Friday, July 18, 2008

Godly imagination!


This comment by Major Clive Nicolson featured in the Southern Division Newsletter and is full of insight. A timely reminder that we can become organisationally constipated with a morass of compliance and conformity requirements. It is of course sociologically inevitable that all organisations become increasingly linear whereas 'imagination' involves lateral thinking and movement. The sequence of 'Man, Movement, Monument' comes to mind. Laterally-minded people think big, broadly, provocatively and creatively. This was true of the OT prophets and their 'prophetic imagination', some church history and some of the early social & political actions of the Army. We also think of Wesley, Newton, Wilberforce, Gandhi, Bonhoeffer, Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, Johns Paul 11, Walesa, Romero, Desmond Tutu, Nelson Mandela, Dorothy Day, to have the powerful force of ‘God enlightened imagination’ illustrated. (IanK)

“It all began with God. I’m continually amazed at God’s awesome creative abilities.
Those words, “Let there be” and “Let us”, brought into being the imagined thoughts of
the creator and the world and all that is in it took shape and began its journey through
the ages.
It all began with God, His imagination, His thoughts, and His desire to have relationship
with mankind.
Einstein once said; “I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination.
Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination
encircles the world.”

I have been thinking about Einstein’s statement and have come to the conclusion that
perhaps we need to hear his words and apply them to the church today.
Could it be that we have more knowledge about running churches than we have ever
had with a host of seminars and training opportunities available to us? I’m not
discounting the usefulness of these but could it be that what is missing in our churches
today is imagination.
Einstein also said, “If you can imagine it, you can do it.”

As the Army has come of age perhaps we have focused too much on knowledge and
not enough on inspired imagination. May be we have forgotten what it is to dream the
dream, take a risk and have a go. Our need to understand every part of the plan has
cramped our style and we have become more and more conservative and safe in our
approach to mission.

I was personally challenged at our recent Officers fellowship to think outside the box
more when it comes to the church and how it should function today. Perhaps we need
to find time to sit and allow God’s Sprit to really inspire us with His creativity. What
might be possible I wonder? What changes might God inspire us as individuals and as
an Army to make? What could our ministry and mission look like in the future?

I wonder if we each out of a holy discontent admitted that some of the things we
currently are doing are not working and began to as we discovered in the book club at
fellowship the process of clarifying the win, thinking steps not programmes, in narrowing
the focus, teaching less for more, listening to outsiders, replacing ourselves and as we
continued to work on it, what might be possible.
Let us as leaders encourage a culture of creativity, risk taking, and a positive faith in
God for as Matthew 19:26 says “With God all things are possible. “

Major Clive Nicolson is Divisional Secretary for Programme – Southern Division

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