I have this coral bark maple tree in my front yard. Every spring it has amazing, fiery red branches of new growth. Contrasted with its bright green leaves, it’s the most beautiful thing to see out of my office window.
From the time I was in college, God used the image of a tree to remind me of what growth can look like in my life. As leaders, we all share a desire to grow in our leadership. Some might have a greater drive for it than others, but I’d suggest there isn’t anyone reading this post right now who would say, “I hope I’m a worse leader today than I was yesterday.”
No, I don’t think that’s the case. However, we can be guilty of investing very little in our personal growth. It just isn’t always on our radar. And a lack of thought or plan around personal growth is a recipe for stagnation. In fact, a lack of thought or plan around personal growth results in deterioration.
How do I know? Because without intentional focus and care, most things tend to deteriorate over time, not improve. From inanimate objects, like homes and cars, to biological things, like pets and gardens, there is a gravitational pull toward decay.
That’s why I love trees. Trees demonstrate what it looks like for me to resist that gravitational pull toward decay by intentionally partnering with the One who crafted me.
Psalm 1:3 paints a vivid picture of a vibrant, healthy tree standing beside a stream with green leaves and lots of fruit. That seems like a natural outcome for a tree; the tree is simply doing what it was created to do. To produce green leaves and fruit. To provide protection and shade for those around it.
Yet, we know that the health of the tree is not dependent upon the tree. It’s dependent on the soil in which it is rooted, the stream that waters it, the sun that nourishes it. There is a clear partnership between the tree, the soil, the sun, and the stream. The tree does very little to make the soil a healthy habitat. It’s the stream and the soil that provide this life. There are a few places in Scripture regarding the soil and stream that give us greater insight into the tree in Psalm 1.
In Matthew 13, Jesus paints a picture of different types of soil. Only one type received the seed and experienced sustained growth. The good, fertile soil produced a harvest greater than one could imagine. Then in John 7:37, Jesus proclaimed the Holy Spirit to be “living water” that nourishes beyond what our earthly bodies can comprehend.
Each of these parallels give us insight into how we can grow, what growth requires, and what we can do to promote it.
In fact, when it comes to our personal growth, there are three simple steps we can take this month to set the stage for deep, soul-satisfying growth this summer.
Metaphorically, we are the Psalm 1 tree. As David contrasts the differences between rooting yourself in God’s Word or in the shifting perspectives of culture, it is clear that we have a choice. When we choose His truth, we are like the tree that chooses to plant itself near the source of life, the stream. Consider: How close to the stream would you say you’re currently planted? Is it time to move? How close are you willing to get?
Yield Your Heart
Once planted, yield the soil of your heart to the streams of Living Water. Allow God’s Word to nurture and enrich your heart. Allow the Spirit to root out anything negatively affecting the health of your heart. Invite God to reveal anything hindering your growth, then confess it and ask for restoration. Invite the Spirit to reveal His Truth to you to replace any lies you’ve uprooted.
The tree had one action to take: To drive its roots deep into the rich, fertile soil. Everything else is a product of that one action. The same goes for us. We have one action to take each day: To daily drive our roots deep into the soil enriched by God’s Word. Know that a regular cadence of time spent in His Word, asking hard questions, examining what you believe, and inviting God to reveal something new about Him is critical to your growth. Use tools like The Bible App and establish a regular time of reading, studying, and journaling your thoughts.
In leadership, the most important person you lead is you. So make sure you have a plan this summer to draw nearer, drive deeper, and grow more than you ever thought you could.
For other ideas to make this summer more productive and impactful, check out Don’t Quit, available now at Amazon and DontQuitBook.com. Join the Don’t Quit Workshop, online Tuesdays, September 4-25. Register and find out more at DontQuitBook.com.
Whether you’re at a church of 50 or 500 or 5,000, you should be embracing and utilizing social media and all it offers. But the reality is, many churches simply cannot afford—or choose not to put paid resources into—staff for these roles. Regardless of where your church falls on this spectrum, it’s going to be important that you build a team of volunteers to assist with all that this entails. You can’t do it alone, and you certainly shouldn’t! Here are some of the types of people you should be looking for:
You can have great content all day long, but if you don’t have photos of your church, your people, events, etc., it’s all going to fall pretty flat. It’s been said many times before, but it’s always worth reiterating: a social media post without a solid visual is not going to land well. Social media is a visual game, after all. You can’t abandon words entirely, but your imagery counts for more than 50 percent of a social post’s success.
