Quote Spinner

The following page contains direct quotes from participants in research into innovation projects in the Uniting Church. Print out one or two copies (enough for each of your group to choose two) and cut each quote out. Make a pile in the centre of a table or seating circle for people to look through. Encourage each person to explore the pile and pickup two quotes that they resonate with.

“We have our own internal battles. When do we divert attention from these and look at challenges in the wider community?” “I had kept so many things separate in my life. It was all broken up. Doing this project was part of building bridges across my life.”
“I don’t think there is ever an easy time in these projects…someone is always suffering, or gets sick or a change comes up.” “Mission is simple, it is just being open and available for God to work through you.”
“Sunday morning fills me to be out in the community. It’s training not the game” “It is difficult to do a new thing in an old system. We would have been better to start fresh.”
“It is about what you can give not what you can get.” “Creativity is a significant part of spiritual work.”
“If Church is comfortable, I don’t want to be in it.” “The tissue box is part of the preparation.”
“We just experimented and learnt along the way.” “The essence of Christian community never changes.”
“I don’t measure our growth by the number of people showing up, it is the breadth and depth of our impact on the local community.” “What sets our community apart is that we notice each other. We are willing to share what is really going on in our lives and to give when there is need, it ties us together. We practice being a witness to pain.”
“I break the rules but I am getting the job done.” “The practice of constantly trying to generate new ideas for the future of the church is a demonstration of how insecure we are.”


  • Invite everyone to share why they chose their quotes – you might like to do this in pairs or small groups before sharing all together.
  • Were there any quotes left on the table, that weren’t chose by anyone in the group? Take a closer look at these. Why might they have been left out?
  • Mission, church planting, innovation are all contextual experiences that are difficult to teach or make formula for. If you had to share your wisdom on these areas in one sentence, what would it be? Write it out and share it with your group.
  • Many of the quotes talk about the role of creativity in mission, innovation or pioneering. What role do you think creativity has in Christian discipleship?
  • Some of these quotes characterise innovation and mission as being a heavy, difficult or complex task. Is this always the case? Why, or why not?

Wisdom from the pews

“The value of music and the creative arts in helping make a meaningful experience in gathered communities was heard again and again throughout the research. This also extends to less defined creative abilities such as: generating new ideas, building connections, shaping experiments, taking risks, learning as you go and bringing fresh perspective. ”

“While there was diversity across the projects studied, some core elements were consistent that perhaps represent mission at it’s simplest: hospitality, relationships, discipleship, serving others, living in community and growing in faith.”

“Retaining a clear sense of purpose is one of the most important parts of a project flourishing.”

Going deeper

Emergence in Organisations by Harvard Learning in Innovation Lab

Complexity, emergence and innovation in organisations – a brief animated illustration…