Do You Think Other Ministries Are Stealing Your Ideas?

2 Sep

Over the years I have received many emails from gals who have felt like another ministry had stolen their great idea. I have always responded in the same way:

Even if it seems true, tread lightly!
It is probably of God.

Eating with God

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My own release of Eating with God two weeks ago was nearly simultaneous with Jennifer Rothschild’s teaching released this week entitled, “Hungry?”

We are both mentors to women’s ministry leaders, and without speaking to each other, we shared a strong God-focused, food-related encouragement with our groups. It reminds me of how often the pastor’s message perfectly matches the Sunday School lesson, even when they have not coordinated it.

Here is another example. This past spring I interviewed two authors of two women’s Bible Study books by the same title, “Beauty by the Book.”

My comment to both was that this topic must be of vital importance to God, to allow both of them to write an entire book on it, by the same title, at about the same time. [These are both super books–check them out!]

Next time you are tempted to view a simultaneous “release” of a ministry idea, product or resource as a personal affront, step back a bit! Ask yourself…

If I was God, how would I get an important message out
to all 6,781,420,581 of My people?

I have always believed that God prompts several of His “kids” (His ambassadors on earth) with the same concept, idea or story line at the same time because He is efficient and He knows that the task is usually too big for just one.

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9 Responses to “Do You Think Other Ministries Are Stealing Your Ideas?”

  1. Sarah Goebel September 2, 2009 at 4:51 PM #

    Marnie, this message is so needed in the body of Christ, especially with women. I have experienced the feeling myself and then God told me, “all of your ideas that produce eternal fruit came from me.” He was telling me that it was His idea to do with it what He wanted. Wow. That put a whole different perspective on it. Recently, I had the opportunity to think that way again but instead I thought how wonderful to have an idea that someone else wants to use for the glory of God! The difference in how we view these things is a result of where our focus is at. Is it all about us or is it about God.

  2. Krista Dunk September 2, 2009 at 10:17 PM #

    So true…I actually have had this same thought (as you are sharing here) in the last few weeks! I believe the Spirit does speak a similar message to certain people who need to then turn around and speak it out to others.

    All the original ideas really are God’s! And maybe, just maybe, we can have more collaboration (vs. competition) within the Body of Christ when He gives us similar vision.
    Thanks for sharing!

  3. Marnie September 3, 2009 at 10:09 AM #

    A few not-posted comments from close friends indicate that this blog post may give the impression that I wonder if Jennifer Rothschild in some way “stole” my idea.

    I do not! Not even a tiny hint of that… first, because she has thousands of GREAT ideas w/o any help from me! Second, because she is a godly woman of integrity who wouldn’t and third, because I firmly believe God gave her that idea!

    My point here is that I was “tempted” to feel that way — and, I share it because I believe others have been similarly “tempted.”

    Temptation just “is” – how we respond to temptation is the important thing.

    My challenge to you is to resist “accusing” another of stealing an idea without knowing for a fact that their actions were indeed malicious. I believe it’s a big tool of Satan toward disunity in the body.

    Oh, how I love you! How I love and admire Jennifer! How grateful I am that God has gifted each of us so uniquely, to accomplish His work — one at a time and as a body.

  4. Mimi Moseley September 3, 2009 at 10:19 AM #

    I had struggled with this feeling a few years ago when I sent my manuscript to an author who had also written on in-law relationships. I had hoped to get an endorsement from her which, at the time, she did not feel she could do. A few months later, her husband published a book very similar to what I had written.

    This was a shock to me and I felt betrayed. However, the Lord spoke the same message you have stated, that He wants this message out there! Who am I to say my book is the only one that God will use? And why not have a man’s perspective!

    Oh, how this humbled me. Today I am thankful the Lord allowed me to be a part of His message of reconciliating in-laws.

