Our church stewardship team is growing corn.

Even if your congregation was located in southern Illinois (like mine), this statement might cause you some concern.  Growing corn for stewardship?  Why?  Whose idea was that?

This ministry idea actually ended up being quite brilliant.  This is the kind of idea that would have been shot down at other times in the life of our church because no one would have suggested it.  And if they did, very few would have entertained the idea long enough to give it a try.  With the right combination of gifts, passions, and team culture, new ideas like this can be easier to cultivate.

Rather than tell you about the ministry, let me tell you about the team that nurtured this idea.  Two of our members have agricultural ties.  One is a farmer and the other is a former environmental studies major.  The other two members have creative business backgrounds.  One is a small business owner and the other is a former salesman who delights in off-the-wall ideas.   The entire team has a passion for helping the less fortunate in our community.  Their ministry of raising corn as a lesson in stewardship grew naturally out of the team members involved.  It was as unique as the team itself.

Looking at the teams engaged in ministry at your church, can you see ministry needs being met in ways that reflect the gifts and passions of the team members involved?  Healthy team cultures allow the unique, creative work of God in each person to shine through their ministries.

Here’s a couple healthy team culture tips for harvesting unique ideas from your team members:

  1. Begin team meetings with devotion and prayer time.This is more than the necessary opening prayer.  Try devoting at least 20% of your meeting time to reading scripture and praying for one another.  It helps members transition from the daily grind of their lives into the ministry mindset of working together.  It also clearly establishes the value of taking good care of one another.  Teams using this tip often experience increased discussion participation with surprisingly reduced overall meeting time.
  2. Plan far enough ahead that you can afford to brainstorm.  When ministry planning is left until the last month before an event, everyone feels the pressure to race to solutions.  Anticipating planning needs months in advance will generate greater freedom in the team culture.  In a time crunch, teams will revert to old ways and shut down ideas as they fear attempting anything new.  The practice of brainstorming creates a culture of openness that invites all team members to contribute out of their unique gifts and passions.

Please don’t run back to your ministry teams and suggest planting corn. It might not fit your team.

What would fit your team? We’d love to hear your ideas…