Find people who have a good eye for photography. If they (or you) have a nice camera, that’s great—but iPhones take pretty good pictures nowadays too, so it’s not a deal-breaker if they don’t have the latest Canon product! Set some basic guidelines for your photographers and make sure that they understand your expectations for how and what they should be photographing, so you can integrate it well with social media.
It's been said many times before, but it's always worth reiterating: a social media post without a solid visual is not going to land well. Click To Tweet Writers
It may not be something you think much about, but all social media posts from big brands and business are written by someone who is paid to do just that—write! So, having someone who is a writer on your team who can help you craft witty and well-constructed captions for your photos or announcements for your events is going to be crucial. Good writers are good communicators and having those kinds of people on your side is going to ensure your words are strung together well.
You’re going to need event graphics, right? Perhaps some photos that need touched up or a watermark put on them? A designer will be able to do all of these things and more. They are the perfect people to help you visually lay out your posts in such a way that makes sense and looks appealing to your audience. They can consult with you on colors, fonts, and picture selections so that everything is cohesive and fits together with intentionality. Think of this person as your visual architect, helping all of the pieces of the puzzle fit!
If you’re able, get all of these people in a room together regularly to talk about social media and your plans. At the least, a monthly meeting can help everyone get on the same page about what’s going on. The other benefit of having a team is that you’ve got multiple brains working together, which will inevitably lead to fresh ideas, innovation, and good moral support.
I remember when I was in high school, and even into college, I hated group projects. They always seemed to go the same way. One or two members of the group did all the work, and the entire group received the same credit. Or, one or two members would fail to do their part and would bring the entire group down with them in the process.
Why would teachers do this? It just seemed cruel and unnecessary. However, as an adult, I now understand that working together with others, sometimes even in a team environment, is an actual part of life. Unlike some of the things that I might have learned, or not learned, in math classes, learning the dynamics and how to work together with people is something that you will actually use in life.
Ironically, as I write this, it is early in the morning and I am sitting at my desk, working by myself. But, the truth is that in pretty much every job on the planet you will have to deal with and work with other people. So, here are six tips for playing—or working—well with others.
Remember you were bad once too.
Sometimes the hardest thing about working with other people can be the difference in skill or experience level. For someone who has been doing a certain job or task for any length of time it can be difficult to tolerate working with someone who lacks that same level of experience. However, what we often fail to consider is that there was a time when WE were new too. There was a time when WE didn’t know what to do, or how to do it.
One way to help ensure you work well with others is to remember that you were bad once. When I first started in children’s ministry I was REALLY bad. I knew absolutely nothing about children’s ministry. But, I had a desire to serve and my pastor had asked me to lead our children’s church and I wanted to follow his direction. So, I did it . . . and it was ugly. But, I learned, and I got better. Over time, I like to think I became pretty good at it.
Remember that there was a time when you were not much better than this new team member, if at all.
Remember you have bad days, too.
In the midst of difficult days, it can be easy to become frustrated with other members of your team. Why can’t they do it right? Why are you always having to pick up their slack? Why does your leadership put up with this? The truth is that the thing that is frustrating us today, may simply be the result of a bad day for them.
Guess, what. You have bad days, too.
Do you want others to judge you, or treat you based on your worst days? Probably not. On the days that you are just a little off, you are likely counting on your teammates to not only pick up your slack, but to cut you a little slack as well. If you want to work well with others, cut them some slack on their bad days. Sadly, you may oftentimes be the only one willing to do so.
Just be nice.
This one should be a no-brainer. I mean, we all want people to be nice to us. Sadly, this is not always automatic. This is even true in ministry. But, being nice can go a LONG way. You never know what that team member is going through outside of work. You never know what sort of stressors they are dealing with. You don’t know what negative, internal dialogue they are fighting, even as you work with them.
So, just be nice.
Often in my nursing career, patients would thank me for being nice. It always seemed strange for people to thank me for being nice. Shouldn’t we all be nice? Regardless, my response is almost always the same, “It doesn’t cost any extra to be nice.”
