I had a really engaging talk with my friend Joe the other day, and one of the things he mentioned was how important imagination was in the kingdom. In the world that is emerging, including the world of church leadership, I think imagination and creativity are more important than knowledge and skill. In fact, I think new "knowledge" leaders need is imagination, the new "skill" is creativity. It isn’t just knowing about something anymore, it’s about being able to think beyond what is, and imagine what could be. It isn’t about simply being skilled at a task anymore, it’s about being skilled at adapting to new challenges: being skilled at knowing what new skills I need to learn.
Imagination is the ability to envision something that isn’t there (yet). Because of the rapid of culture change, we need leaders who can imagine new ways of being and doing "church" that resonate in postmodern culture, and then in whatever comes after that. Their ideas will seem "wacky" to people that are used to the status quo, but it’s those kind of wacky ideas that we need to get us thinking in the right direction.
Whenever you catch yourself assuming that you need X or Y to "have church" or "do ministry" (a building, money, paid staff, a sermon, a worship band, a sound system), you’re killing your ability to imagine and create anything new. Any time you catch yourself saying, "But I just can’t imagine doing it any other way," you’re one step away from being irrelevant.
Stay imaginative, stay creative. Ask absurd questions, be open to wacky ideas, don’t censor crazy ideas just because they’re crazy. Follow the implications in your imagination and just see if you can’t dream up a better world. Because if you can’t imagine it, you can’t create it.