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John 6:4-9
Now the Passover, a feast of the Jews, was near. Then Jesus lifted up His eyes, and seeing a great multitude coming toward Him, He said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread, that these may eat?” But this He said to test him, for He Himself knew what He would do.

Philip answered Him, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may have a little.”

One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to Him, “There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two small fish, but what are they among so many?”

It’s hard sometimes to read the Bible objectively because we already know who Jesus is and how the story ends. So let’s paraphrase this parable in a way that helps us understand how this story would be understood when read for the first time by someone who had never heard of Jesus…

Thousands of people show up to your Churches outreach event… Problem is, you were only expecting 100 people or so! Your Senior Pastor, Pastor Bill (or Lead Pastor for the trendy), stands up and says “y’all go feed all these folks”…

Y’all weren’t planning on feeding anyone… Not even yourselves. This is a disaster! The whole leadership team looks at Pastor Bill like he must be kidding, but he is absolutely serious. The practical Associate Pastor says something like, “Not even with the entire outreach budget could we feed these people!” Then the Children’s Pastor speaks up… “I have a kid here who brought himself a lunch… But I don’t think it will feed everyone…”

Be honest. You and everyone else on the leadership team give him the “no duh Sherlock” look… The Associate Pastor (who never takes this poor guy seriously) is about to make fun of him when… Well, you know the story.

The disciples must have thought Andrew was was being stupid. I tend to think that Andrew was kinda hoping Jesus would do something crazy… Either way, the principle is unmistakable clear. God loves to turn stupid ideas into jaw-dropping miracles.

There are two lessons here. First, as leaders, we need to build cultures where it’s safe for others to give bad ideas. Lets take it a step further: we need to create a culture that discusses bad ideas, sees if we can learn something from them, and possiblly even tweak them into good ideas.

The other lesson is for us as individuals. Every idea has potential. When we allow insecurity to keep us from sharing our thoughts and ideas, we cap the potential God has put inside of us to help our team. Bad ideas lead to good ideas, and good ideas lead to great ones. It has been my experience, though, that if a discussion has no bad ideas or dumb suggestions, everyone continues to think inside the “good idea box” and the discussion never leads to great ideas. Bad ideas force us to think outside the box.

I am an idea guy… I have an idea or suggestion about everything. At least half of my ideas are stupid or bad ideas, but half of those bad ideas have led to great ones. The great thing about being a Christian is that God changes everything. He’ll take the situation where you offered an impossible idea and give the guy across the table an idea of how you really could do it on a small scale. He’ll take your sack lunch moment and turn it into mass meatloaf miracle…

In Part 2, we’ll talk about some of the hangups of being an IDEA MAN or WOMAN, and how you can help turn your team into IDEA PEOPLE… Read Part 2 here…
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