Any parent of a child under the age of twelve remembers when it happened. When you gave yourself over to “Frozen mania” and everything was Elsa, Anna and Olaf the snowman. Although I am 30 years old, I would rival any three year old in my Frozen trivia knowledge. Bring it on toddlers! The truth is that Frozen did more than grab the imagination of our children, it also bonded the parents. We speak the same language, we sing the same songs and we know the dramatic pause that must precede these words: “the cold never bothered me anyway!” That’s the thing about movies, they create a shared world of imagination that injects itself into our reality and even our ministry.
That’s one of the secrets I learned as an interning pastor in seminary. The senior pastor had a Monday routine that included seeing 2 or 3 movies. Some balked that this was an enormous waste of time. Yet, in a darkened room and through the lens of someone else’s life experiences- he gained entry, understanding, language and knowledge of other worlds. It translated itself into fresh sermon illustrations, creative thematic bible studies and on-the-pulse small group topics. It allowed him to “Let It Go” and traverse the confines of his own gender or ethnicity or age and live for a time in someone else’s skin. In the years since graduating from seminary, I have created my own “Imagination routine,” but instead of movies, I turn to the NY Times Fiction Best Sellers List and the trending new original series on Netflix.
You see, it really doesn’t matter the medium-what matters is the model. Every once and a while you need to transport outside of the limits of your own congregation or your last administrative council meeting and unfreeze yourself. Find that thing, that movie, that book, that place, that routine that pushes you outside of yourself and allows you to imagine God in a new way. When you do, you also invite your congregation to journey with you and “For the First time in Forever” you’ll find your imagination Letting Go.
We’re in this together,