Good ideas need your brilliance

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Have you seen Toy Story?

Did you know that they have authentic replicas of the movie characters that are built to scale…looking exactly like that you saw on the movie, even down the smallest detail?  They’re a replica of the exact size of the characters you saw on the movie!

But with no imagination, they’re just a plain, lifeless doll.

With the imagination of a child, they become Woody…or Buzz Lightyear…or Jessie.

Good ideas

And the same is true with good ideas.  We go to conferences, read books, interact with broad audiences, dialog on social media, and get tons of ideas.  But until we put life to them, until we contextualize them, until we bring them into our systems, they’re lifeless.

A great idea looks cool…especially marketed in a slick package.  But it’s a different game altogether once you get it out of that package.  Because it takes your creativity, your insight, and your wisdom to put that idea into action.

That’s why copying another ministry doesn’t work.  Because it takes your effort to change, tweak, and contextualize the idea to make it function in your ministry.  If you try copying someone else, even though it may have sounded awesome when you heard it the first time, all you’ve really got is a dead, lifeless child’s toy that’ll sit on your desk.

But with your brilliance, the idea can come to life.

Where do you get your good ideas?  Books?  Conferences?  Conversations?

When was the last time you put one of those ideas to life?


Christ follower, husband, father, writer, small groups pastor at Saddleback Community Church. Communications director for the Small Group Network.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Jason Vana

    My ideas tend to come from books and conversations, and even when I write. It seems as I “talk” things out, either actually talking or writing, I get ideas and start seeing them get more focused.

    • Ben Reed

      Yeah, I need to “talk” things out, too. I think that’s part of my extroversion. Must be yours, too.

  • seekingpastor

    Prayer and observations–normally.

    • Ben Reed

      Observations? Explain…

  • Dustin

    Quiet reflection… usually.

    • Ben Reed

      Completely quiet? Because if that’s the case, I can’t do it! I have to have some sort of background noise, or hear/see people. When it’s completely quiet, my mind can’t concentrate!

  • Gary Molander

    For me, ideas continually come by listening to podcasts of a handful of my favorite pastors. Ideas also come when I find myself frustrated with something, then try to figure out how God might author redemption into it. And the Bible (I know – that’s a given).

    • Ben Reed

      I listen to podcasts when I run. It’s a great time of reflection for me.

      That’s a great point, too, Gary…getting frustrated is a great way of God directing me.

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  • Aaron Armstrong

    Books, conversations, Scripture… good ideas hit me at the weirdest times. Best example is, a website we’ve put together at Compassion Canada. My team and I were sitting in a keynote session listening to the founder of Hulu talk about what makes for a good idea and I saw this tiny ad that our counterparts in Australia did for their site and it was this great “aha!” moment.

    Apologies for the shameless plug, by the way.

    • Ben Reed

      Great job on that site! I love the idea!