Turning Ideas into Reality, Part 1

Yesterday I told you I would be giving you access to my system for recording, cataloging, and implementing my ideas. After writing it out, I’ve decided it’s much too long for one blog post. I don’t want to shortchange you by reducing it, so I’ve divided it in two. The second half will be posted tomorrow. Here is the first half of the process:

The Birth of the Idea

The genesis of any system for getting your ideas from your mind to reality starts with the initial moment of inspiration. I’ve found that these moments occur in two different ways.

Sometimes they will appear out of nowhere. I’ll be doing something that requires zero creativity, yet one of the most creative ideas I’ve ever had will come to me. You’ll find that your subconscious is often working harder than your conscious mind ever will. Collecting random bits of information and making connections you never would. When God decides to use it to present you with something fresh, be ready.

Others come through learned observation. What I mean is that you have to train yourself to become aware of everything around you and its illustrative and revelatory potential. The books I read are no longer just for my own personal edification. They are goldmines for ideas. Every conversation I have, my favorite memories from family vacations, everything has the potential to birth an idea inside of me. Because God has created the world, everything around us possesses the possibility of more fully revealing the One who created it. Or giving us insight into the way His creation is designed to work. So keep your eyes open.

The first source of inspiration requires little to no work. The second may require intensive examination and reflection. Both are required if you want to maximize your mind’s full potential.

Get it Down.

The next step is crucial. It’s the one most pastors never get to and why most ideas never see the light of day. Ingrain this instruction in your head: write everything down.

Record every creative impulse. Every good idea. Every bad idea. Every possible vision initiative. Every potential illustration. When you’re reading, if the author says something in a fresh way that could illustrate one of your own concepts, record it immediately. Don’t highlight the sentence and hope you remember to flip back and find it later. You won’t.

Write it on a napkin. Record it on your phone. Write it on your iPad. Tatoo it on your arm if you have to. Whatever you have to do, just get it down. Some of your best sermon ideas were never preached because they weren’t written down. You thought you’d remember. You didn’t.

I write most of my thoughts in a Moleskin. But I’ll also do whatever it takes. I’ve called my own voicemail before and left a message just so I wouldn’t lose an idea.

However I end up recording it, I follow up and transfer it to either my computer or my iPad to make the second half of the process more efficient. We’ll pick up there tomorrow.

For now, keep your eyes open for every little piece of inspiration God gives you. And have a pen ready.

Read Part 2 here.

Read more from Steven here.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Steven Furtick

Steven Furtick

Pastor Steven Furtick is the lead pastor of Elevation Church. He and his wife, Holly, founded Elevation in 2006 with seven other families. Pastor Steven holds a Master of Divinity degree from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is also the New York Times Best Selling author of Crash the Chatterbox, Greater, and Sun Stand Still. Pastor Steven and Holly live in the Charlotte area with their two sons, Elijah and Graham, and daughter, Abbey.

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I'm lost, to say the least! As a new pastor, taking over a newly started church I have read just about everything there is to learn what I can do to grow the church. I truly beleive that those attending our church are friendly and sincere. So that can't be the issue. I have read all the comments to this article and I feel that most churches will never have a fair chance! We are a VERY small church, so we don't have a children's church (yet). So if a family comes and gets upset that we don't have a children's church for them to put their children into, we lose! We do provide things for their kids to do during the service and even have an option for their kids to be in a different room, if they don't want their kids to sit with them. We are also such a small church that we don't have a worship team/band/etc. Our worship music comes from music videos. The congregation we do have likes it this way, but of course we would love to have a worhsip team. So, if someone comes to our church and is upset that we don't have live music, we lose! The point I am trying to make is that when people come in with preconceived ideas of what a church should be like, they will never find a church home, unless they find a church who's goal is to entertain! Every Sunday our message comes from the Bible, so that can't be a complaint for someone, so instead, people leave the church and never come back because they want more from a church: they don't want friendly people who are following the Word of God; they want a church that give them something (a babysitter for their kid, entertainment, free gifts, etc.) I'm sorry if sound cynical, I truly want everyone to hear the Good News and learn about Christ's love, but if they come in looking for something else, then the church will always lose!
 
— JAG
 
Reminds me Tony Morgan's classic post entitle “What If Target Operated Like A Church?” I wrote about this in a blog post "Is Your Church Like Target…or More Like A Mall?" https://goo.gl/2qQIy3
 
— bruceherwig
 
Challenging and very good
 
— John Gilbank
 

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