The Graveyard of Good Ideas

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by Ryan Stigile, The Unstuck Group

We’ve all seen it before. The team meeting went exceptionally well and everyone is energized by ideas that could greatly improve the church. But just six months later, conversations about “What will happen when…” have degenerated into “What ever happened to…” The initiative that once had everyone excited eventually landed in the “graveyard of good ideas.”

There are a few common reasons why good ideas fail. Understanding those barriers is key to ensuring they never get in the way again…

  1. Lack of Time – Most pastors I know have to-do lists much longer than their calendars allow for. When this is the case, good ideas are crowded out by immediate responsibilities. Google encourages engineers to leave 20% of their time open for new projects that they are passionate about. Likewise, church staff members need room on their plates before they can even dream of turning ideas into action.
  2. Everybody’s Working for the Weekend – Whether we like it or not, Sunday comes every seven days. Most staff positions are built around the weekly demands of creating a great worship service. This relentless short-term deadline makes it difficult for teams to focus on long-term initiatives. You need someone on your team without Sunday responsibilities who can lead projects that require significant follow-through.
  3. The Wrong Person Took the Ball – There are some people who are gifted to lead through the details of a project. Others on your team are more likely to fumble. Whenever you are delegating the responsibilities of a project, be sure you are putting them in the right hands. Understanding the unique gifts of each of your staff members is key to implementing any idea.
  4. Failure to Plan – It is easy to get excited about the vision of a new idea. But seeing it through requires additional steps that most teams never take. What specific actions must be taken? Who will do them and when will they be accomplished? These are all questions that must be answered.
  5. Resisting Trade-Offs – Successful organizations focus on doing a few things very well. Some ideas are so large that they require a trade-off. In these cases, a church must let go of something in existence for the sake of something more effective. Too often, organizations only add without ever subtracting, putting a clear limit on the success of new ideas (i.e. launching small groups without eliminating competing discipleship models). If you want to see a good idea come to fruition, you must be willing to make the required trade-offs.

Keeping good ideas alive involves avoiding each of these barriers. The Unstuck Group can help you do just that. If your team struggles to find time, see beyond Sunday, or put the right responsibilities in the right hands, a staffing and structure review can help. If long-term planning or accepting trade-offs is a challenge, a strategic operating plan may help you move forward. Drop us a line if we can help.

Photo Credit: brynmeillion – JAN via Compfight cc

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About Author

Jason Vernon

Jason is the Director of Content Development for The Unstuck Group. He graduated from Liberty University with a degree in Marketing and a Master of Arts in Christian Leadership. He also received an MBA from Lynchburg College. Jason was a Marketing Consultant for over 7 years. He currently serves as Communications Director at Free Chapel in Gainesville, GA.

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