Turning Ideas into Reality, Part 2

Organization Not Optional

Once an idea is recorded, we are now getting into territory where personal preference becomes more of a factor than before. Getting your ideas down isn’t optional. The process you use to organize them is. Ultimately, go with whatever you’re comfortable with and understand. If you can’t use your system, there’s no point in having it.

My own preference is using a spreadsheet with multiple tabs covering different categories and platforms of communication (e.g. blog ideas, sermon illustrations, leadership teaching, staff meeting teachings). Once a week I sit down with my assistants and list every idea I’ve had over the past week with the main idea, any scriptures I want to use with it, and the category or platform it belongs in. Each idea is then listed chronologically within its assigned category. This way, I can see all of the resources I have within a particular area and have access to the freshest concepts within it.

Whatever method you go with, keep in mind that your organizational preference is optional. Being organized isn’t. Many pastors use the excuse that they’re not naturally organized. Translated, that means, “I’m too lazy to take the time to make my ideas more accessible.” When God has given you inspiration, there is no excuse for mishandling it. Even if it doesn’t come naturally for you. Do the hard work. If nothing else, find someone who is more organized and empower them to do it for you according to your preferred design.

Execution Matters Most

Ideas are overrated. Execution is what really matters. Ideas become reality because of something you do. Not because they are written down. So it’s essential that you have some kind of a system to make sure your thoughts are being filtered into your sermons, blogs, staff teachings, and any other place where you have a platform. If not, all you have done is buried them in a document rather than in your memory.

In my case, I have an assistant who regularly goes through my spreadsheet and makes sure the strongest ideas are being implemented in their respective areas. For example, when it comes time to plan out our sermons for the year, he has access to every single series idea I’ve envisioned up to that point. If we want to do a series on giving, everything I need on that topic is put in front of me.

You might not have the luxury of having a paid staff member to help you do all of this. But don’t let this stop you. Find a volunteer. Or set aside a set time in your calendar every week and do it yourself. The dividends it pays far outweigh the time and energy you will ever put into it.

And remember that it’s not ultimately about efficiency. This is about learning to harness the infinite sum of knowledge and inspiration that is at our disposal because of the God we serve.

Considering the fact that we have a God who is constantly at work to reveal Himself, there should not be another group on the planet that is coming up with better ideas than the people he has chosen to use as his instruments of revelation. Let’s not waste what we have at our disposal.

Read Part 1 of this series 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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