Imagining the New Year With Questions

“Our culture is competent to implement almost anything and imagine almost nothing.” ~Walter Brueggemann.

The promise of a new year after a tough year should require that we give ourselves permission to set our imaginations free. Even though constraints and challenges don’t magically disappear after December 31, we should guard our hearts against weariness and move beyond survival-thinking.


In his book How the Mighty Fall: And Why Some Companies Never Give In, Jim Collins recalled an invaluable lesson from his mentor, Bill Lazier: Don’t try to come up with the right answers; focus on coming up with good questions.


All leaders must learn to cultivate the quality of asking questions in their organization. It breathes life into teams. It can be totally imaginative, such as:


+ If you quit and then were hired as the new lead pastor, what would you change?

+ What if once a year everyone in the church did a spiritual gifts assessment instead of having a regular service?

+ How would your key leaders describe your church culture in one-word descriptions?

+ What would your staff or key volunteers say is the primary purpose of your weekend services?

+ If you changed the name of your church, what could it be?

+ What language in your church has lost its meaning?

+ What if one weekend you gave all the offering to another organization in your city?

+ What would cause the biggest “head-tilt” from people outside the church and cause them to re-question their stereotyped assumptions about Christianity?

+ If you could recreate the atmosphere of your church, what would it feel like?

+ What if people could find and connect to a small group in a Match.com-style web-based approach?

+ What if you offered a “free yard sale” and asked your church members to donate gently used stuff to give away?

+ What would a holistic approach to meeting people’s needs look like?

+ What if each year your staff identified one 20-something leader that could potentially plant a church…and began to intentionally mentor them toward that?

+ What if you filled your lobbies with empty boxes with a grocery list attached to feed a family of four and had your members take one home, collect the goods and give them away at Thanksgiving?

+ What would help create some entrepreneurial ministry and R&D in your church?—in other words, who needs permission?


Carve out some time to reflect on how your organization is nurturing its creative juices or, conversely, how subliminal or subconscious forces are hindering any entrepreneurial or intrapreneurial thinking. Are you overdue for some innovative ways to further your mission and vision or realigning resources to achieve greater impact? You might ask your leadership team this question to start: When was the last Big Idea that caused your mission to leap forward…and is it time for a new one?

Now to Him who is able to do so much more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Ephesians 3:20, 21



Dave Workman | Elemental Churches



ELEMENTAL CHURCHES | 4685 SARAH DRIVE, MASON, OH 45040 | 513.400.4595

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