On Thursday morning of Orange Conference 2023, Leslie Mack helped us to open our minds and hearts to innovation.

She started off having us use our imagination: You are vacation with your family. You’re in a gift shop, and you find yourself standing at one of those racks looking for your name on a keychain. Then you find your name! We all know that feeling when we see our names in unlikely places. It helps us feel celebrated.

Leslie, then, told us to take that feeling and multiply it. That’s the feeling that brands are offering the next generation, all over the place.

What if brands and companies are better than the church at seeing the image of God in kids and teenagers? Why do we often miss it in the church? Maybe because we often think change and innovation are the same. We’ve changed a lot, but have we truly innovated?

Leslie had two primary reasons she believes this is the case:

1. Innovation is inconvenient, and we’re kind of obsessed with convenience.

2. Innovation takes trust, and we often don’t like taking risks.

Maybe the most rebellious thing we can do, Leslie suggests, is break up with convenience and trust a generation who doesn’t yet trust us. Maybe we can learn from companies and hand over things to the next generation and ask for their input and leadership.

When you give a kid or teenager a menu, it shows them we trust them to make a decision. What if we held hands and together were everything to everyone, but stopped trying to do that on our own.

When you give a kid or teen opportunities to hone a skill before they’re not quite ready, we show them we trust them. What if we believe that harnessing potential was better than holding tightly to our platforms?

Innovation doesn’t have to be complicated.

Leslie, then, closed with a powerful statement:

“What if innovation is the new invitation to a skeptical generation’s participation in the cultivation for their formation into everything in God’s imagination.”

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