Effective Ministry Leaders are Thieves

Recently, I heard my friend Mike Draper say that there are three types of football coaches: innovators, thieves, and the unemployed. He admitted he was no innovator, but he still has a job. In fact, he and his team are doing quite well. His secret? He is a skillful thief! Similarly, Rick Warren says, “If my bullet fits in your gun, shoot it.” I freely admit that there is hardly a thing in this book I didn’t steal!

You have heard of the person who said he would be original or nothing. He ended up being both. Don’t make the same stubborn mistake.

You will probably never be able to come up with enough original ideas to do your job or run your small group ministry adequately. It is much easier (and much smarter) to be a thief. That is the attitude with which I hope you will read this article—not to slavishly follow every detail, but to gain ideas.

Humans love two things: change and consistency. We love the seasons because they are both different and yet always the same. Your leaders loves variety, too. If you are not giving them some new ideas, they will get bored. Where do you get these ideas?

You steal them (and of course give credit where credit is due by referencing your sources where applicable)

I have stolen ideas from a wide variety of places. For example, I stole ideas about disclemaking from the Navigators. Though I am not an evangelist, I stole from people who wrote books on evangelism. The most productive source of ideas for me has been the whole school of church growth. Books on leadership proved enormously useful. I started with books on Christian leadership and then I crossed the bridge to secular books on worldly leadership. I am now embezzling from the account of marketing books. The point is—all these ideas are laying out in the open, with no lock or key. They are just begging to be stolen.

But, enough about me. Who are you stealing from? What is the last book you read that really stretched you? Have you gotten ideas from any unlikely sources lately? Have you stolen anything recently?
Cultivate laziness by giving the ministry away. Be humble enough to accept your ignorance and stay hungry to learn. And if you fail, there is grace.

Josh Hunt. 1995. You Can Double Your Class in Two Years or Less.

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