Posted: 7/8/19 at 4:30pm. Post by Tony Brooks.
So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply… (Genesis 1:27-28a NIV)
I believe through years of education, wisdom from many professors, and years of ministry experience that we are created to imagine, create goodness, and seek to be co-creators with God in order for earth to be more like heaven. What would it look like for our Sunday School classes/small groups to imagine new possibilities, create goodness, and seek to be co-creators?
Imagination is a gift from God. If you were to look up this statement online, you would see a host of articles to prove my point. God imagined a perfect world in the beginning and spoke the world into existence. When humanity failed (through sinfulness) to live up to God’s creation, God had a plan to reimagine a new creation. From Genesis to Revelation, humanity discovered that new plan.
Humanity was given the gift of imagination to look forward (not backward) at what God has in store. Too often in Sunday School and small groups we get comfortable with the past. We miss the Holy Spirit wanting us to look to “what could be” instead of “what has been.”
We live in a vastly changing culture. Churches who are stuck in the past will soon vanish! What are the practical ways to imagine?
Imagine new ways to teach and new ways to learn. (Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like documents on learning approaches and new ways to teach.)
Imagine ways to care for each other and build community. (Email me for ideas.)
Imagine ways to reach new people for Christ. (Email me for ideas.)
We should be creating goodness in our groups to set the example for our church, community, and around the world. If we simply look at the way things are in our world right now, we see divisiveness and an “us vs. them” mentality. Whether in politics, religion, race, and other areas, we see people choosing sides. We are all created in the “image of God,” should seek to love and respect each other and make our world a better place.
I have family members who would not agree with my political or religious views. I seek to understand them, their values, and how they came to their perspectives. There are areas where we agree to disagree. We can still look at ways to connect for the better good of our world. For instance, your groups/classes may have different opinions on political issues. What can you agree upon for the good of the group, church, and community? Focus on those things! So how do we move to a safe place for imagination, new ideas, and seeking to do good?
Set some ground rules for mutual respect for each other’s opinions.
Have a brainstorming session on ways to improve your group’s care and love for each other.
Have a brainstorming session on projects you can do together to help the church and community. I have suggested in the past that a class should have an ongoing service project. What would that be for your class/group?
We are to be Co-creators with God. What would that look like for your class?
Have a season of prayer. I suggest setting up prayer partners or triads for a month to three months to focus on the following:
What is God asking me to do to help build community in my class/group?
What is God asking me to do to help my church?
What is God doing in our community that we can join God in creating good?
One of my favorite quotes may bring us back to our world today and using our imagination:
“Some look at things that are and ask, “why?” I dream of things that never were and ask, “why not?” –George Bernard Shaw
If you are looking for ways to imagine, train leaders, and revitalize your churches, come join us on Saturday, August 24. You can learn more and register here.