6 Church Innovations You’ve Never Heard Of

Community Garden Project. // Glengate Alliance Church, Niagara Falls, ON

I’m biased … this is my brother’s church. For a few years they’ve been responding to a practical need they saw in their community. It’s not easy to grow fresh vegetables or plants if you live in an apartment building or shared accommodations. Glengate is working to remedy that problem with its community garden project.

The idea is simple: the church rents 10′x19′ garden plots to members of the community and in turn, they get the chance to plant food or flowers for personal enjoyment. It’s a simple idea … but I love it’s community positive posture and how relationships flourish as the gardens grow. [Check out a full story in the local paper about the community garden.]

You know that big piece of grass you have at your building? Why not start a community garden on it?

284 Spontaneous Baptisms … in the Northeast! // Grace Community Church, Washingtonville NY

Grace Community Church is located in a bedroom community of New York City. You know … Godless, “liberal”, post Christian, ain’t nothing goin’ on in church world … Northeast.

A couple weeks ago they prayed and took a huge risk in the wake of a massive response to 4,000 people showing up their Easter Services. [You need to read the whole story by their Executive Pastor.] Here is a snippet of his reflections on the evening: “Tonight our pastor preached a simple message on the nature of baptism. He said, “We’ll baptize anyone now if you haven’t been already. Right now—in your clothes. Come up here.” And then I wept. I wept because the lines stretched so far to the back of the room. I wept because people forgot their dignity in the most glorious way. I wept as the educated and the enlightened buried their sin unabashedly.” In the end nearly 300 people spontaneously responded to the call for baptism.

Stunning. God is on the move. I love that the team at Grace took this bold and foolish risk! They responded to what they saw God already doing in their people and created an environment where their community could respond.

Are you leaving space for something spontaneous to happen in your services?

Free coffee, free Wi-Fi and plenty of couches. // Crossroads Church, Cincinnati OH

Crossroads is fantastic church with 3 locations around the Greater Cincinnati Area. But what caught my eye was at one of their locations they’ve designed the foyer to be a public meeting space as a gift to their community.

In addition to running a full slate of Sunday Services, Crossroads’ facility is open six days a week (Mon-Fri 6am-9pm, Sat 7am-8pm). They offer free coffee, free Wi-Fi and plenty of couches. They encourage their community to come for a meeting, just to hang out with friends, or even for a quiet place to read or pray. This is breathtaking to me … opening up their facility and staffing it as a service to their community. Love it.

What resources does your church have that you could freely give to community around you?

What amazing stuff are you seeing at churches that you know? We’d love to hear about in the comments section!  

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Rich Birch
Rich serves as Operations Pastor at Liquid Church in the Manhattan facing suburbs of New Jersey. He blogs at UnSeminary.com and is a sought after speaker and consultant on multisite, pastoral productivity and communications.