If you aren't innovating, stagnation isn't far away.
Ministry leaders carry the burden of keeping their organizations lean, focused, and relevant. The stakes are especially high for churches and other organizations that fulfill the Great Commission. When souls are on the line, there's no room for bureaucratic bloat or sustaining a cumbersome infrastructure. It's up to the leadership—that's you—to realize where the organization is in maintenance mode and find ways to innovate even when the growth curve has slowed and the team has started to grow complacent.
Using missions disruptor William Carey as an example, Ted Esler shows how you, too, can innovate in ways that change the ministry landscape. Esler will help you keep an eye on your "eccliosystem"—the ecclesial ecosystem in which you exist. You'll learn about the four stages of organizational culture—disrupting, innovating, sustaining, and stagnating—and gain strategies for staying in that sweet spot where innovations keep coming and stagnation can't take hold.
The gospel of Jesus Christ never grows stale. Don't let your ministry ever forget it!
Praise for The Innovation Crisis
"The Innovation Crisis is an urgent call to take a hard look at why our faith communities are increasingly irrelevant. Ted presents an unvarnished look at why we're in crisis and offers proven solutions to not only overcome our malaise but actually set the pace for the future. This is more than a book; it's an invitation to participate in high-stakes change."
–STEPHAN BAUMAN, former President/CEO of World Relief; author of Seeking Refuge: On the Shores of the Global Refugee Crisis
"Many churches and faith-based nonprofits struggle to adapt to the rapidly changing technological landscape. In The Innovation Crisis, Ted Esler brings clarity to the extent of this challenge and paints a sobering picture of what continued failure will mean for the church's ability to engage with present and future generations. He also offers a roadmap for how church leaders and their communities can rethink the issues, identify the obstacles, and develop solutions. Every church and missions leader would benefit from reading this book."
–DR. JOHN CHESNUT, President/CEO, Wycliffe Bible Translators USA
"A distinctive aspect and characteristic of Ted Esler's DNA is his ability to research, analyze, and comprehend a subject matter for the sole purpose of bringing about solutions. Effectively done, he addresses the topic of innovation in ministry today. This book highlights the problem and suggests solutions. My observation of Ted is that he is a fixer, which gives testimony to the accuracy of my endorsement of this book as an excellent read for inquiring minds on the subject of innovation in ministry."
–RON E. NELSON, cofounder and CEO, Sowing Seeds of Joy
"As a missionary leader, I expect innovation. But what many leaders find difficult to handle is disruption. It's messy. Ted's book provides insight into externally and internally induced disruption that—if approached with humility and discernment—can lead to a positive and fruitful future. It's a good read."
–GREG MUNDIS, Executive Director, Assemblies of God World Mission
"Ted is that voice in the crowd everyone stops to listen to. From innovating on the mission field to leading large organizations, Ted's wisdom comes from rich experience. His challenge to do more than maintain the status quo is God's necessary and timely word to all leaders and their teams who that are asking God to give them the next step. Here in your hands is that next step."
–TERRY SANDERSON, Lead Pastor, Calvary Church, St. Peters, MO
"God's children are both designed and redeemed to innovate, but perhaps our vision has been blurred by "business as usual"? This book is a call to reclaim our identity as courageous and creative engagers of need and potential, and to watch for it in others—in men and women both. What do I see that others perhaps yet do not, and what might God be requiring of me to move toward it? Ted provides both solid inspiration and practical advice to release needed innovation in the body of Christ that would robustly enhance our mission to serve the world!"
–WENDY WILSON, Executive Director, Women's Development Track
"Uber and Airbnb are examples of innovative companies that leveraged already existing products to service the world in new ways. These are just two examples of the kind of innovative culture in which we live. My friend Ted Esler understands there is an innovative crisis in the church and that if the church is going to reach this culture, one of the ways it will do so is through creative and imaginative innovation. I pray you will find this book encouraging and challenging as the church seeks to share and show the gospel in innovative ways contextual to our time."
–ED STETZER, Executive Director, Wheaton College Billy Graham Center
"The Innovation Crisis is disruptive in the best possible way, calling leaders to reawaken the creative fire that has grown cold. It is an invitation to creative possibilities, bold risks, and taking the first steps. Read this book and ignite your imagination."
–PETER GREER, President & CEO, HOPE International; coauthor of Mission Drift
"The Innovation Crisis speaks in plain language of the realities of today. Readers will see themselves and their ministries at various stages throughout the book. Frankly, it soon becomes personal and convicting. At the same time, Ted gives the picture of hope and courage to risk innovation backed by models of the past and imagination of the future. A clarion call to follow our Creator God in leading through Innovation."
–JO ANNE LYON, General Superintendent Emerita, The Wesleyan Church
"Ted Esler's book, The Innovation Crisis, couldn't be more timely. Drawing on his knowledge of technology developments and as Ppresident of Missio Nexus—a worldwide association of ministry agencies and churches—Dr. Esler raises a fresh challenge for ministries in the post-pandemic, 21st twenty-first century world. Instead of investing time and energy to reinstate ministry practices of the past, he challenges readers to seize the post-pandemic world as an opportunity for creative innovation. In this rapidly changing world, we always have more to learn, new generations to reach, and better tools than were available in previous ministry eras. This book is packed with new ideas to challenge your thinking, eye-opening examples of ministries that looked backward and failed and of others that employed new ideas and tools to charge forward. This book has found its moment. Read and be inspired."
–CAROLYN CUSTIS JAMES, author of Half the Church: Recapturing God's Global Vision for Women and Malestrom: Manhood Swept into the Currents of a Changing World
"This book is a gold mine of challenging insights for you and your leadership team—equal parts conviction and inspiration!"
–STEVE RICHARDSON, President, Pioneers USA
"There truly is an innovation crisis occurring today among well-meaning churches and Christian ministries. With a clear biblical focus, combined with insights gleaned from decades of frontlines leadership, Ted not only identifies the deficits that have caused the innovation crisis we are experiencing, but also offers workable solutions that can reverse the trend. Drawing richly from history, while introducing unique concepts such as "Eccliosystem" and "The Shoemaker Rules," Ted leads the reader into a new realm where God-honoring innovation can become the new norm and produce long-lasting results. I have known Ted for over two decades and he is more than qualified to lead us out of the innovation crisis and into more fruitful ministry."
Senior Pastor, Scottsdale Bible Church and author of How Joyful People Think