Brainstorming is a semi-structured, creative, team activity that is a powerful leadership lever when seeking to generate new ideas for innovation or improvement in the ministry context. Team members are encouraged to suggest ideas about a problem as well as possible solutions to the challenge. Few, if any of us, would question that a new church leadership team can together achieve a higher level of creativity and effectiveness than the sum of the participant actions separately (i.e. synergistic effect).
To optimize the brainstorming (or as some prefer to term the process – “starbursting”), consider the following suggestions:
- When possible, consider using an experienced external facilitator such as a church planting coach or peer planting mentor.
- Appoint a “scribe” to record all ideas regardless of potential or reasonableness.
- Identify the precise topic for the activity so focus is not diffused.
- Clearly describe the problem to be solved or challenge to address as well as all relevant criteria to be met.
- Keep the number of participants in a single brainstorming group to seven or less.
- Evaluate all ideas based on two steps: (1) define the criteria; (2) score the results based on that criteria.
- Ensure that no one criticizes or evaluates ideas during the session as such behavior stifles creative generation and cripples the free flow of ideas.
- Encourage a positive, respectful, open-minded attitude among team members.
- Work to solicit ideas from all people in the group including the quiet or reserved members who may tend to be internal processors.
- Empower people to develop the ideas of other team members as the “springboard effect” can lead to exciting breakthroughs.
I’m convinced a major X-factor in church planting effectiveness is team leadership. Brainstorming when done correctly is an indispensable tool of the team leader (aka: church planter).
Expand the Kingdom of God!