1. Debate and disagreement are encouraged. People are willing to (respectfully) express concerns or offer alternatives to ideas that are presented.
2. No one “owns” an idea. Often one suggestion sparks another, which sparks another, and in the end, no one knows who had the idea in the first place. Emphasis is placed on collaborative brainstorming, not bragging rights.
3. Laughter and play are encouraged. Provide Slinkies, Legos, or Play-Doh during planning meetings. People who are able to laugh with others (and at themselves) will be more creative.
4. People are more important than products. Offering creative ideas can make people feel vulnerable. When members of a team know their value is not based on what they produce, but who they are, they will be more effective and more fulfilled.
5. Scripture is central. Team members who spend time studying passages for upcoming sermons will bring richer, more nuanced, and more effective ideas to the table.
6. The team doesn’t love “new” simply because it’s “new” or “old” merely because it’s “old.” Chasing after the latest shiny toy or trend is just as destructive to worship planning as being too tradition-bound. Neither “new” nor “old” ideas have merit based on age (or lack thereof) alone.
7. Prayer is woven through the entire process. From choosing sermon topics to post-service analysis, prayer must undergird the planning and execution of services. Too often prayer becomes ancillary instead of integral.