Steal Best Practices
I was listening to a leadership podcast where author Austin Kleon was being interviewed for his book Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative , which I highly recommend by the way.
The interview reminds me as a leader to always be in the lookout for great ideas and best practices in churches and organizations that I would visit. That means in every place that I visit, I try to have my leadership and management antennae up on what churches are doing great in and bring it home and apply it to my local church context.
Let me give you some examples.
I was able to visit Hillsong Australia last year and saw some great things they were doing in church. Their hospitality and warm atmosphere was contagious. When I got back to Manila, I discussed to the team what I felt and experienced and we started brainstorming on how we can contextualize this in our church and make it happen.
Last week, I was in Victory Pampanga where our church meets in three separate locations. Through the leadership of Pastor Jerome Gutierrez, our Pampanga church is growing and thriving. Through the process of speaking and listening to Pastor Jerome, I found something powerful that the Pampanga church is doing.
If you notice, I wrote Pampanga church even if there are three separate locations in Pampanga. You see one of the things they built in their culture is that Victory Pampanga is one church in three locations. They decided this year that they are going to share manpower, resources and ideas to grow all the churches in the province. The result? Exponential growth and happy pastors and staff.
As I think about that practice, I now go home and discuss this to my pastors. I know someone in the model in Pampanga – we can take something really great and life-changing to apply in our local church.
In light of that, let me help you as you navigate in stealing great ideas from other organizations. You have to do the following:
When you visit or study a certain organisation – have an observant mind and heart. Observe – not criticize. It means I go in there and look for great things they are doing. I pour my energy in finding the best practices of a certain group, organisation or church.
if possible, talk to the leader of the church or the team and ask the rationale for why they do what they do. A mortal sin a lot of leaders do is they go to a certain church and observe from a far and never asked why they do what they do. All practices of an organization comes from a motive and reason. It would be great to get to the heart of why a certain church do what they do. Don’t just copy and paste.
I remember having a conversation with a young person and he was telling me how a group of their leaders went to our church to observe what we were doing. They then concluded that it is because of the lights that we have during praise and worship that cause such growth in our church.
I have then to tell him the different aspects of church and church health that includes strategy, planning, soaking in prayer and leadership. Lights wasn’t even in the list of the reason our youth ministry grew. Know the reason why before implementing changes.
Make a note of the best practices and decide that I am going to steal this and bring it home to my local church.
Many pastors and leaders miss this. We steal and apply it right away forgetting that most of what we observe outside our organization have their own set of core values and beliefs. Don’t just copy. Contextualize.
I remember more than a decade ago when I went to Bogota, Columbia to study the phenomenal growth of the G12 church of Pastor Castellanos. I was so excited to bring it back home. I heard someone said during the consults we made that the model requires that you either get it all or not at all. BAD ADVISE!
We need to contextualise. When we copy and paste programs it usually ends in disaster. We might experience a growth surge on the onset but long term – it has damaging effects.
Note: some of the best practices are not executed because of over analyzing. I’d rather do something about it and tweak along the way than conceptualize the fool proof plan because it will never happen.
After contextualising and doing it, it would be healthy to have a quarterly feedback on the changes that are happening. Change requires time. When making changes give it at least 4 to 6 months before making tweakings. You cannot find conclusive results only after a month or two.