So many people act as if being nice is going to somehow cost them something. They act as if there is something to be gained by being mean, or at least unfriendly. Truth is, being nice actually works in your favor. Being nice will often lead people to be nice back to you, even if they aren’t to other people. It’s even possible that you could end up being the only person that is nice to that teammate.
Help them grow, or they will likely go.
There is a sad tradition in nursing. We tend to “eat our young.” We are very quick to forget that we were at some point, perhaps in the distant past, a new nurse, or a student. This leads us to treat people new to our profession poorly. Ministry is not exempt from this. We can, at times, forget that we were once really bad at this too.
Personally, I’ve always felt grateful to have another team member. My thought was always that, if I could help them grow, then not only would they be more likely to stick around, but they could become a much stronger team member. If I was patient and took the time to help them grow, then not only would they become stronger, but the team would as well. There really does come a point where we can help them grow, or live with the reality the they will likely go. I’d much rather help them become a strong, productive member of the team than let them leave and be left with a hole where they once were.
Offer more than you ask.
We’ve all worked with that one annoying person that seems to be constantly asking for help. You don’t want to be that person. I’m certainly not saying that we should not help those people. I’m also not saying we shouldn’t ask for help when we need it. In fact, we should never be shy to ask for help.
This is really much more about mindset and attitude. When you arrive to work each day, your goal should be to offer more help than you ask for. Note that I did not say offer more advice, than you ask for. I did not say offer more opinions than you ask for. I said offer more HELP than you ask for. In fact, help, even when you’re not asked. Do things for your team members, even if they haven’t asked.
But, do it how THEY like it, not how you like it. That’s truly not as helpful as you might think. But, that leads to our next point.
When you arrive to work each day, your goal should be to offer more help than you ask for. Click To Tweet Remember your way is A way, not THE way.
Each of us has a unique way of doing things. In some cases your way may actually be better. However, in most cases, your way is just a DIFFERENT way of doing things. It may work better for you, but that does not mean it will work better for everyone. It certainly doesn’t mean that they are doing it wrong.
In fact, it is even possible that the way they do it is actually better. Regardless, you have to remember that your way of doing things is not necessarily better. It may simply be different. This is not to say that you can never offer some helpful advice to a teammate. It simply means that you need to be careful in how you handle it. AND, you should not try to constantly conform everyone to your way of doing things. If you look, you might even be able to learn something from them.
Bottom line . . .
A very wise person once said that we should, “Do unto others as we would have them do unto us.” We often refer to this as the golden rule. We teach it to little children, yet, as adults we often forget it. I think if we truly used this as a guiding principle in how we treat others at work, or anywhere else in life, then the rest of these points wouldn’t even be needed.
So, I leave you with this, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
Every church and organization has a mission statement that defines what the organization does, and where they are heading. However, the attitudes, behaviors, and beliefs of the organization are what create momentum and synergy behind the mission. The staff culture is something that can catalyze growth, or can ultimately hamstring your team and organization from reaching their full potential. Here’s a quick look at five symptoms of a healthy staff culture. While this list isn’t exhaustive, these values, if modeled by senior leadership and embraced by the staff, will radically change the work environment and buy-in of your church staffs.
There’s a lot of debate centering around who’s the greatest basketball player of all time. Whether you feel it’s MJ, Lebron, or another Hall of Famer, the simple truth is this: the team outperforms the individual every time. Yes, there are players that change the dynamic of the game every time they step on the court—but even the greatest players couldn’t compete if playing alone against another team.
Yes, there are players that change the dynamic of the game every time they step on the court—but even the greatest players couldn’t compete if playing alone against another team. Click To Tweet
Churches are no different. Even if you have a celebrity pastor teaching on a weekly basis, their ability to deliver is dependent on a team who creates the environments, opportunities, and connections for people to engage with your church. Rapidly growing and healthy churches embrace this reality, and it’s central to the overall staff culture.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of comparing gifts, platforms, and influence. No matter your gifting, you have value. We have to be quick to remember that each person’s gifts are simply that: gifts. They are skills, mindsets, and personalities entrusted to individuals by a creative God. For us to elevate or minimize the gifts of a teammate is foolish and unbiblical.
