Turning Ideas into Reality, Part 1

Yesterday I told you I would be giving you access to my system for recording, cataloging, and implementing my ideas. After writing it out, I’ve decided it’s much too long for one blog post. I don’t want to shortchange you by reducing it, so I’ve divided it in two. The second half will be posted tomorrow. Here is the first half of the process:

The Birth of the Idea

The genesis of any system for getting your ideas from your mind to reality starts with the initial moment of inspiration. I’ve found that these moments occur in two different ways.

Sometimes they will appear out of nowhere. I’ll be doing something that requires zero creativity, yet one of the most creative ideas I’ve ever had will come to me. You’ll find that your subconscious is often working harder than your conscious mind ever will. Collecting random bits of information and making connections you never would. When God decides to use it to present you with something fresh, be ready.

Others come through learned observation. What I mean is that you have to train yourself to become aware of everything around you and its illustrative and revelatory potential. The books I read are no longer just for my own personal edification. They are goldmines for ideas. Every conversation I have, my favorite memories from family vacations, everything has the potential to birth an idea inside of me. Because God has created the world, everything around us possesses the possibility of more fully revealing the One who created it. Or giving us insight into the way His creation is designed to work. So keep your eyes open.

The first source of inspiration requires little to no work. The second may require intensive examination and reflection. Both are required if you want to maximize your mind’s full potential.

Get it Down.

The next step is crucial. It’s the one most pastors never get to and why most ideas never see the light of day. Ingrain this instruction in your head: write everything down.

Record every creative impulse. Every good idea. Every bad idea. Every possible vision initiative. Every potential illustration. When you’re reading, if the author says something in a fresh way that could illustrate one of your own concepts, record it immediately. Don’t highlight the sentence and hope you remember to flip back and find it later. You won’t.

Write it on a napkin. Record it on your phone. Write it on your iPad. Tatoo it on your arm if you have to. Whatever you have to do, just get it down. Some of your best sermon ideas were never preached because they weren’t written down. You thought you’d remember. You didn’t.

I write most of my thoughts in a Moleskin. But I’ll also do whatever it takes. I’ve called my own voicemail before and left a message just so I wouldn’t lose an idea.

However I end up recording it, I follow up and transfer it to either my computer or my iPad to make the second half of the process more efficient. We’ll pick up there tomorrow.

For now, keep your eyes open for every little piece of inspiration God gives you. And have a pen ready.

Read Part 2 here.

Read more from Steven here.

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Steven Furtick

Steven Furtick

Pastor Steven Furtick is the lead pastor of Elevation Church. He and his wife, Holly, founded Elevation in 2006 with seven other families. Pastor Steven holds a Master of Divinity degree from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is also the New York Times Best Selling author of Crash the Chatterbox, Greater, and Sun Stand Still. Pastor Steven and Holly live in the Charlotte area with their two sons, Elijah and Graham, and daughter, Abbey.

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comment_post_ID); ?> I am a senior citizen who has lived in many areas of the US, the farthest south being Virginia DC area. There are several church plants in the area--some failed, some doing well. One of the sadist failures was a plant in NW Washington near a large Presbyterian Church (I had been an elder in the church, so I knew the area) where changes in church doctrine was driving many away from the PCUSA churches. There were many mature Christians who lived in the area who were very willing to participate and give generously to the church. Its failure was a loss. The pastor and his wife lived in a VA suburb, wanted something that would appeal to their tastes, which included "praise music". There was a professional piano teacher and several people who had sung in choirs in the area. Their suggestions were completely ignored. Forget that there was joyous participation in singing hymns and silence by many for the praise music. The experienced church leaders that were attending were expected to seek the wisdom of the pastor who did not live in the area rather than have any role in leadership. There is another church plant in Northern Virginia that seems to be going the same way. My take: the pastors should get past their high-school and college days culture and get to know and appreciate the people of the community. Do not try to reproduce Intervarsity or Campus Crusade. Hymns are not a sin and "uneducated" (never graduated from college) should not be ignored as uninformed or stupid. People who have served in and/or live in the area are needed in leadership and not just to serve coffee and give. We all need to pray together and serve God in the community in which there is to be a plant. Glenna Hendricks
— Glenna Hendricks
comment_post_ID); ?> I like it Mac and do agree with your opinions on the matter. Thanks much
— winston
comment_post_ID); ?> In this era, we have the opportunity of professional church staff today who utilize their gifting to shape the image and atmosphere of the church organization. But the 100% real impact on the church visitors is genuine evidence of changed lives by the gospel and the active growing discipleship (just as it was in the first century church). One demonstration is financially rich believers ministering equally together with poor believers (how odd, and incredibly miraculous; all humble and bow at the foot of the cross.). It is the awesome contrast of church members vocations, race, gender, age, maturity, gifting, humility that demonstrates to visitors "there is a Spirit in the place". That first-time guest list of 10 are "physical excuses", not spiritual excuses. Those don't tell the story. The condition of facilities and publicly greeting people have zero to do with it. The power of God in and through believers lives dedicated to impact other people with their relationship bridge-building of acceptance of the lost around them. Empowered believers are infectious, loving, helpful, giving, self-less, dynamic, compelling, bold, Christ-filled. As I have been in many church settings domestically and internationally, the facilities can be poor, and yet the fellowship can still be rich. We need to operate with first church humility. People come to Christ on His terms, not on our human abilities of hospitality. A huge catastrophe in a community, disaster relief brings lots of people into churches – many come to the church in those terrible conditions no matter the physical condition of the local church. Off the condition of facility, and onto the condition of God's people (living stones).... and everything else will grow.... and the other physical issues will be corrected by the staff.
— Russ Wright

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