"Pastor, I've got this great idea for a new ministry for our church. I really feel led to get started on this right away!"
Thus begins the saga. Will he or won't he follow up with this latest project? The idea sounds fine on the surface, but we don't know what we don't know. Will this individual come through this time? The last time we approved a new idea, this same person felt "unled" in less than 3 weeks. God changes His omniscient mind about such things, right?
Too many church projects start with the notion that "if we build it, they will come." I prefer to consider a new idea with my "show me" roots firmly in place. The "they will come" phrase came from a movie, not a business text or marketing manual. My epitaph shall not read, "I built it, but they didn't come."
I must admit the last time a well-meaning Timothy offered up THE phrase to me, I sent a few objects from my desk into orbit around the neophyte's cerebral area. The missiles were sent with love and compassion, of course.
So how does an effective leader properly vet a new offering plate full of ideas? Please consider the following filters for evaluating new works:
- Incubation—Has the project been bathed in prayer? I like to ask the question, "How long hast thou prayed about this idea, young Timothy?" When the young idea-machine responds with that look of shock about my daring question, I don't need the following steps.
- Leading—"You say the Lord wants you to lead this new project? Explain to me the ways in which you have heard from God on this?" Frequently the enthusiast recalls the bad cucumber consumed for dinner a couple of nights ago and no further action is required. Once again, forget the following steps.
- Analysis—"I'm intrigued by your idea, young man. Please share with me your analysis. Surely, you have counted the costs of this venture." Cost counting is a proper deterrent for dilettantes. Forget the following step.
- Board Review—Well, that should take care of the project. Please proceed with the last good idea, still awaiting proper execution.
There's absolutely nothing wrong with another good idea. May I send you a few?
NOTE: For over 30 years at Charisma Media, Steve and Joy Strang have used a two-page "Opportunity Screening Worksheet" to properly assess new project proposals. If you would like a copy of the Strang's Opportunity Screening Worksheet, please email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Steve Greene is the publisher and executive vice president of the media group at Charisma Media and executive producer of the Charisma Podcast Network. His book, Love Leads: The Spiritual Connection Between Your Relationships and Productivity, is now available.
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