Reinvention as a Spiritual Practice

We all know that reinventing how we do things is essential for keeping up in today’s ever-changing ministry environment. We’re always finding ways to adapt and innovate. But beyond the obvious reasons for continuous improvement, reinvention invites us into a deeper spiritual practice…

At its core, reinventing ourselves requires an openness to new ideas and a willingness to challenge existing leadership models. It means pushing out of our comfort zone and questioning our assumptions about what’s possible. It also invites a deeper curiosity, and a willingness to ask probing questions about the future. These are all forces that serve as can openers to our soul…

And that’s why all of this is very unsettling. When we reach beyond our reach we are touching the unknown. And we are better disposed to expose and then exercise our trust in God.

Ten years ago, I entered into an immersive season of reinvention when we made the decision to move from Kentucky to Minnesota. Beyond just the physical relocation, there were also huge emotional transitions as I entered into a new ministry environment and system, new leadership, and new community. I was well outside my comfort zone—I had no choice but to reinvent as a leader and pastor.

At its best, reinvention is an invitation for us to think more deeply about our actions and how they can shape the world around us. Every decision we make has implications. But often we’re unaware of that impact because we are over-familiar with our processes and patterns. When we open ourselves to reinvent, we look at everything from a different angle, and we re-discover the impact of our agency.

Most of us don’t choose this path on our own—generally, a crisis or significant life change serves as the impetus for reinvention. But however you wind up in this unsettling place, exercise the spiritual practice of curiosity. What can you learn about how this situation is challenging your assumptions? How are your feelings directly affecting you? What are the transformative lessons you are learning? What areas in your life are primed for reinvention? When was the last time you reconsidered your spiritual formation process?

True leadership is not just about power and control. It’s an invitation to reimagine the possibilities and create a more equitable world. Reinvention, then, is not only about improving our own performance—it’s also about fostering real transformation in the lives of those we lead. How are you purposefully investing in other staff members or leaders in your congregation? What is holding you back? This is an important time to consider the powerful implications for investing in others

By embracing change and cultivating a spirit of curiosity, we open new pathways for growth and greater impact. In the book Think Again, author Adam Grant offers meaningful next steps for reinvented ways of thinking, inviting curiosity to improve the quality of our “rethinking.”

  1. Question Assumptions—One of Grant’s fundamental pieces of advice is to question our own assumptions. In leadership, this means constantly reevaluating our beliefs and strategies, and being open to feedback and new ideas. This is a powerful first step for reinventing your leadership mindset.
  2. Adopt a Scientist Mindset—This means treating our assumptions and practices as hypotheses to be tested rather than facts, and being willing to rethink and revise them in light of new data. Be bold in your experiments. Surround yourself with creative people willing to innovate ideas for ministry. Learn how best to evaluate your experiments and ideas.
  3. Prioritize Humility—Grant advocates for humility in leadership—which means recognizing that we don’t have all the answers and consciously opening ourselves to learn from others. This is very important to fostering a culture of rethinking and growth.

So, let’s embrace curiosity and continue to reinvent our leadership to create more impactful ministries. The power of God’s Spirit can inspire and cultivate new adaptations to meet the ever-changing dynamics of ministry. Take your first steps today!

Rev. Dr. Mark Slaughter serves as the Minister of Worship Arts at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Burnsville, MN. In addition to his 35+ years of ministry, he received a Doctor of Ministry from Fuller Theological Seminary, a
Master of Divinity and Church Music from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and a Bachelor of Music from Belmont University.


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