Igniting Small Group Innovation: 5 Questions to Move Past Fear

It’s easy to let thoughts about failure and criticism hold you and your Small Groups back from innovation. All you have to do is nothing, just keep doing the same things, and you’ll continue to just drift along.

When was the last time, in those fleeting moments of honest, self-reflection, you came to the realization that your fear has stopped your innovation? In a recent poll, 85% of leaders agree that fear is holding back innovation.

To remove and relieve fear from your leaders and members, you must love your people.

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

1 John 4:18

When you love your people, they feel no fear. No fear to try new things. No fear of punishment. No fear of ridicule.

Innovation comes from the Latin verb innovare, which means to renew. It means to change and improve over time. It can also mean to replace, to be brought up to date.

In order to light the innovation fire within you and your Small Groups, you can start by asking yourselves these five questions. They will help you move past your fear and into an innovation mindset, which is the first step towards innovative action.

1. Innovation: Core Value. Does everyone knows that you are dedicated to innovation? At every occasion, talk, write, explore, and open up opportunities for innovation in your Small Groups. Do everything you can to ignite innovation.

2. Innovation: Positive. In what ways do you tell everyone that innovation is something positive? Something to be explored and pursued. You need to champion it consistently, telling it’s importance and positive influence on every level of your Small Groups.

3. Innovation: Signals. How are you communicating innovation in a relevant way? Your words, actions, and attitudes need to always speak about innovation’s significance to everyone inside and outside your Small Groups.

4. Innovation: Practice. In what ways do your rituals reinforce your commitment to innovation? Your meeting schedules, agendas, rewards, and water-cooler conversation need to routinely model innovation as routine. Invite all Small Group leaders and members to join in.

5. Innovation: Safety. Are you showing your leaders that they can innovate without fear? You need to shield and empower your innovators, to create a protected environment where everyone experiences the safety required to innovate without fear.

Only by clearly canceling the fears that hold people back from experimenting can you build a truly innovative culture.

Leading innovators understand that innovation will always entail risk. But they don’t let that stop them.

In Acts 6, the 1st century church ran into a problem. The number of disciples were increasing, causing problems with the daily distribution of food. Instead of just doing the same thing, they innovated. The Apostles gathered everyone and clearly stated the problem They identified the requirements and also delegated the selection process to the disciples. And what were the results?

So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.

Acts 6:7

You need to create and maintain a safe, innovation-centric environment. You must encourage and reward innovation. You must help your leaders and members find the courage to risk failure while pursuing inspiration and innovation.

The results might just include God’s word spreading with a rapid increase of disciples. Are you ready to innovate with and for God?


Chet Gladkowski is the Founder of GLAD Associates, Inc. (a). He has also launched Mark This Year – daily devotionals through the Gospel of Mark (b).

(a) https://chetglad.org/

(b) https://www.markthisyear.com/


  • Chet Gladkowski

    Originally from Baltimore, MD, Chet spent his professional career in the insurance technology arena; always looking for better solutions to help people. Now he uses his very unique, practical communication styles based on a variety of digital media, to approach the pain, issues, and heartache that people face with the solution-focused solely on a relationship with Jesus Christ as the answers to our greatest need.

    View all posts

Have a question or an insight? Leave it below!

Upcoming Events

July 2024

July 9-10: ACCELERATE SoCal
Learn More

Feb 2025

Feb 18-20: The LOBBY Gathering SoCal
Learn More


Follow Us

Sign up for our Newsletter

Daniel Thomas

Connections Director



Daniel serves as Executive Pastor at Community Church of Mountain City, TN.  Daniel and his family are on a mission to establish roots within their community, fight for peace and serve well.  He serves as our Connections Director in laying the groundwork for Circles. He loves great coffee and traveling with his wife Tia and two children, Deklan and Aden



Individual Registration – $209.00

Team of 2 Registration (price per person) – $199.00

Team of 3 or more Registration (price per person) – $189.00

*Registration ends on Nov 8th, 2021. Walk-in registrations are not available.