Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days

My wife and I are working on a new ministry, and I'm excited. The problem? I work as a church planter, and I also have a part-time role training church planters. It seems impossible to make progress on an ambitious new project without much time.

That's why I was intrigued to discover Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days. It's a book written by three partners at Google Ventures, and it presents a five-day process to take a project from idea to feedback in just a week.

The format of the week is simple. On Monday, participants work on understanding the problem, and choosing a target for the sprint. On Tuesday, they focus on solutions. On Wednesday, they take possible solutions and create a plan for the prototype. On Thursday, they create the prototype. On Friday, they test the prototype with customers.

Sprint outlines the process in detail. It gives detailed lists of what you will need, timelines, and the exact process to follow. It allows you to focus on the solution, rather than on the process.

A sprint works differently than you might expect. The book argues that group brainstorming is broken, and instead encourages working independently and then sharing the results. It argues against abstract debate and endless meetings, and instead uses voting and someone (a Decider) to make crisp decisions. It uses a "prototype mindset" to create a façade rather than a perfect solution.

A sprint can even help teams create new habits:

After your first sprint, you might notice a shift in the way your team works. You'll look for ways to turn discussions into test hypotheses. You'll look for ways to answer big questions, not someday, but this week. You'll build confidence in one another's expertise and in your collective ability to make progress toward ambitious goals.

We ran a sprint last week, and found the process to be just as described. We made more progress in a week than we would have made in three months. And it was a lot more fun.

Sprints are great for start-ups. I can also see churches using them to launch ministries, tackle problems, or even plan sermon series. Individuals can also adapt the process for personal use.

If you're stuck for time, and want to make rapid progress on a big problem, then consider running a sprint. The Sprint book and website will give you the process. You supply the rest.

Read more at Amazon.com | TheSprintBook.com

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Darryl Dash

Darryl Dash is a graduate of the University of Waterloo, Heritage Theological Seminary, and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He’s married to Charlene, and has two children, Christina and Josiah. Darryl is currently planting Liberty Grace Church in Liberty Village, Toronto. He previously served as pastor of Richview Baptist Church and Park Lawn Baptist Church, both in west Toronto.

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Darryl Dash

Darryl Dash is a graduate of the University of Waterloo, Heritage Theological Seminary, and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He’s married to Charlene, and has two children, Christina and Josiah. Darryl is currently planting Liberty Grace Church in Liberty Village, Toronto. He previously served as pastor of Richview Baptist Church and Park Lawn Baptist Church, both in west Toronto.

Risk or Rust

“Risk or rust,” wrote Jack Miller, one of my heroes of the faith. In his letters, he wrote:

Be daring. Take risks. God be with you.

At the time the Spirit of God sheds abroad the love of God in our hearts, we begin life as a new adventure but an adventure with dangers and risks.

Good advice from Sprin

Miller wasn’t advocating for foolish risk-taking, or being motivated by presumption rather than faith. He was concerned about our tendency to stop risking, and to prioritize fear over obedience. He didn’t coast in his own ministry, and his legacy continues.

Risk is part of the Christian life. Owen Strachan puts it well:

We’re saved to plunge headlong into a life of God-inspired, Christ-centered, gospel-driven risk. We don’t know when the Master is returning; we don’t know what may come of our efforts. We’re not guaranteed any earthly results.

But we are called to work while there is still time.

I’ve reached the age that people stop taking risks and begin to coast. I get it. I’m fighting that impulse. I hope you are too.

William Wilberforce worked for over four decades to abolish the slave trade. Opponents complained that he “jumped up whenever they knocked him down.” His friend, John Wesley, warned that he would be worn down “unless God has raised you up for this very thing.” He was slandered, and faced almost impossible odds. His wife struggled emotionally and physically. His son departed the faith, and his daughter died. Wilberforce’s own health suffered.

When, after decades of hardship, the abolition bill passed in 1807, Wilberforce said to his friend Henry Thornton, "Well, Henry, what shall we abolish next?"

Wilberforce pursued what was right, not what was easy. He paid the price. He was relentless in his risk-taking.

Risk. Dare. Pursue what will glorify God most, not what will make you most comfortable. Don’t be foolish or presumptuous, but default to taking the bold action. Risking is way better than rusting.

Discounts for Ministries

If you're part of a church or ministry, you understand the importance of managing resources wisely. There are many discounts available to help you stretch your money.

Here are a list of discounted or free resources for you to use.

Books

Christian Audio — One free book a month

Englewood Review of Books — Their "bargain" tag links to discounted Amazon Kindle books

Gospel eBooks — Updated with discounted and free Christian books on Amazon Kindle

Logos — One free book a month

Church Planting Resources

NewChurches.com — For churches in their first two years of operation, LifeWay has a variety of free offerings to help get a few of the foundational aspects of ministry in place

Graphics

The Good Story — Equipping missionaries and small ministries by supplying them with visual marketing pieces, training and on-field storytelling

LibreStock — Search the best 43 free stock photo websites in one place

Salty Life Designs — Custom church graphics at affordable prices

Online Services

Buffer — Schedule, publish, and analyze your social media, with 50% of for nonprofits

Evernote — Volume discount, and 50% off for non-profit organizations

Google Apps for Nonprofits — Google Apps, including $10,000/month in in-kind AdWords™ advertising

Mailchimp — 15% discount for non-profits

Salesforce Foundation — Donations of the powerful CRM software

Techsoup (Canada) — Donated software and technology resources for Canadian charities, nonprofits and libraries

Techsoup (United States) — Tech donations and discounts for your nonprofit or library

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Darryl Dash

Darryl Dash is a graduate of the University of Waterloo, Heritage Theological Seminary, and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He’s married to Charlene, and has two children, Christina and Josiah. Darryl is currently planting Liberty Grace Church in Liberty Village, Toronto. He previously served as pastor of Richview Baptist Church and Park Lawn Baptist Church, both in west Toronto.

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Comment

Darryl Dash

Darryl Dash is a graduate of the University of Waterloo, Heritage Theological Seminary, and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He’s married to Charlene, and has two children, Christina and Josiah. Darryl is currently planting Liberty Grace Church in Liberty Village, Toronto. He previously served as pastor of Richview Baptist Church and Park Lawn Baptist Church, both in west Toronto.