You finally get people to show up to your planning meeting. You are ready to take the ministry to the next level. But, you’re nervous.

Your nervous because you are afraid it’s not going to be helpful. You’ve tried this before, you’ve tried gathering a group of people to share ideas and collaborate only to discover THE IDEAS THEY HAVE STINK!

One of the reasons we avoid collaboration and carry all the burden on our own shoulders is because we don’t trust the feedback.

It makes sense. After all you are the professional, you’ve got the background and this is your full time gig. They are just a volunteer, a parent, a teenager, what can they offer?

A WHOLE LOT

To collaborate correctly you need to CHECK YOUR HEART. If pride is an issue you need to combat it by:

  • Going to God in prayer and leaning into His insight
  • Sharing your situation with a trusted colleague, friend or family member who doesn’t mind calling you out
  • Deciding to commit yourself to letting go and delegating the responsibility to someone else

Check your heart so that you can lead with the people that God has given you. They are there to help you take the ministry to the next level.

The purpose of being collaborative is to share the burden of problem solving so that you can move your ministry to the next level. If you want to be collaborative and not have to sort through horrible ideas:

HAVE THE RIGHT PEOPLE AT THE TABLE

In order to have healthy and creative conversations you need to make sure the right people are in the room. That means being selective with who you invite. Include:

  • Listeners
  • Outside the box thinkers
  • Risk takers 
  • Encouragers
  • Affirmers

Basically, anyone who is going to move the conversation forward. You can include people who are realistic and practical as long as they aren’t going to limit the scope of the conversation.

COME WITH A GOAL IN MIND

Before you jump into the meeting make sure everyone knows what you hope to accomplish. If the goal isn’t clear then brainstorming will get messy and unproductive.

To clarify the goal make sure you have done research on the subject matter. Present that information to your team before the meeting so they know the context behind the conversation.

If everyone is informed and clear on what they are trying to accomplish the conversation will feel productive. People will be more focused, eliminating random and unhelpful ideas.

DON’T FEAR CONFLICT AND TENSION

Healthy brainstorming will involve conflict and tension. That’s because ideas are going to be challenged and clarity is needed.

If conflict emerges don’t hide from it, instead engage it. Ask people to defend their ideas and fully explain. In the end you, or the leader will have to make a final decision but make sure people are heard.

The goal is to get clarity and commitment around the what has been decided. And that is possible even if people don’t initially agree.

You need to be proactive if you are going to work with a team. It might seem like a lot of effort and it is initially but the payoff is worth it.

Collaboration builds depth and leadership. It will not only bring more ideas to the table but enthusiasm and energy. It’s what will take your ministry to the next level.

What are some of brainstorming best practices that you’ve used in the past?

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  • Linda says:

    Love your stuff and don’t want to be the teacher with the red pen, but it is “You’re nervous…” not “Your nervous…”

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