If you want to be completely ineffective as a church leader, please use your context as an excuse.
I could say more about using context as an excuse (I’m super-passionate about the subject), but I’ve written more fully on it here.
Here’s the bottom line: you can make excuses or you can make progress, but you can’t make both.
That said, there are two contexts leaders routinely miss: theirs and yours. Think of borrowing ideas the same way you’d think about transplanting a tree: If you want the plant to thrive, you need to match the soil and nutrients of the transplant location to the soil and nutrients of the original location.
And not all plants thrive everywhere. Palm trees tend to do less well in Alaska than in Florida. Study the source context for the idea:
- Is the context a business context?
- Is the church in the Bible belt or a heavily unchurched area?
- Is the church rural or urban?
- What’s the ethnic make-up of the organization?
- Is it a church plant or an established church?
- What makes the leader I’m studying different from me?
Take notes and simply compare and contrast their situation to your situation. This will help you understand the why and the what of the idea or best practice.
Then make any adaptations you need to so the practice or idea thrives in your context.
But don’t use the differences as an excuse why something won’t work. Use it to gain understanding on how to make it work.
Poor leaders list a million reasons why something won’t work. Great leaders find the one reason it will. Be that leader.
Borrow All the Best Practices and Ideas You Can
So what’s the bottom line? Borrow (even steal) all the best practices and ideas you possibly can from a wide variety of church models.