5 Stages for Launching Creative Projects at Your Church

We get asked all the time about how we come up with new and fresh ideas for Catalyst. It’s a pretty simple process that has proven to be effective. This can be useful in any organization or scenario, whether you are launching ideas, or just looking to make sound decisions. Here you go:

1. Create– we spend a ton of time just brainstorming, which is obviously a very important part of the process. The more ideas on the board, the more opportunities for one of those to make it through the process. All ideas matter at this stage. For example, we have probably 300-350 programming ideas every year for our October conference. And creative meetings are “yes and” meetings, not “no but.” Incredibly important!

2. Criticize – every idea, in order to stay in the process, has to be critiqued and criticized significantly. This is key in order to make sure you don’t spend tons of time chasing too many rabbits and driving everyone crazy with lots of good ideas but nothing ever happening. And make sure everyone doesn’t take things personal- criticizing an idea is much different than criticizing the person who came up with the idea. It’s not personal. This stage is a filter, and weeds out lots of possible ideas that just don’t have the legs to keep moving up the grid.

3. Optimize– anything that makes it pass the criticize phase has to be built on. In some ways, this is a second and third wave of innovation. Most of the time the original idea will turn into something that looks totally different. And that is okay, and actually important and needed. This is really the essence of putting icing on the cake. A bit of time will usually bring clarity and renewed energy to an idea, so we have to usually let good ideas cook a bit in order to make them great.

4. Validate– every idea has to be validated- financially, operationally, personnel wise, and direction/vision related. Lots of big ideas appropriately get held up in this phase, either to be released later or put on the shelf for good. Conversely, in many organizations, lots of bad ideas make it through this phase because of bad systems and/or leaders who aren’t willing to say no, or a team that can’t say no to the leader. Leaders- if you are using your position and power to push the wrong ideas through the validation phase, this is a major red flag!

5. Execute– it all comes down to getting things done. Hard work is time consuming and tiring. We take tremendous pride in execution on ideas. If it has gone through the entire process and made it to this point, the idea deserves the attention and focus to make sure it happens. And if every level of the Idea process grid was correctly put in motion, the idea is probably going to be good when turned into reality!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Brad Lomenick

Brad Lomenick

In a nutshell, I’m an Oklahoma boy now residing in the South. I am a passionate follower of Christ, and have the privilege of leading and directing a movement of young leaders called Catalyst. We see our role as equipping, inspiring, and releasing the next generation of young Christian leaders, and do this through events, resources, consulting, content and connecting a community of like-minded Catalysts all over the world. I appreciate the chance to continually connect with and collaborate alongside leaders.

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COMMENTS

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Recent Comments
If someone wants entertainment they're going to the wrong place. Church is not a place for entertainment...or in my opinion a barrage of coffee and donuts. Why are churches today bringing the world INTO them? Then there's the thing with children...age appropriate??? These little guys can pick stuff up in service. Besides Jesus said Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. Mt. 19:14.
 
— Laurie
 
I love the intentionality here as well as the challenge to look at the data. That's missing so many times. I would like to offer a contrarian's take. Church members and regular attenders have so many ways to get information: Announcements, bulletins, social channels, relationships, and email being among the options. But brand new people are likely going to check out the website and that's it. It might be wiser for churches with limited time and resources to focus their website almost exclusively to guests. This group of people isn't looking for a calendar of events but wants to know about regular programs. They probably aren't interested in watching all of the messages but instead may want to preview one of the services. For the times we need church members to go to websites (sign up for camp, join a group, etc), we're probably better off designing and promoting a specific page rather than cluttering up the homepage.
 
— Michael Lukaszewski (@mlukaszewski)
 
A great question! Unfortunately, the Church Unique Kit is no longer available in print form. We are working on revising it and updating it into an online experience, but that project is at least six months out. An alternative is to come to an upcoming certification class. There is one May 15-18 in Houston, and October 23-26 in Atlanta.
 
— VRcurator
 

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