im·ag·i·neer - /iˌmajəˈnir/ - nouna person who devises and implements a new or highly imaginative concept or technology
Your kids ministry isn't going to be the same for a while. Sorry if that's news to you.
With our responsibility to do our part in keeping our communities safe and healthy, the return to what kids ministry was in February 2020 is in the very distant future.
You might be trying to think of the workaround of how to modify what you used to do to fit the provincial guidelines.
But just for a moment, let's let go of what was and dream of what can be. Let's start to think from the ground up. Let's forget the ways we have done things in the past and pioneer something totally new. Let's be people who devise and implement new and highly imaginative concepts. Let's be kids ministry imagineers.
I'm not suggesting that what was done in the past was bad (although some of it was), I'm saying may we not hold onto what God is telling us to let go of. May we not clench our fists to keep what was familiar and comfortable. May we be bold, take risks, chart into the unknown and even just consider the possibility of doing things differently.
Why do you do kids ministry? All our answers will vary. My answer boils down to showing kids that there's a God who loves them and wants to lead them into the best possible life.
If your answer was, "because kids are a distraction in the adult service," please give me a call and we can have a different conversation about that.
Most of us answer along the lines of wanting kids to know who Jesus is so they can have a relationship with him.
Start with the why. It is your constant; your north star. The "what we do" and "how we're going to do it" can change, but the why stays the same.
What if you had no limits? What if you had no budget constraints, no building capacity, no barriers to how you want to accomplish your vision. I know you do, but dreaming without limits opens up your mind to possibilities that you never thought imaginable.
Dreaming big takes you from an "I can't" mindset to an "I can" mindset. It helps you really focus on your why and think of what could be.
Not to mention that it's super fun.
If you can accomplish your vision alone, it's too small. You need a God-sized vision that can only be accomplished with the help of Him and others. You can't do everything by yourself.
Share your vision with others and get them fired up to change the world; to help implement a highly imaginative concept that will revolutionize the way kids experience God and come into a relationship with Him. The bigger the team, the bigger the vision, the bigger the impact.
Imagineering means taking a different route, and there is no map for uncharted territory. In the book Canoeing The Mountains, Tod Bolsinger says that there are three things that leaders have to face when they're in uncharted territory: a Changing environment where there is no clear answer, the necessity for both you and your followers to learn (especially you), and the unavoidable reality that the new solution will result in loss.
When you're doing something that no one has done before, there are no answers. No YouTube tutorial, no Google answer, no book that will give you the solution. We need to be okay with taking risks, failing and trying again. There are many resources that can give insight and point you in a better direction, but at the end of the day you have to be okay with not knowing if your concept will work.
Go for it! Take a risk. Try and try again.
With new landscapes come new skills that must be learned. You may know how to canoe but that won't help you climb a mountain.
When we hit a mountain in our journey we also have to be willing to learn new ways of doing things. We may even have to ask others to change the way they do things as well. Imagineering isn't just about learning new skills, but also learning new perspectives. Be open to new ideas and willing to change your mind. This is a great time to be curious; to be eager to learn new things from people different than you and explore the world around us.
One of the hardest parts of being a kids ministry imagineer is saying goodbye to things that came before us. It might have even been things that we implemented ourselves.
This is clearly seen with Disneyland imagineers. When a new concept is developed it typically replaces something that imagineers before them had poured their blood, sweat and tears into creating. Attractions are torn down. Shows get cancelled. Buildings are updated.
We need to honour and respect the imagineers who have gone before us, yet face new realities and deal with the grief of what will be lost.
Being a kids ministry imagineer is going to stretch you in many ways. It's going to be hard, but holding tight to the vision and knowing that one day it will be accomplished can be enough to keep you going.