Embracing the mindset that we’re better together ultimately increases ownership amongst individuals in your organization, and helps tear down ministry silos. We’re going to give our best because we want to help move the team toward advancing the mission of our organization. Likewise, it causes a sober-mindedness for individuals and teams to consider the impact of their decisions on the whole.
When I was in junior high, there was a clothing brand that was known for it’s ridiculously wide-leg jeans. Certain styles would have individual leg openings wider than the waist, and teenagers would parade them around the mall, basking in their denim glory. Eventually, society moved on to new styles, but the company kept pumping out jeans with enough fabric to meet the back-to-school needs of one of those massive families on TLC. Because the brand refused to change their product and method, their marketshare quickly eroded away.
Churches with dynamic and healthy cultures refuse to have “just another Sunday” and to do things simply because “it’s how they’ve always been done.” They listen to culture, and constantly evaluate and challenge themselves to stay sharp. There’s a value of innovation to improve processes, increase efficiency, and reach an ever-changing market. With new processes and ideas, comes the reality that some old methods must die. However, these churches embrace the temporary discomfort of necessary endings, so that they can take strides toward preferred future. To be blunt, churches that refuse to innovate have expiration dates.
Keep the Main Thing the Main Thing
Resources are limited, but the opportunities to say yes to new things are never ending. Whether it’s adding a new ministry, hosting a new event, or planning out the sermon series for the rest of the year, it’s vital to ask this question:
Is this advancing our mission the farthest and fastest?
Saying no to ideas that are stale, poorly-conceived, or just plain wrong is easy. However, when a key team member presents a great idea that, on paper, seems right—our natural inclination is to give it the green light. The reality is, it’s easy to find ourselves in a rhythm saying “yes” to a bunch of good things that will ultimately hog the resources necessary to do the best thing for our organization.
Whether your church primarily focuses on discipleship, reaching outsiders, mobilizing missions, or NextGen ministries, it’s vital to keep the main thing the main thing. Learning to say no to good ideas is the only way you can ensure you are laser-focused on your advancing your mission.
Be a leader worth following
We ask a lot of people who call our churches home- serving, giving, small group involvement, and to attend regularly. We can get cynical when we look at a growing list of vacancies on a volunteer team, or the annual dip in giving during the summer. However, if we, as leaders, aren’t willing to do the things we’re asking of those we lead, then they won’t follow us.
Jesus modeled this for us: He cared for those overlooked or cast out by society; He knew people well enough to weep with them; and He washed the disciples’ feet. If we’re not willing to live above reproach or do the small tasks that help provide opportunities for ministry like stacking chairs, sweeping patios, or stepping into a short-handed and frenzied preschool classroom, why should we expect somebody else to do so?
Yes, the lasting reward for hard work and long hours is seeing life-change happen in the people who attend our churches. No, that doesn’t mean we should excuse a stale or toxic work environment for our teams.
Leaders want to love what they do, but it’s just as important for them to love where they do it. Creating a culture of fun, celebration, and care will reinforce to your staff that they, as a person, matter more to your church than what their job function is. People that enjoy where they work stick around longer, and are aggressive in recruiting friends to join your team. If you don’t care for your teams enough to ensure they love where they work, don’t be surprised when begin looking to find that place.
At the beginning of the year, during one of our Sunday morning huddles, I offered every small group leader a simple challenge. I asked each of them to take a couple minutes after all of their kids had left, and get into the habit of writing a postcard to one kid in their small group. Just one.
Not all of them. Not three. Just one.
Our church staff has known for some time that the average family attends church once every four to six weeks. That may shellshock those of you who attend regularly, but it also sheds some light on how building and leading a small group culture in church can be difficult. For various reasons, some families are just not coming back.
In 2018, it’s not hard to imagine why parents at church don’t need a rotating teacher to lecture their child for an hour more than they need a real-life, consistent coach to listen to them. Today’s kids don’t need a cool craft more than a candid conversation. This generation of families need an entire tribe of people to help model to their kids what a life of authentic faith can really look like.
This is where Lead Small comes in. One of the best strategies we’ve found to help keep our small group culture in motion involves a commitment to knowing exactly what’s expected of a small group leader. After years of defining and re-defining what this very significant role was supposed to look like, Lead Small had finally given our team a common language around five simple principles that would see our small group leaders equipped, encouraged and empowered throughout the year.
