I had breakfast yesterday with my buddy Drew who is beginning a new chapter in his life next week, transitioning into the Senior Pastor role at a church in San Antonio. Our conversations over the past few years have been a constant source of blog topics for me. Usually he poses a great question, I give a lousy answer, he is gracious, and I post a blog entry later that says what I should have said before. Today is one of those days.

One of the topics yesterday was whether or not it's okay to use ("steal") the ideas of other ministries or pastors and use them in the ministries we lead. Here are some of my random thoughts:

1. Everything I know, I learned from someone else. Even ideas that are "original" with me were stimulated, informed, or inspired by things I learned from others. In a big way, Solomon was right... there isn't anything new under the sun.

2. Blatant Plagiarism is a sin. If you knowingly take credit for ideas that were not yours, you are a liar. Cite your sources or do your own work.

3.It's a waste of time to re-invent the wheel. If someone is doing something well, you need a really good reason to re-invent it. Otherwise, it's poor stewardship of your time.

4. It's lazy to steal something without making it better. Because ministry involves people and people are different, very, very, very few ideas are plug-and-play. You serve a unique organization in a unique context. Look for ways to adapt good ideas and make them better in your context.

5. Sin begins in the heart. If you're using someone else's idea because it gets you out of the hard work, nobody else may ever know. But you will know, and God will know.

6. God has called you to lead your congregation, not Andy Stanley, or Bill Hybels, or Mark Driscoll. It is absolutely unconscionable to preach another guy's sermon. If God wanted Matt Chandler to be your church's pastor, Matt Chandler would be your church's pastor. Man up and do the work.


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