Innovation in Missions Is Critical

EMQ » October–December 2021 » Volume 57 Issue 4

By Marvin J. Newell

I once served under a leader that seemed to have a new idea every week. The ideas usually came to him over the weekend as many Mondays he would announce to the staff something like, “Disregard the directive I gave last week, I have a new idea of how we should go forward.” I was uneasy going to the office on Mondays, wondering if my boss would hit us with a new idea after time and effort had been expended on the previous one.    

This is certainly not to say new ideas are bad. On the contrary, innovation and new ideas in missions are critical to its continued effectiveness and advancement. It takes idea people thinking strategically and futuristically to keep people and programs pertinent and progressive. My former boss was only doing what he was gifted and compelled to do. He was focused on the future of the mission he led, wanting it to continue to be relevant in a changing world along with doing its very best moving forward. That is why on-going innovation in missions is important.

This edition of EMQ focuses on the place of innovation in missions, along with its counterpart Business as Mission (BAM) and/or Market Place Ministries. If you haven’t already noticed, innovation in missions has been the theme of Missio Nexus this entire year and was the topic of the recently held annual Missions Leader Conference in Dallas, Texas. Ted Esler, President of Missio Nexus, spoke on this topic, and his article kicks off this edition with attention to the field missionary and innovation. In the article he succinctly defines innovation as, “using something new to create solutions.”

The articles that follow Esler’s “Innovation and the Field Missionary,” flesh out additional innovative concepts that are worthy of consideration. Another group of articles are included that deal with the topic of BAM. UK writer Ian Prescott’s article on “Issues of Identity and Platform in Bringing the Good News” is a particularly helpful overview in this regard.

You may not think of yourself as an innovator, but this issue will catch you up on some current innovative thinking. Perhaps you’ll discover new ideas that will influence your thinking, decisions, and actions in the coming days.

Marvin J. Newell, D.Miss

Editorial Director

EMQ, Volume 57, Issue 4. Copyright © 2021 by Missio Nexus. All rights reserved. Not to be reproduced or copied in any form without written permission from Missio Nexus. Email:

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