I recently typed this up for a staff discussion and thought I would throw it up here.

What is the difference between a good idea and a guiding idea?

The difference in my mind is that a guiding idea is what drives you and gives you direction.  A guiding idea does just that and guides your direction. Once you know the idea it makes your decisions for you.  A good idea could be a “good thing” but might not fit your direction.  

This principle specifically applies to the role of all pastors and their ministries.  We have the vision of reaching and growing set before us.  If a ministry sees that they are only focusing on one half of that and their vision is “growing and some more growing” they are not functioning as the elder’s a church have envisioned.  The hard work has been done and we now have the simple goal to accomplish the vision through the values.  This means all of the values.  If there are ministries that are only encouraging one or two values than they should be called out and held accountable to the guiding idea.  If a ministry undercuts and changes the vision thus taking away from it they are trying to force thier own “good ideas” into the church guiding idea.

This defines my role as high school pastor and our ministry very easily.  Now that I know to accomplish reaching and growing by getting high schoolers to worship, grow, serve, and outreach.  Not that I will at anytime have all of these things figured out, but I should be able to look at my program at any time and explain how I am intentionally trying to accomplish a culture that contains all of these things.  My budget, programming, and workload should give attention to all of the values.  Certain values are more consuming but all should show up. 

As a ministry I fall under the umbrella of the church as a whole. While I am supposed to accomplish all the values, me doing that should never impede the church as a whole doing the same.  If I start a worship service that helps my people group worship but it happens during the greater church worship and in any way undercuts that, it is not acceptable and should be cut in the name of the guiding idea over my good idea.

Lots of things are good ideas but good is the enemy of great and if they detract of dilute from your ultimate vision than they are not guiding they are the opposite and steering you off course.  Here are some questions I recently saw that a church used to judge ideas and new ministry opportunities. These criteria were put in place to honor their vision and make sure they stuck to their guiding idea and didn’t just jump at every good idea.



  1. Remember those “Good idea, bad idea” bits from Animaniacs? “Good Idea – Giving your dog a bath. Bad Idea – Having your dog dry-cleaned.” Aw yeah. (good post, by the way)

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