If the church was a car, what kind of car would it be?
My favourite answer was: "A new VW Beetle–a modern version of an old classic"
I thought that was a really interesting take on church. It was meant positively. We have a classic message that doesn't change with time, but the way we do things has changed.
We then moved on and asked ourselves what kind of car would we like it to be. This turned into a drawing of a bus with all sorts of interesting things going on as we added to our picture.
Sometimes these sorts of exercises can run away with you, but by thinking in a different way to the way we might normally think we have the opportunity to be creative in ways we may not normally be creative. I remember listening to an interview between Bill Hybels and Steve Sample, the President of USC (University of Southern California). During the interview he told the story of how he developed the concept of an electronic controller for a dishwasher or washing machine (I forget which). Apparently he lay down on the floor and thought about how a small insect might control the machine.
So, if you're a bit stuck today because you can't see how to get from where you are to where you want to be, you might want to try something that might at first appear really odd, but in the end might just open your eyes to a possibility you can't quite see from where you are currently sitting.
If drawing cars or imaging how ladybirds might run your church are not for you, you might like to try mind-mapping or spider diagramming. I use this technique for developing sermon ideas and presentations. I start with my central idea or proposition in a box in the middle of the page and then branches of words, ideas and phrases. From there I try to pick out the recurring and bigger themes.
I know some people have very precise rules about how to mind map, but I just get the paper and a pen and go for it. If you haven't tried it, give it a go, you might be surprised by the outcome.