Book Review: Ready or Not – Kingdom Innovation for a Brave New World by Doug Paul

06 Apr 2021


By Tanwin Tanoto

Ready or Not is a call for Christians to innovate and pioneer for the future. It is an invitation for kingdom leaders to reclaim their calling to innovate.

Written at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the book is a wake-up call for church leaders to think beyond the Sunday service and whatever used to be ‘normal’. In these uncertain times of lockdown, online churches and dwindling church attendance, author Doug Paul asks this timely question: “How does kingdom innovation happen and how can we make it normal?”

To answer that, Paul breaks down five phases of kingdom innovation: (1) Identification: framing the start of the journey by locating the big idea and framing the problem we’re trying to solve; (2) Ideation: generating new practices, concepts and ways of thinking to solve the innovation challenge; (3) Experimentation: launching, testing, adjusting and relaunching the innovation; (4) Mobilisation: knowing why and how the innovation worked so it can be mobilised; and (5) Multiplication: making the innovation scalable and removing as many barriers as possible. These five phases give us the framework and mindset that encourage innovation.

In each phase, Paul uses stories and innovations from the past to drive his points home. From the creation of Sunday school, the WWJD bracelet, the civil rights movement and Archimedes’ ‘eureka’ moment, to the great manure crisis of 1894 (!), Paul brilliantly illustrates the myth, barriers and triggers for innovation.

I find this book to be weighty. Weighty in a sense that it is better to be read slowly, with a journal in hand, so you can take notes along the way. Better yet, this is a good book to be read together with your leadership team. After all, ideas are generated better in teams. Overall, I cannot say this is a practical book because this is more of an idea book. So, it is weighty in the sense that it helps you to think and plan rather than do and copy. That is, after all, the essence of innovation.

In summary, this is an excellent and challenging book for all kingdom leaders. Whether you are a church planter, a pastor or a para-church leader, this book will tickle your creative bone and make you curious about what kingdom innovation looks like. I highly recommend the book, especially as churches and other Christian organisations are emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“You are not to be the reformed, gilding in gold the victories of the past. You are to be reforming: Active. Adaptive. Always listening, learning, searching, curious …  joining Jesus in what he’s doing next. This is the leadership we need for the brave new world we find ourselves in. This is how we find the future, together.”


Read another of Tanwin’s reviews HERE.