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Pastor, Stop Copying

Pastor, Stop Copying

Reading books and studying other's work allows us to learn, but the tension occurs on <em>how you use</em> what you've learned.

Pastor, stop copying.

Here's How..

In college my professors would explain the legalities of plagiarism.

And in the next breath, told us how successful people read, researched, and emulated other successful people. They explained that reading books and studying other's work allowed us to learn from them.

But the tension occurs when you want to use what you learn. Where is the line that shouldn't be crossed before you're stealing? And when does "he's reminiscent of this popular person" become "wow, he totally stole that clever concept"? And where are you in that continuum?

The Church is full of leaders who preach sermon series similar to other popular churches. Many also use the same tagline of another church in the next town.

Logos are practically the same. In fact, entire set lists are used locally when a worship pastor watches an online service from a "big" church.

Is it copying? Plagiarism? Illegal?

Ok, I'll leave the answers up to your conscience and ethicists. I will say, however, that it's a bit out of control. Just google "you belong church" or "sermon series joy" or "rooted sermon series" and you'll see so many "similar" videos, graphics, and words. And most think they're doing something original.

God's called you to be unique while finding your content from the Bible (not from a clever ministry leader on the internet). Each time you copy, you raise the bar higher than you can accomplish on your own so copying becomes the solution to everything. Break free from it. Be known for who you legitimately are and only use what others are doing to inspire you to raise YOUR bar of creativity.

Church leader, here are 3 ways to communicate with unique, creative things so YOU become known for them:

1. Consider who your congregation or community is.
God placed you in your unique area. In that community, you have a unique collection of people, and from that collection you have a subset who attend your church.

They're so unique that no other church has a group like them. Always start with understanding who they are, what they're looking for, and what they need. Think where their story intersects with God's story. Talk uniquely to them. This will help shape your content and should allow you to direct something uniquely to them.

2. Think about what you want to be known for.

Your church needs to be known for something relevant in order to standout in your community. This main thread (biblical, simple, and benefit-driven to your community) will shape everything you do. Every ministry. Every sermon. If you don't weave it through everything, you'll never become known for something. Once you have scripture that you're feeling led to preach, consider how God will allow you to attach it to your thread.

3. Research many and make it your own.

Sure, there are a lot of Pastors doing great, creative things. The more of them that you examine, the less likely you will be to imitate one. If you follow only one or two, you'll start to look like them and end up being just like them. So diversify and before you claim something for your own, consider checking if you're copying (google the concept!) and try to individualize it so it becomes your unique idea.

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