In its purest form, Lead Small reminds leaders that their primary job is to simply show up in group, have honest conversations about faith, know parents, and think about what’s next for each child—all while keeping their own faith a priority.
Writing a postcard may seem like one of the most basic, cliché forms of follow-up in the history of children’s ministry. But when taken through the lens of Lead Small, it becomes so much more powerful.
A postcard reminds a child that a small group leader is still present in their lives . . . even when it’s not a Sunday.
A postcard can be full of powerful words that prove a small group leader really knows a kid and that they are a safe, trustworthy voice in that child’s life.
A postcard reminds a parent that a small group leader is for them, that they enjoy their child and even miss them.
A postcard reminds a small group leader of the power of God’s voice and kindness in their own life, which only inspires them to do more.
A postcard can even be used to influence a kid’s future as a leader encourages them to take a step toward whatever’s next.
As we’ve cast vision to our team around these principles and have tried to raise the bar on expectations, it becomes apparent that even a postcard is not just a postcard.
Under the influence of Lead Small, small group leaders behave differently because they believe in what they do differently. They won’t write a postcard because they’ve been asked as much as they will write one for the kid in their group who didn’t speak. Or for the kid who spoke too much. Or for the kid who needed to be reminded of the truth of their identity in Christ that week. They take notice.
After church that Sunday, I walked back to my office with 50 postcards! Fifty kids whose faces lit up when they found mail with their name on it. Fifty kids whose week was made because another caring adult showed up randomly in the middle of the mundane. Today, we have mailed over 400 postcards to kids at our church.
When you lead small, everything changes. Even the way you write postcards.
You recognize that the smallest acts of kindness can make the biggest difference.
You remember that as your seemingly small words are written down, you are taking part of a big story, a life-size postcard, that God is writing to raise up the next generation.
What simple strategies have you seen become more powerful when taken through the lens of Lead Small?
New to Lead Small? Check out the book that started it all—Lead Small: 5 Big Ideas Every Small Group Leader Needs to Know
For many of us in ministry, summer is a welcome break, a time to take a breath, shore up standards, and try new things. Programming is a little less rigid, and that’s a good thing because volunteers tend to be sparse this time of year.
Summer is also a great time to evaluate your current leadership development model and see where your ministry is coming up short. If you want fall to be a strategic season of growth, you’re going to need a plan to RAISE up additional leaders to help you manage your ever-expanding mission field and capture the momentum.
Using the acronym RAISE, here are five questions to help you assess your effectiveness as a developer.
Are you RESPONSIVE?
A great leader dispels uncertainty. He or she responds to questions, concerns, or ideas promptly. It’s not enough to ask for feedback. Those you lead should feel acknowledged and considered when decisions need to be made.
Ask yourself …
Do I return calls and answer emails in a timely manner?
Do I hoard information or do I share details as soon as they are available to me?
Do I discount others’ ideas or do I listen and consider implementation?
Do I have a system for those I lead to offer feedback on a weekly basis?
Are you APPROACHABLE?
Passion activates creativity. Most leaders want passionate people on their teams, but is your demeanor actually diverting creative solutions? When you’re accessible, open-minded and amicable team members will eagerly bring suggestions and proposals to you.
Am I social and friendly?
Am I confrontational or easy to talk to?
Do I ask questions and offer compliments freely?
Are you INVESTED?
When you choose to invest in someone you lead, you intentionally carve out time and put forth effort to see him or her successfully reach the next level of leadership. If it’s not personal to you, it’s not a true investment. Dividends require risk and a sacrifice on the part of the investor.
How much time do I spend each week with those I lead?
Do I consistently speak vision?
Do I offer constructive feedback?
Are you SUPPORTIVE?
You’ve heard the saying: “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” It’s easier said than done. Like lemons, life can sometimes be tough and messy. Those you lead need to know you will be with them through whatever comes their way. Supporting your team means knowing them, loving them, and doing life alongside them.
Do I seek to know the individuals who make up my team?
Am I committed to seeing my team through the highs and lows of life and ministry?
Do I celebrate the successes of those I lead?
Are you EMPOWERING?
