In our effort to think outside the box, are we missing it?

“We’ve got to start thinking outside the box.”

This is a statement almost every leader, pastor or minister has said. For decades, creativity and innovation have been defined by a person’s ability to look beyond the traditional methods of the organization or church.

But in our effort to think outside the box—are we missing it? Could it be possible your next innovative idea will come from “inside the box” thinking?

These are questions I’ve wrestled with for a few months. Then, I heard this from Bobby Gruenewald at Catalyst Conference:

Innovation comes from ‘thinking inside the box’; believing God has given you everything you need despite constraints.”

If you’re not familiar with Bobby, he’s one of the creative geniuses behind YouVersion—so he knows a thing or two about innovation. After chewing on this idea, I spent some time comparing and contrasting these two approaches.

When we’re constantly trying to think outside the box, we:

  • Open ourselves up to constantly complaining about our restraints.
  • Are tempted to focus too much on creating the next big thing.
  • Might become guilty of only dreaming and never doing.
  • Start to rely on our ideas and strengths instead of God.

When we begin to think inside the box, we:

  • Look for solutions or improvements to current restraints.
  • Trust God and everything He’s given us.
  • Are more prone to use the talents and abilities God has given us.
  • Free ourselves to make a real impact and accomplish great things.

So … before you spend an entire day trying to think outside the box, spend some time inside that box, because that’s where the true innovation lies.

What are some of the benefits you’ve seen from thinking inside the box? How have you harnessed this idea to accomplish great things?   

Justin Lathrop With over a dozen years of local church ministry Justin has spent the last several years starting business' and ministries that partner with pastors and churches to advance the Kingdom. He is the founder of (now Vanderbloemen Search), Oaks School of Leadership, and all while staying involved in the local church. Justin is obsessed with connecting people to people and lives his life daily to make the world a smaller place. He now serves as a consultant in the area of strategic relations predominately working with the Assemblies of God, helping to build bridges with people and ministries to more effectively reach more people. He blogs regularly about what he has learned from making connection at

More from Justin Lathrop or visit Justin at

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