Saturday, January 29, 2011


From time to time, people in your ministry will come up with novel ideas for ministry. "I have a friend who can shape balloons into little puppies. What if we went to the park every Saturday and did balloon art for kids and shared the gospel? Don't you think that would be cool, Pastor?"

Now before you answer that, let me give you a tool that might be helpful: In your response, try to connect their "what" with your "why." Sometimes the ideas that people have (the whats) are a little off of the church's mission (the why). If you don't connect the "whats" with your "why" you will end up with a lot of divergent ministries, going in a lot of different directions. If you can connect the "whats" to the "why" you can end up with a lot of creativity pointed in the same direction.

Taking the illustration of the balloon artist (something I made no offense please), your response could go something like this: "Interesting idea. I've been thinking lately about our mission, and how we want to create an authentic Christian community that reaches out effectively to unchurch people with love, acceptance and forgiveness. Is there a way that you can see your idea expressing authentic Christian community that would reach out with love?" Now we're talking. You've got them thinking about your "why" and how to connect their "what" with it.

I find that some pastors, when outside-the-lines ideas come to them, are a little too quick to say, "No, I don't think that would work here" and miss a very teachable moment; a moment when you can teach them, not what to think, but how to think. And you just might end up with a new balloon ministry that is on mission.

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