#3 Decline of imagination
So I am 36 (and a half) and would still argue that I fit into a generation that operated a ‘free roaming’ adventure and imagination. We went out on a Saturday afternoons and explored the woods with catapults and Swiss Army knives creating imaginary enemies and setting traps and dens to build on the game. Imagination was alive and really fuelled afternoons of action and danger (some accidents too.)
We can often hear and even say that ‘the youth of today just have lost all that imagination we had!’ Now this spark of creativity and imagination, which some research does show a decline in certain areas of childhood today, is argued to actually be innate by the experts and it just needs to be nurtured for it to thrive. I personally don’t think technology is the beast that is suppressing this creativity in youth either, as lots of young people are incredibly creative, perhaps it’s just the way this is expressed has changed.
The call into the wild where I would find and shape the best and strongest stick to be my imaginary sword has maybe now become things like creative mode in Minecraft!
So what? What’s this got to do with you and me? Well if there is a creative vacuum in our younger men today I want to take some responsibility for it and action to counter it. I believe we can model a wide range of imagination right in the heart of our churches to young men. (Of course this doesn’t exclude the young girls, my daughters would ensure that, but this is about boys becoming men!)
Remember we are looking at men disengaged with the church, faith and discipleship. We are seeing men falling away from church and statistics that show young working class men being the most unreached in the UK
Can we enable environments to create imagination? Can we be Christian men who don’t complain about the youth of today not being as imaginative as us, but be ready to explore and nurture their own avenues for imagination?
What’s this got to do with Christianity and evangelism to men? Lots! If we miss this and fail to invest in these ways in the young men in our pews we will be missing a generation of men in church. When these young men get to 15, 16 the social call on their time and lives will continue to rob churches of their influence, creativity and voice and that will be a travesty of our doing.
We can inspire, we can help these young men create, build, explore, grow and know Jesus and who he says they are in incredible ways. That’s worth investing in! What have you got to lose….? Only the leaders, evangelists, preachers, Christian husbands and dads of tomorrow.