If you are in youth ministry, you steal people's ideas. It's inevitable. The question then becomes what is appropriate and inappropriate when it comes to taking somebody else's idea and using it in your own ministry. As I was recently reading "Steal Like an Artist" by Austin Kleon it got me thinking about what does good theft look like within ministry and what kind of theft crosses lines.
Remix vs. Rip off
A remix is an alternative version of something; it's made using some of the original components but remade into something different. A rip off on the other hand is an imitation and is meant to copy something else. All ideas originate somewhere. Whether you realize it or not, we are either riping off someone else's idea or remixing it into something new. William Ralph Inge briliantly said, "What is originality? Undetected plagiarism." This is true of all creation, not just youth ministry, but as youth workers scramble to continue being creative within their student ministry they are forced to decide whether or not they will make remixes or rip offs.
Youth ministry requires coming up with ideas for new messages, illustrations, events, programs, and more weekly. The creative burden in youth ministry is extremely high, so it is no surprise that we look for places to help give us ideas of things we can do and say within our ministry. What we do when we find ideas determines whether we a simply ripping off somebody else's creative work or are remixing the idea into somehting new.
Some Questions To Ask Yourself:
- Are you trying to make a copycat idea?
- Are you trying to plug-n-play somebody else's idea in your own context?
- Are you taking pieces of many ideas or one entire idea?
Photo Credit: Jeroen Kenis