Ten Ways Church Leaders Can Get More New Ideas

Are you stuck in a rut? Do you find yourself searching the web for solutions to ministry problems, or looking for the latest church leadership workshop? I’d like to suggest some other ways to generate new ideas. We all have more resources and creativity than we realize, both within ourselves and within our church.

1. Think about what you want in your ministry (or your life), not what you ought to want.
2. Put your body in a different position. Take a walk, or lie down on the floor.
3. Drink some water and breathe deeply. Your brain needs water and oxygen to work.
4. Do the dishes. You’ll be surprised what crossing your hands in running water can do for your brain.
5. Write down the problem or issue, and make a list of ten solutions you’ve never thought of before. Don’t worry if some of them are ridiculous. Pick the two or three best and try them out.
6. Think about what would be fun to do, rather than the right or best idea.
7. Use colored markers to write down new ideas. Or draw some pictures.
8. Pray about it before you go to bed, then forget about it while you sleep. Write down any ideas you have when you first wake up.
9. In meetings, give people two or three minutes to think of their own ideas before you begin discussing an issue.
10. Ask someone unexpected for their ideas. If you’re in a preaching rut, ask your 10-year-old for sermon ideas. If you want some new ideas for youth ministry, ask the most relaxed 80-year-old you know for his or her thoughts.

I’m indebted to Dave Ellis for some of these ideas, and for stimulating my own thinking on ways to come up with new ideas. I’ve been experimenting with them in my own life and work.

What ideas do you have for getting new ideas?

3 replies on “Ten Ways Church Leaders Can Get More New Ideas

  • Margaret Marcuson

    Donna, I just heard of some new ideas on meeting covenants/agreements, which I’ll send to you when I get home next week.

    Joel, thanks so much for your thoughts on wilderness. That’s a great idea!

  • Joel Maners

    The best way to think deeply and clearly is to spend some in the wilderness. With no distractions or interruptions, your brain changes after a few days. It’s like detox for your mind and spirit.

  • Donna Schaper

    I like your stuff. Very interesting. Do you know of covenants people use before meetings? Which include how we will behave electronically during meetings?


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