Words of wisdom from my friend, Barb Bennett, who serves as Pastor of Community Care at Westview Community Church in Manhattan (Kansas, that is.)
On our blender, there are several settings, and depending on how we set it, we end up with a mixture containing chunks of fruit and ice-cream still identifiable, or the ingredients are liquefied and thoroughly mixed so none of the original items are recognizable.
We all hear and read great words and ideas that others have created, and sometimes we "borrow" those things to share with our group. When we study we gather information from a variety of sources; sometimes we cannot even remember exactly where we first learned something. As you sit down to prepare a lesson, imagine all that information is being put into a blender, whirred around, and then poured out when you present the lesson.
If your lesson still has identifiable "chunks" from someone else, you need to give credit to the person. We usually do this for direct quotations, such reading from a book or article. What we sometimes forget though, is that credit also should be given for ideas you heard from a speaker at a conference or even in personal conversation. When are careful to give others credit for their ideas, we have integrity.
Integrity means that we are true, not false, inside and out. It is okay to borrow others’ ideas as long as we don’t give the impression that those ideas are our own. Integrity means that when we use other’s thoughts or words, we give them credit. Then we are true to ourselves, and we honor others. When that happens, we resemble Jesus...and that is a very good thing.
Along the same line -- Here's an interesting post on sermon copying. I agree!
Preaching canned sermons is like serving tv dinners for Thanksgiving!