The life span of your ministry is directly linked to your ability to pick up and release tasks and initiatives. Those you lead need to know you trust them. They need to feel comfortable making important decisions. At some point, you were given the opportunity to lead, and you made the most of it. Those on your team are ready and waiting for the same opportunity. Don’t allow your fear of failure to rob others of their calling.
Do I authorize team members to brainstorm and implement solutions?
The product of healthy leadership is the development of great leaders. Let’s make a resolution this summer to begin to produce leaders who are responsible, approachable, invested, supportive, and empowering. Let’s build the necessary infrastructure this summer so our ministries are positioned for impact this fall.
For other ideas to make this summer more productive and impactful, check out Don’t Quit, available now at Amazon and DontQuitBook.com. Join the Don’t Quit Workshop, online Tuesdays, September 4-25. Register and find out more at Don’tQuitBook.com.
In a world driven by creativity and innovation, many companies and churches today often struggle to find a way to create a concept and bring that concept to fruition. This has led to many churches and departments being incapable of reaching its full potential due to a lack of structure and vision. Here at Little Mountain, we will explain the importance of how to incorporate not only a creative concept, but how to innovate that concept into your church to bring the idea to life.
As a kid you probably had a very vivid imagination and could easily immerse yourself into this world of endless possibilities. Yet, when it comes to designing your new children’s space, you find yourself overwhelmed and incapable of coming up with any “cool” ideas. This is often because you may have lots of ideas coming at you from all directions, with no structure on how to bring those ideas together, collectively as a whole. Creativity isn’t just for those with exceptional skills in artistry and music, creativity is in every single person. You don’t have to create something grand to be creative, simply look at what’s around you and look for ways to improve those elements within your means. We at Little Mountain are very versatile in helping churches create a concept design for their spaces.
Lots of churches have great ideas and vision for their future, but fail to innovate it into action. Therefore, some churches struggle to improve their spaces because they spend too much time on the ideas presented to them, that they never move into the “action phase.” But for most, it’s simply a struggle to find the right company to help bring their ideas to life. Creativity is good, but if you never take the step to action, you’ll never achieve your desired goal. Little Mountain can help you take that next step toward action by designing, fabricating and ultimately, installing your ideas into your spaces.
Lastly, when you combine your creative design with an innovative drive, you will begin to see the productivity of your project in clear view. Little Mountain is a great example of this. We walk hand-in-hand with our clients every step of the way, from on-site consultation, to design, and ultimately to installing your finished project. If you are having a hard time coming up with a concept for your space, we can help you to imagine what it could look like through our stunning visual designs. If you have an idea and need help making it a reality, we can bring that idea to life.
There is no idea that is too big or too small for us to create.
The more you incorporate a healthy balance of creativity and innovative processes in your workplace, the better the outcome of your project will be. You can also find that partnering with Little Mountain will exceed your expectations through creative interior design. If you have any questions regarding your space or our products, please feel free to connect with us at www.thinklittle.com or call toll-free at 888-583-7455.
We are here to serve your ministry with excellence!
The Orange Conference is a special kind of training event. It crams together thousands of ministers for children, family and students with amazing speakers, tons of fun and great insights into three amazing days. It is an awesome experience that everyone should be able to enjoy and experience at some point.
Unfortunately, as great as the three-day conference is, not everyone can attend—whether that is due to timing, affordability or something else entirely. That is why Orange started taking the conference experience “on the road,” as the Orange Tour.
Every fall, Orange visits numerous cities across the country and takes the conference to them in the form of Orange Tour stops. This year Orange Tour begins September 7 in Atlanta, Ga. and goes all the way to November 9. You can find out which city they are visiting here.
Why should you and your ministry team attend Orange Tour in a city near you?
Well, here are some reasons why Tour is perfect for you and your team:
1. It’s affordably priced. When you go to a conference, you aren’t just paying for the conference, but you are paying for food, travel, hotels, etc. That can add up to a lot of money, especially if you have a lot of people on your team that you would like to take to the conference. However, with a tour stop, you are paying for a day of training and lunch. That’s it! Considering it is just a one-day tour stop (two if you include the extra Lead Small Night), the price is more budget-friendly to attend than a conference.
2. More members of your team can come! With the lower cost of admission and elimination of a lot of the travel costs, more of your team can come experience what Orange is all about it. And when more of your team can come, more can learn and grow as leaders.
