other opinions – as we can have blind spots, or their ideas might be more appropriate. Also, remember that there will always be critics, enemies, divisive people, and people who disagree for no real reason. Many are afraid of living a life of faith and prefer the security they feel when everything stays the same.
New Wineskins for New Wine
New ideas and walking in the Spirit often require “new wineskins”:
“No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. If he does, the new piece will pull away from the old, making the tear worse. And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, he pours new wine into new wineskins.” ~ Matthew 9:14-17, Mark 2:21-22, and Luke 5:33-39
The scribes, Pharisees and (in this occurrence) the disciples of John questioned the way Jesus did things. On this occasion, Jesus was asked why he didn’t force his disciples to fast.
Jesus responded to them by making the point that he did not come to add new rules and regulations to Judaism. He didn’t come to repair or add to an old system. Doing that would be like putting new wine into an old wineskin. When the wine fermented, the wineskin would burst.
Change challenges our existing ways of doing things. To change, we must permit the mind of Christ,1 our transformed way of thinking,2 and the voice of the Holy Spirit3 to speak to our thought processes. As a result, we see the same things in new ways . . . that is innovative thinking.
It was unthinkable to the religious leaders and scribes that the Messiah would rule differently than the way they believed a leader should rule. The thought that the Messiah would be born in obscurity and die a criminal’s death was beyond their imagination. Jesus would serve with humility and suffer on the cross. He was an innnovator who brought LIFE and a new message to all who believed. His example tells us that as leaders, we too are innovators.
All of us experience many changes: physically, spiritually, intellectually, relationally, and emotionally. The Scriptures speak to us more about our development as believers (leaders) than about the details of what we do. All of us are in the process of becoming the people God meant us to be.4 Without change, growth is impossible.
Abraham, the father of our faith, understood the truth that it is impossible to remain where you are and move forward by faith at the same time.
The Lord said to Abram, "Go from your country, your people,
and your father’s household to the land I will show you.
I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you;
I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you." ~ Genesis 12:1-3
Abram experienced tremendous change through his meetings with God. God spoke to Abram’s entire life: his dreams, his career, and his destiny. He was given a new name, Abraham, to signify the depth of this change.
There was a long time between what God had promised him and the fulfillment of that promise. Many decades passed, and the promise of a child was not fulfilled for Abraham and Sarah. Abraham held steady with his faith. “Abraham believed the Lord.” 5
In spite of the circumstances, Abraham trusted God. He continued to walk by faith. When it became physically impossible and Abraham recognized his and Sarah’s inability to produce a child . . . God provided.
Innovation, trust, faith, and listening to the Holy Spirit are what we do as Christian leaders. In our own strength, we can’t do all that we hope to do. However, God will provide and give us the gifts to do all that He asks us to do. Today, begin asking God for an innovative thought. Pray and listen to the Holy Spirit who resides in you.
Always know that I am ….
Your Friend and Servant in Christ
Wayde Goodall, D.Min.
Dean, College of Ministry
P.S. Regarding growth and innovation, one of the best investments you can make in becoming a better leader and personal growth is to further your education. When you do this with the community of believers and exceptional faculty at Northwest University, not only will your faith be strengthened, but you will become an adaptive leader equipped to build the Kingdom of God. Use the links below for more information about our excellent graduate programs:
- Master of Arts in Bible & Theology
- Master of Arts in Leadership Studies
- Master of Arts in Ministry Leadership
 1 Corinthians 2:16
 Romans 12
 1 Corinthians 2:10-15
 See Romans 8:28
 Genesis 15:6