What is the Missional Imagination?
The following is a description of the purpose of the 6, 8 or 10 week Missional Imagination course offered by Missional Monks. This course began as the pilot program for studying the effectiveness of online learning and dialog paired with local practice in the Communitas experience. If you or your church may be interested in this course or Communitas, click the “more info” link at the bottom of this post.
Missional Imagination introduces participants to the role of missionally oriented imagination regarding the themes of God, scripture, humanity, worship and community. Imagination is used by advertisers, movie and television producers, motivational speakers, politicians, personal trainers, psychologists and even infomercial gurus. Imagination cultivates us as the germination ground for the seeds of revolution, reform, embodiment of particular ideals or commitment to a particular brand, product or cause.
Imagination is what we experience when a story takes root in our mind. As tendrils of the narrative spread, new regions of brain activity are ignited. Once our imagination is fully engaged, we not only hear the story but we see the story; we can smell it, taste it, touch it…experience it. There are those who believe that the imagination is just for keeping children occupied. They are sorely mistaken. Imagination is an essential aspect of development during childhood. It helps young people explore their world, discover their place in the story, develop the confidence to face monsters and pursue dreams.
Imagination is significantly more than entertainment for children and its significance does not dissipate in the transition to adulthood.
Imagination grows by exercise, and contrary to common belief, is more powerful in the mature than in the young. – W. Somerset Maugham
No organized sporting contest, no battle for liberation, no educational reform, no campaign for office, no quest for a corner office, no cry for release from captivity, no response to that cry, no charitable organization or humanitarian cause has ever been conceived or realized without the assistance of the imagination. It is our window into the world that could be. In the case of the missional imagination, its our window into the world that should be, can be and will be through the power of God.
Missional imagination provides the ability, even though you and your wife are already old and without children, to see that day in the future when have become the ancestors of a people that outnumber the sands on the beach and the stars in the sky. It enables you to see the land flowing with milk and honey, though you are currently wandering in a barren desert. It equips us to envision a valley of dry bones being knitted together by God, with life breathed into places formerly inhabited only by death.
A missional imagination inspires conviction and courage in the face of seemingly hopeless odds. This is why in Isaiah 61:3b-4, the prophet, despite contemporary evidence to the contrary, could say:
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord
for the display of his spendor.
They will rebuild the ancient ruins
and restore the places long devastated;
they will renew the ruined cities
that have been devastated for generations.
The missional imagination can take a simple mustard seed, or perhaps a handful of seeds, a coin, a sheep, a lump of bread dough or a lamp on its stand, and transform them into a vision of an entirely new reality.