Give Your Ideas Time to Ripen

If you’re going to finish more than you start, learn to pursue the RIPE ideas.

Trying to make an unripe idea into reality can be a huge waste of time and resources.

If you’re starting something new, chances are you have lots of good ideas. Maybe you keep them in a drawer on index cards. Maybe you write them down in a journal?  Maybe they’re on a file on your computer?

If this is true, you have a place where ideas go to ‘ripen.’ That’s good. You need to write your ideas down.

Now, leave your idea alone for at least a week.

Ideas need time ripen – to get some sunlight and air…breathe a little.

I try to give any idea at least 2 weeks to ripen before I try to do anything with it.

I stick them in Evernote and try to forget about it. I set a reminder for myself to come back in a week and review it. If it’s still good, then I push it off for another week of ripening. After two weeks if it still looks good, I’ll spend some time developing it. Of course, this is no guarantee that the idea will be good. But there is a better chance for me to see the potential in it — or the futility of it.

Giving your ideas time to ripen will help you discern the good ideas from the bad ones.

Take Heart – Quitters are All Around You!

Is it time to quit?

Are you ready to throw in the towel?

Maybe you should. Maybe its time to be honest and end what you’ve started. It’s OK. Not everything works out the way you plan it. Some projects need to be trashed so you can get on to the next one.

But quitting is hard.

We don’t like to quit.

I don’t.

So if it’s time to quit, take heart…quitters are all around us.

  • A friend quit trying to be a pro-golfer. He was working his way into the pro tour and then something bad happened in his career and he quit. He went on to run a golf course.
  • My friend quit a book she was writing. She told me that it was the 10th or 11th time she’s started writing the same book and quit. Having quit again, she wondered if she was ever going to finish it. When she stopped trying to write the book she couldn’t finish she began blogging. Now she has hundreds of readers every day.
  • Another friend of mine quit his dream to be a famous artist because he got tired of living at poverty level wages. Now he has a career and sells his paintings on the side and it’s great.
  • I know another guy who couldn’t get his non-profit off the ground because he couldn’t find the time. After he quit, he was hired by a non-profit and he loves what he does.
  • A friend of mine quit trying to plant a church when he realized he wasn’t going to raise enough money nor build a big enough team to launch. He got a job on the staff of a big church and is making a huge impact.

All of these people had their reasons for quitting. I am not judging.

But quitting allowed them to get on to the next thing.

So take heart. If it’s time to quit, do it.

Now you can start the next thing.


You Can’t Get to Level 5 on Your Own

Several weeks ago I had the privilege to participate in conversations with leaders about the ‘Becoming a Level 5 Assessment.’ (Take the Assessment HERE.) 

Becoming Level 5

For several days, we talked about what a Level 5 church even looks like and how we can get there. The dialogue was fruitful and robust and I was grateful to be part of it.

As I’ve reflected on that meeting, I came to the conclusion that no one church will achieve level 5.

It will take networking and collaboration to get to Level 5.

So you’re up to speed, the BL5 assessment ranks churches into levels:

1 – Declining
2 – Plateaued
3 – Growing
4 – Reproducing
5 – Movement

According to the assessment so far…

  • Approximately 80% of churches in North American are Level 1 and 2
  • Approximately 16% are Level 3.
  • Approximately 4% are Level 4.
  • There are no level 5 churches in North America according to the assessment. (This might be a slight exaggeration as there may be one or two but that’s still up for debate.)

That’s right, zero Level 5 churches.

I suspect most of you want to be level 5? I am sure most of would agree that getting to Level 5 would be a good thing!

Now, to be honest, it’s a challenge to even describe a Level 5 ‘church.’

Here is rough sketch:

  • Full expression of APEST
  • Simple systems
  • Kingdom focus
  • Oikos – Communitas as the primary relational platform
  • Functioning on new economic models
  • Collaborative
  • “FAMILY” ethos
  • Repeatable rhythms
  • Core DNA is simple and transferable
  • Spontaneous development occurs
  • Planned inefficiencies
  • A focus on future growth
  • Risky
  • Biased toward releasing
  • Openness to new tech. and new things
  • Decentralized

I suspect that Level 4 (Growing) and Level 4 churches (reproducing churches) can only get to Level 5 as they network with other churches to plant the seeds of level 5 churches. In this way, Level 3 and Level 4 seed Level 5 movements.

There will be some challenges for us to do this.

One of the challenges is our ‘go-it-alone’ attitude. We tend to want to do everything ourselves, train leaders, plant churches, gather our own networks, centralize the funding, put our brand on it. Nothing is ‘wrong’ with this. I celebrate any effort to plant more churches, sites, and missional communities.

It just won’t get you to Level 5.

We can’t achieve the Jesus Mission on our own. We will need to work together to do it. We’re going to need to work with each other. We will need to network and collaborate in new and in significant ways.

I am not sure what that’s going to look like…yet. But I am confident we can do it.

At NewThing we are committed to doing our part to make it happen.

I am excited about the work Todd Wilson and Dave Ferguson have done in writing the eBook, Becoming a Level 5. It’s going to change the conversation about multiplication, especially in North America.

Read it. And take the assessment.

Then ask yourself, how you and your church can be part of a network of churches that will seed level 5 movements. Together, we really can achieve the Jesus Mission.

What are your thoughts? Where have you seen churches collaborating with other churches to achieve more for the Kingdom?