Making Ideas Happen

June 16, 2010 by
Making Ideas Happen

The thesis of Making Ideas Happen is “Less Dreaming, More Doing.” Author Scott Belsky makes a powerful argument that sometimes brainstorming ideas—dreaming about what “could be” rather than dealing with “what is”—actually gets in the way of making a small percentage of those ideas a reality.

I agree.

What’s easier: Fixing a leaky faucet or thinking about ways to fix that same leaky faucet? Exactly. Making Ideas Happen is, metaphorically speaking, about busting out the hardware, getting your hands dirty and fixing the leaky faucet!

Isn’t this the continual temptation of creatives in the church? Dreaming up a new way to do the weekly bulletins but never committing to enacting one of those ideas? Brainstorming ministry opportunities that would give your church a greater presence in the community but never taking the first step? Never bothering to push past the first discomfort that comes as a result of implementing a new idea? We, as human beings, have a nasty tendency to prefer “dream world” as opposed to “real world” when it comes to putting ideas into action.

Spiritual Bureaucracy
The book primarily has its application in the entrepreneurial/business world, but I’ve found a few spiritual applications already. The first one? Spiritual inaction. Yeah. Sitting on your spiritual duff while the world passes you by.

Here’s a quote from Ideas:

Sometimes, to delay action even longer, we resort to bureaucracy. Bureaucracy was born out of the human desire for complete assurance before taking action. When we don’t want to take action, we find reasons to wait. We use “waiting” nicknames like “awaiting approval,” “following procedures,” “further research,” or “consensus building.”

If that doesn’t have implications for the way most ministries are run, I don’t know what does! Churches in general could take a page from Belsky’s book in learning how to see a project from birth to completion. Too often, churches get mired in “spiritual bureaucracy,” playing the endless waiting game on ideas and attributing it to “waiting on God.” Certainly there are times where we need to slow down and listen for the quiet voice of God. I don’t want to minimize this. But Belsky provides a convincing conviction when he calls human nature what it is: Fearful. We often do not move forward with ideas because we’re fearful, not because we’re waiting to hear the voice of God.

Practical Implications for Your Ministry
As one might guess, Belsky’s book is about making stuff happen. He provides the reader with practical tips and tricks to push past what Seth Godin calls “the dip.” Belsky’s orginazation, Behance, has crafted a method (called “action method”) that partners with the steps outlined in the book. The method revolves around “action steps” that are diligently recorded and delegated to make the projects in your life move forward.

If you work on a team at your church or ministry and have been struggling to find a way to get everyone on the same page, this book could be a help to you. If you’ve had more than one, shall we say, “heated” conversation over e-mail with co-workers, this book could be a help to you. Even if you’re flying solo, Ideas is a profoundly helpful read simply from the perspective of understanding how you work, what your procrastination habits are and practical steps on how to push through them.

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Justin Wise

Justin Wise lives in West Des Moines, Iowa, with his wife and son. He likes coffee, reading, running and blogging.
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