Marriage/family think tank

Last Sunday (wow, was that only a week ago? Feels like it was ages ago!) we had a marriage/family think tank. We had 30 people there, though some came and went throughout the course of the meeting.

We did an asset mapping exercise. There are many ways to do creative brainstorming and planning… this was one we picked because 1) it’s not done too often, 2) it’s very positively based and 3) it leverages the strengths and passions of the congregation, giving it a greater likelihood of success in implementation.

Doing these types of exercises can be tough in such a diverse church as ours. We see a million needs, but have limited resources to address them. I pray often that God brings up the right people to step into the gap… without leaders, these dreams don’t become a reality. The staff is maxed out… our job is to encourage, empower, and equip people to fulfill the callings that God places on their hearts.

But it is good to dream — and necessary — for input, collaboration, and processing.

Glen started us off by giving the big pictures of why we were doing this. I captured pictures of the day with my phone… pictures are a bit fuzzy but give a good idea of what’s happening.

You can see little stacks of paper on the table. Going through a series of questions, people wrote down different “assets” on the sheets of paper. Then we went into the lobby and laid them all on the ground.

It was seeing the personalities of the different groups come out. Another group’s layout looked totally different.

We also brainstormed needs/opportunities that people thought of.

After grouping assets together, people put titles on the ideas and taped them to the wall.

Each person got 3 stickers and wrote their initials on them. They got to vote on the top 3 things that they would be willing to get involved in.

Unfortunately we ran out of time! I collected all the info and contacted all the people to set up next steps. The top two that rose to the top were 1) a  marriage/family camp or retreat and 2) mentoring or development of couples. So we have meetings set up to pursue these ideas further. Other items are just as important but are being handled by subteams, or being integrated into existing initiatives.

It is interesting how every time you do something, you learn something new. Because I had done this exercise before, there were certain assumptions I made that I didn’t think to communicate to the group. Next time I need to:

  1. Give less time for brainstorming per question. About 1 minute each is good… or else there are too many assets and it’s just too overwhelming.
  2. Tell people not to organize their assets into category, but just to make connections with them placed randomly. One group spent 35 minutes organizing their assets… I didn’t realize it as I thought they were grouping to create new ideas.
  3. Limit number of assets that can be grouped together. Having 30 assets together is too complicated and general to make a specific next step to take.

Good learnings. Great group. Super ideas! So… now… continued prayer for God’s guidance and people to step forward!

A Yee

Angela Yee is a professional designer (graphic design, stage design, interior design — and teaches leadership skills at

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