Where do you go for ministry inspiration? Many people attend ministry events featuring seasoned ministry professionals. That’s fine, I guess. But I think it’s also one reason why the church in America is stuck.

These keynote speakers—famous pastors, authors, theologians—are insiders. They’ve been marinated in the church as we know it. They know church routines—from the inside, from the staff side, from the pulpit side, from the “professional Christian” side.

Those who listen to the gurus go back home and attempt to duplicate what their heroes promoted. So the insider thinking continues to circle around in a closed circuit of “church as we know it.”

This rather incestuous way of thinking is not limited to those in church ministry. Many people in all professions do the same. But they tend to be the ones who also become stale and ineffective.

I work in the Christian publishing world. But I no longer spend much time listening to supposed gurus in my field. Instead, I’ve found far more interesting and challenging thoughts from those outside my field. Their ideas have caused me to think in entirely different ways, to find new solutions, to be more effective, to stay fresh.

Want to consume a healthy diet of inspiration and education? In addition to listening to those inside your peer group, look outside. See what leaders in the “real world” are discovering about trends, wants, needs, leadership, persuasion, and so on.

There’s a lot to gained by being “in it” without being “of it.”