My typical drives each day include taking my son to school, taking the dog to the dog park, and going to and from work. These short drives are some of my favorite times during the day because I get to geek out on snippets of NPR! I absolutely love it! There’s always something interesting. Like the story of a girl who took it upon herself to fix an aged piece of art hanging in her local cathedral. Thinking she was doing something nice, she destroyed a historic and valuable piece of art. Parishioners are paying to have a professional come and restore it again. Fail.
The NPR piece that most recently captured my attention was a piece about scientist. Scientist have two very important traits, intelligence and an incredible imagination. Before their intellect begins figuring out the mathematics and science required to make something possible, their imagination allows them to see vividly what is possible. The Wright brothers imagined a new type of travel. When their intelligence worked with their imagination, air travel became the new reality of transportation.
Thomas Edison imagined the use of incandescent affordable lighting giving us the ability to illuminate our homes. His imagination went wild, and his intellect went to work. What I love about the imagination is it allows us to see solutions to the needs around us. When our imagination is paired with our intelligence, combined with a commitment to produce a solution, we can then facilitate the exchange of current realities for new realities.
*First, we must be willing to imagine a new reality.
*Second, we must use our intelligence to work out the details that will facilitate this new reality.
*Third, we must learn from failed experiments and make adjustments needed to reach our goal rather than allowing failures to create obstacles. We plan to fail, rather than failing to plan.
Thomas Edison was committed to his imagination. He pictured a new reality and worked tirelessly thinking through possibilities. He spent a year and a half failing. When he failed, he made the adjustments needed to see his imagination and inventions come to life. Edison had to invent seven elements practical to electric lighting in order to replace the gas lighting of the time.
-the parallel circuit
-a durable light bulb
-an improved dynamo
-the underground conductor network
-the devices for maintaining constant voltage
-safety fuses and insulating materials
-light sockets with on-off switches
This incredible story of Edison’s commitment to a new reality leads me to wonder- do we have the imagination to provide a solution or new reality through ministry but lack the intellectual commitment it takes to exchange our current reality for a new reality?
For just a moment, substitute the word imagination for vision. Maybe we have the vision to see our youth ministries reach beyond the walls of the church. That’s a start. But do we give up on our imagination/vision after 1 month of trial and error? Are we willing, like Thomas Edison, to spend a year and a half failing? Are we willing to develop the critical things it takes to see our vision come to life and facilitate new realities in the communities we serve?
With all my heart I imagine a generation that knows the love of God and extends his love to those around them. And with all my heart I am committed to fail until I’ve accomplished that which facilitates an exchange of current reality for a new reality.
What developments are critical to the new reality you imagine for the teens you serve?