Church planters generally have a “boat load” of creative and innovative challenges ebbing and flowing in their minds. Such “opportunities” are regularly presented to them by enthusiastic ministry partners. Believing that Aristotle was “on the money” when he insisted that “well begun is half done”, how can a new church leader be more effective in evaluating innovative challenges? A few suggestions:
- Pose challenges as open-ended questions using phrases such as “how might we …” can be used to generate specific ideas for specific challenges.
- Discipline your team to focus on only one objective or idea in each challenge.
- Keep evaluative criteria from hindering creative activity. A focus on judgment during times when you are trying to generate ideas often leads to information overload, lower-quality ideas, and the seeding of a negative climate. Evaluative criteria can bog down idea generation by considering the merits of individual ideas before all possible ideas have surfaced.
- Welcome broad levels of challenge abstraction. Broad challenges encompass a greater number and diversity of potential challenges. Overly specific challenges can be limiting in scope and not contribute much from a strategic viewpoint.
- You may have participated in brainstorming sessions with your planting team when finally someone spoke up and said: “Now exactly what is our challenge?” That is a sure-fire sign that additional framing is needed due to a lack of clear, unambiguous articulation of the challenge.
Innovation and church planting were made for each other. Enjoy and innovate to the glory of God as the practice when exercised regularly is a marvelous leadership development experience.