You may have heard the classic saying, “think outside the box” during a lecture or sermon. I’ve heard it time and time again from the leaders who’ve invested into my life, especially when it comes to “new media”. They continually tell me to look for new possibilities when it comes to developing tools and platforms for others to use in ministry.
But I want to challenge my mentors today and say that maybe, especially in the church, we need to re-focus and think inside the box. Not that we should limit the church to a box, but I’m confident that God has given us the resources we need, right where we are.
A few months ago I blogged about how staff needs to be the facilitators of ministry. I wonder what it would look like if we were to combine thinking inside the box with being the facilitators of ministry? The resources are already there- our congregations are the biggest resource we have. How do we ignite their passion for what God is doing in their life? And how do we capture their talents to use for His glory, as they take their next steps towards Christ?
As I sat in the airport waiting on my flight back to Orlando last week, Justin Lathrop inspired me with this tweet: “What is in the box and do we really need to look outside of it?” I love using ideas from others to inspire me to do more in ministry and his tweet definitely did that. He thought a little more about this and spent some time comparing and contrasting the two approaches. I’ve paraphrased his thoughts here:
When we’re constantly trying to think outside the box, we:
- open ourselves up to complaining
- are tempted to focus on the next big thing
- begin to dream and never do
- begin to rely on our ideas and not on God.
When we begin to think inside the box, we:
- look for solutions or improvements to current restraints.
- trust God and everything He’s given us
- are more prone to use the talents and abilities God’s given us
- free ourselves to make a real impact and actually accomplish our goals