the big idea

By March 26, 2010Church, Preaching

While at LifeWay yesterday, I thumbed through a copy of “The Big Idea” by Dave Ferguson. I first became aware of Dave (and his brother Jon) when I interviewed with their dad for a staff position near Chicago. Dave and Jon are co-founders of Community Christian Church in Naperville, an innovative multi-site church.

“The Big Idea” describes their approach to communication and teaching, from kids to adults. Each week features one big idea that will be the theme of the weekend teaching as well as in small groups throughout the week. By focusing on the same big idea from children’s worship through the sermon, the majority of the church is on the same page at the same time.

At first, their routine may seem a bit intimidating to some. It may feel restrictive. But as Ferguson points out rather well, it is not. By working ahead two to three months at a time, creative elements are given time to originate and marinate.

I can remember back when I was in seminary at Bethel that a Pentecostal friend was making a vehement argument against planning out your worship. It “stifled” the Holy Spirit, he said. I’ll never forget my professor’s response: “That assumes the Spirit cannot and does not work in the planning process.”

Of course he can! I’ve been amazed through the years how many times someone will approach me after a sermon and tell me how much they needed to hear it. Usually it related to something they were wrestling with that week.

I would smile and proceed to explain how that message had been planned weeks or months earlier. Our God can move in the planning just as easily as in the execution.

If you get a chance, pick up a copy of “The Big Idea.” It will challenge you to look at communicating and planning differently.