The eccliosystem is not disadvantaged in resources, people, money, or vision.
The challenge of our day is that of creativity and imagination.

Ted Esler

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Innovate or Stagnate

It really is that simple.

As the world changes around us by the nanosecond, can the church afford to stand still? Though the gospel itself isn’t up for innovation, the way it’s seen, heard, believed, and experienced has to be relevant to people of today—and of tomorrow, as well.

If you’re leading a ministry organization, your job isn’t just to see the change that’s coming but to get your people ahead of the curve—then stay there. Jesus himself was an innovator. He blew apart his culture’s paradigms and ushered in a whole new way to seek the kingdom of God. Can today’s leaders of the Lord’s people do any less?

Don’t let the innovation crisis mark the organization you lead. Instead, create disruptive influence and open up new space so the Spirit of God can blow freely in our midst.

“We have lost our voice in culture. What we offer is not attractive to a society that has moved past our paradigms. The world is looking for something new and different. If we want to regain that voice, we must innovate.” – Ted Esler

See what others are saying

The Innovation Crisis is disruptive in the best possible way, calling leaders to reawaken the creative fire that has grown cold. It is an invitation to creative possibilities, bold risks, and taking the first steps. Read this book and ignite your imagination.

Peter Greer
President & CEO, HOPE International and co-author of Mission Drift

Many churches and faith-based nonprofits struggle to adapt to the rapidly changing technological landscape. In “The Innovation Crisis,” Ted Esler brings clarity to the extent of this challenge and paints a sobering picture of what continued failure will mean for the church’s ability to engage with present and future generations. He also offers a roadmap for how church leaders and their communities can rethink the issues, identify the obstacles, and develop solutions. Every church and missions leader would benefit from reading this book.

Dr. John Chesnut
President/CEO, Wycliffe Bible Translators USA

As a missionary leader, I expect innovation. But what many leaders find difficult to handle is disruption. It’s messy. Ted’s book provides insight into externally and internally induced disruption that—if approached with humility and discernment—can lead to a positive and fruitful future. It’s a good read.

Greg Mundis, D.Min.
Executive Director, Assemblies of God World Mission

God’s children are both designed and redeemed to innovate, but perhaps our vision has been blurred by “business as usual?” This book is a call to reclaim our identity as courageous and creative engagers of need and potential, and to watch for it in others – in men and women both. What do I see that others perhaps yet do not, and what might God be requiring of me to move toward it? Ted provides both solid inspiration and practical advice to release needed innovation in the Body of Christ that would robustly enhance our mission to serve the world!

Wendy Wilson
Executive Director, Women’s Development Track

This book is a gold mine of challenging insights for you and your leadership team – equal parts conviction and inspiration!

Steve Richardson
President, Pioneers USA

Ted is that voice in the crowd everyone stops to listen to. From innovating on the mission field to leading large organizations, Ted’s wisdom comes from rich experience. His challenge to do more than maintain the status quo is God’s necessary and timely word to all leaders and their teams who are asking God to give them the next step. Here in your hands is that next step.

Terry Sanderson
Lead Pastor, Calvary Church, St. Peters, MO

Uber and Airbnb are examples of innovative companies that leveraged already existing products to service the world in new ways. These are just two examples of the kind of innovative culture in which we live. My friend, Ted Esler, understands there is an innovative crisis in the church and that if the church is going to reach this culture, one of the ways it will do so is through creative and imaginative innovation. I pray you will find this book encouraging and challenging as the church seeks to share and show the gospel in innovative ways contextual to our time.

Ed Stetzer
Executive Director, Wheaton College Billy Graham Center

There truly is an innovation crisis occurring today among well-meaning churches and Christian ministries. With a clear biblical focus, combined with insights gleaned from decades of frontlines leadership, Ted not only identifies the deficits that have caused the innovation crisis we are experiencing, but also offers workable solutions that can reverse the trend. Drawing richly from history, while introducing unique concepts such as “Eccliosystem” and “The Shoemaker Rules,” Ted leads the reader into a new realm where God-honoring innovation can become the new norm and produce long-lasting results. I have known Ted for over two decades and he is more than qualified to lead us out of the innovation crisis and into more fruitful ministry.

Jamie Rasmussen
Senior Pastor, Scottdale Bible Church and author of How Joyful People Think

Ted Esler’s book, The Innovation Crisis, couldn’t be more timely. Drawing on his knowledge of technology developments and as President of Missio Nexus—a worldwide association of ministry agencies and churches—Dr. Esler raises a fresh challenge for ministries in the post-pandemic 21st century world. Instead of investing time and energy to reinstate ministry practices of the past, he challenges readers to seize the post-pandemic world as an opportunity for creative innovation.

Carolyn Custis James
Author of Half the Church: Recapturing God’s Global Vision for Women and Malestrom: Manhood Swept into the Currents of a Changing World

The Innovation Crisis is an urgent call to take a hard look at why our faith communities are increasingly irrelevant. Ted presents an unvarnished look at why we’re in crisis and offers proven solutions to not only overcome our malaise but actually set the pace for the future. This is more than a book; it’s an invitation to participate in high stakes change.

Stephan Bauman
Former President/CEO of World Relief, author of Seeking Refuge: On the Shores of the Global Refugee Crisis

A distinctive aspect and characteristic of Ted Esler’s DNA is his ability to research, analyze, and comprehend a subject matter for the sole purpose of bringing about solutions. Effectively done, he addresses the topic of innovation in ministry today. This book highlights the problem and suggest solutions. My observation of Ted is that he is a fixer, which gives testimony to the accuracy of my endorsement of this book as an excellent read for inquiring minds on the subject of innovation in ministry.

Reverend Ron E. Nelson
Co-founder and CEO, Sowing Seeds of Joy

The Innovation Crisis speaks in plain language of the realities of today. Readers will see themselves and their ministries at various stages throughout the book. Frankly, it soon becomes personal and convicting. At the same time, Ted gives the picture of hope and courage to risk innovation backed by models of the past and imagination of the future. A clarion call to follow our Creator God in leading through Innovation.

Jo Anne Lyon
General Superintendent Emerita The Wesleyan Church

Who should read this book?

  • Leadership teams, from churches, mission agencies, local outreach programs, social service ministries, and just about any ministry that needs to consider innovation.
  • Pastors who are not satisfied with the status quo of their ministry.
  • Church staff who yearn to see breakthroughs in ministry.
  • Kingdom focused business leaders, non-profit leaders, and those experimenting with new structural forms.
  • Mission agency staff, field teams, and support organizations.
  • Foundations, major donors, funders, and development officers.

Read this book with your team for greatest effect.

Ted Esler

About the Author

Ted Esler is President of Missio Nexus, the association of mission agencies and churches in the US and Canada. Missio Nexus coaches, networks, and trains churches and other organizations that are focused on the global Great Commission. Before coming to Missio Nexus, Ted was a field missionary in Bosnia and Croatia, and he held leadership roles with Pioneers for 25 years. Ted has a PhD in intercultural studies from Fuller Theological Seminary and is often asked speak nationally and internationally.