3. Great speakers and discussion. Even though the Tour is condensed, Orange brings a great group of speakers and leaders. The faces you see at the conference are often at the Tour as they lead main session and breakouts throughout the day. And, with the Orange Tour, there is a more intimate setting where you have a greater chance of engaging the speakers in a follow-up discussion.
4. Meet other regional church/ministry leaders from your area. Whereas the Orange Conference brings together leaders from all over the world, the Tour is more regional focus. It was a great way to meet with, network, connect and share experiences with others who are right in your area.
While it would be awesome for everyone to experience the Orange Conference, it may not be possible. That is why the Orange Tour is the perfect opportunity for you and your team this fall. Not only will you get great training that is affordable and helps you connect with others in your area, it will also give you a taste of Orange. So, check out their Tour Stop Schedule and sign up quickly. You won’t regret it!
Join us this fall in one of 20 cities across the US for Orange Tour. Lead Small training will take place the night before each Orange Tour stop, except Irvine, which will be a two-day event. Anyone with a tour ticket can attend the training for free. For complete event details, please visit www.OrangeTour.org.
Ideas are everywhere. Like the space around us, ideas and creativity are always within our grasp. Sometimes it takes a little inspiration to make us aware of the ideas and creativity right in front of us. I hope this article becomes that inspiration.
I stare at her and think to myself, “Where does she come up with all of those thoughts? How can she sit there, time and time again, and create these elaborate, complex, exciting worlds with two dolls?” But then I think back and remember how free and full my imagination was as a child. What about yours?
Do you recall times when it was not so hard to create these imaginary environments that generated the most amazing experiences? Somewhere between childhood and adulthood, we lose a massive degree of imagination. But here is the good news. It is not hard to find.
I believe that busyness is the thief of imagination. As kids, we had plenty of time to explore and let our imaginations run wild. However, in what seems like a flash, responsibilities and ambition fill our calendars. Now, instead of rainbows and lava floors, our minds are filled with the next goal or priority on our lists.
Well, let’s do something about that. Without further ado, let’s spark our creativity! Let’s start the engines to produce fresh ideas. Here are four quick tips to breathe life back into our imaginations:
Make Time for Ideas
Remember, busyness is the thief of imagination. If we do not make time for ideas, we will not have ideas. What is currently filling your time that does not have to? Begin making time for your ideas.
To start, blocking out a 15-minute period of time each day will help to generate the creative juices. Hopefully, more things will come off of our calendars to provide even more dedicated time toward idea generation and implementation.
In case you were wondering, at least an hour per day is ideal thinking time. Imagine what our ideas could produce if we made the time to think them through deeply.
Stick to Them
We become most like the people we spend the most time around. Who do you know that consistently has outstanding ideas? Find them and stick to them. Before you know it, you will discover what ignites their creativity and begin to cultivate your own.
Though age does not dictate our level of creativity, I also encourage you to spend time with those younger than you. Kids, teens and young adults refuse to be bored. Spend some time with them to discover what sparks their imaginations.
Use Both Eyes and Ears
Entertainment is a wonderful source to pull ideas from. Movies, music, stage plays, game shows, and more provide an endless supply of ideas. To make the most of our time, however, it is a good idea to use both eyes and ears when enjoying them.
I used to have to watch movies or listen to songs multiple times to extract ideas from them. Watching or hearing the first time was for pure enjoyment. But I would later forget exactly what happened or what was said during a great moment of the movie or song and have to watch it again. So, now I watch and listen with both eyes and ears.
I watch and listen to enjoy and extract. While watching movies in theaters, I quickly jot down an idea or quote that hits me. Fortunately, thanks to technological advances, we can now pause and rewind music or recorded movies/TV shows to capture the ideas.
Be Ready to Write
The best ideas have the tendency to come at the most random of times, so we have to try our best to capture them immediately. A few ways to do this are by keeping a physical, pocket-sized notepad, an Idea list on your mobile device, or some version of voice recording.
These ideas often come when we are in the middle of doing something, so quickly capture a brief description of the idea. Details are not vital at this point, unless you really have the time to capture them. Once captured, we can take them into our 15-minute to an hour thinking times to really flesh them out.
Well, I hope the creative juices are already flowing! I look forward to hearing and seeing what comes from implementing these tips.