  5. Sarah Goebel September 3, 2009 at 10:51 AM #

    Marnie,
    Your example was clearly just that, an example. You are so right, temptation is “temptation”. We all have them. It is what we do with them that counts. I agree with you that God gives similar if not the same ideas to more than one person in the body of Christ. Afterall, we are of one Spirit and that Spirit is Christ. With the mind of Christ, we are bound to think similar thoughts, aren’t we? I think if we just focus on what God has called us to do and not worry about what He has called someone else to do even if the details of that appear to be the same, it all works out for everyone and His Kingdom is advanced. Christ is glorified! Thanks for sharing this important principle because I myself have seen this cause huge division, extreme pain and even character assassination in the body of Christ. We need to understand that when we have a God-idea, it belongs to Him to share with as many people as He would like. If someone receives the idea from us and God allows them to use it, it is still God. He is in control. We just need to trust Him!!!

  6. Karen True September 3, 2009 at 1:07 PM #

    Hello Marnie,

    It’s great to meet up with you on your blog. Thank you for letting us know about your post and for your honest and godly response to the questions that have been raised as a result of this week’s devotional in our newsletter.

    For your reader’s sake, I’ll introduce myself. I am the editor of one of Jennifer Rothschild’s websites, womensministry.net. Each week we deliver a Tip of the Week enewsletter to our subscribers. This week’s issue included a video devotional from Jennifer called, “Hungry,” and addressed whether we delight in God’s Word like we do in our food. Some wondered if Jennifer’s thoughts were “borrowed” from those in your new book.

    When I learned about your blog post, I shared it with Jennifer and decided to add a comment here. Since Jennifer cannot read many books and blogs due to blindness, she expressed her gratitude for your kind and thoughtful response along with your willingness to let us weigh in.

    We really appreciate and value the fact that God is using both of our ministries among audiences to which He calls us. This allows us to be truly grateful that we are all about the same business and have no need for competition. Knowing that ministry and places of influence are really a gift that comes from Him really is freeing.

    Marnie, you do such incredible work and have so often encouraged our ministry. Thank you for setting such a lovely example of godly beauty and integrity. We love what you are doing and hope we’ll all be able to continue working side by side for many years ahead.

    God bless you and prosper your new book and every other ministry opportunity He places in your care.

    Karen True
    Executive Editor
    womensministry.net

  7. Michele September 4, 2009 at 6:46 AM #

    Many years ago God woke me in the middle of
    the night with the idea for a book on the Bride of Christ, He even gave me the chapter titles. I’m
    ashamed to say that I never wrote that book, but
    you can imagime my suprise when a year later several books with all the ideas God had given
    me started showing up in the bookstore. Isn’t it
    good that God speaks to more than one of us
    about the same thing…….it’s all about getting His
    message out. My husband is a Pastor and I can’t
    tell you how many times people have said to me
    after Sunday service……” Oh your husband must have been watching so and so preach this
    morning on TV”……no dear friend, it’s all God,
    speaking to many hearts to get His message out.

  8. Jim & Alanda Burgess September 5, 2009 at 5:22 AM #

    Marnie, I am again impressed with your spiritual maturity and focus! When I first read the title of this week’s article, I was curious about your “take” on this issue…but, of course, there was no need for concern. The issue of Christian “plagiarism” has been a real source of contention, unfortunately, for many years among some who have been in very visible ministries (although much of the criticism has been done “quietly”). Amazingly (as you clearly pointed out) God is very consistent in the messages He wants to get across to His people and the world! I have lost count of the number of times my husband (a pastor) has been burdened to do a series on a certain topic, worked on it for weeks, and after his first sermon we would hear of other radio and tv personalities who were also beginning to speak on the same topic. Of course, it was not plagiarism at all, and was viewed by us as confirmation that God was indeed impressing this message on His servants, nationwide. We who hear and attempt to be His vessels must be very clear that it is HIS ministry, HIS message, and HIS Name that needs to be our concern – even if, occasionally, others are not quite scrupulous in giving proper credit. I am again impressed with your wisdom, Marnie, and your heart of service to our Lord! Keep up the wonderful work!

  9. Sally Ferguson October 1, 2009 at 3:39 PM #

    What a refreshing attitude! It is a joy to learn from someone who has room for all of us. You Go, Girl!!

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