I had a really good conversation last week with one of my assessors from the church planting resource organization. We talked and processed through some more of our experience from the assessment and their recommendations to us. I came out of that conversation feeling much more comfortable continuing to walk and learn with them as we discover the paths God is leading us. Amy and I still have another conversation or two ahead of us before we take any significant steps forward, but I am encouraged by the visit.
The idea of imagination has become an important one for me over about the last five years. I owe this to the Sermon Seminar put on by David Fleer that was formerly held at Rochester College in Michigan and has since moved to the Lipscomb campus in Nashville, Tennessee. Prophetic imagination has been a strong component of that seminar, often seen in the thematic titles each year – The World Imagined in (insert biblical text here). The idea being that if we cannot imagine the new world God is creating, then how can we actually learn to live in it. Scripture is a fantastic tool for imagination because it descriptively tells God’s story of creating new realities. I’m not sure if that all makes sense or if I really understand what prophetic imagination is, but nevertheless, I have come to value my own imagination in helping me see the new realities that God is creating in my own life.
Perhaps you could sense the frustration because of the absence of imagination in my last post. Initially after the close of Sunrise I was having conversations with several people that were helping my imagination. I was imagining financial support, partnering congregations, potential core team members and co-workers. I was also imagining opportunities that would give me more time to work out these and other details of future church planting. These dreams/imaginations were more than just the hopes in my own head. They were hopes that were growing by conversations and opportunities others were sharing with me. I have lived long enough to know that things never work out just like you imagine them, but I think there can/will be some correlation between dreams and how things actually play out. However, it seems like all the possible ways forward that I had imagined disappeared last week.
Imagination was one of the reasons that I really appreciated the conversation I had with my assessor this week. He helped me imagine a new way forward, a way that I could even get excited about. There are still a lot of unanswered questions, but I think I am about ready to start asking them. Of course, history shows that this could disappear in an instant as well. And I’m sure that it won’t work out just like I imagine. But at least at the moment I’ve got an imagination.