Imagination is one of the great gifts bestowed on us by our Creator, observe authors Gary and Kim Shockley, and it can be the spark that ignites a fire of change in our lives.
Drawing on their more than thirty years of pastoral and church consulting experience, the Shockleys illustrate the power of imagination using personal stories born of their own quest to be faithful in ministry. They also show readers that imagining church is a shared experience among God’s people. When we imagine the church—form a mental image of what we believe the church is and ought to be—we are co-creators with the Master Designer, Chief Architect, and Greatest Creator, and can help others imagine church. They remind leaders, “If you can’t see it, neither will anyone else.”
The Shockleys outline how we in the church are now laborers in a new kind of vineyard—one that requires a new way of thinking and acting in our postmodern world. They invite readers to step into the flow of God’s activity and, using the gifts God has given us, cooperate in the work of ministry and mission. Rather than suggesting one model or process for church effectiveness (“do it this way and grow”), Imagining Church helps congregational leaders to think more imaginatively about how God is at work in our present ministry contexts. This will help to open ourselves anew to the Spirit of God—the Divine Artist—who is ready to fuel our desire to be the co-creators we are meant to be for the sake of the church.
Praise for the Book
“As we live in a ‘time between the times’ for the church and its future, how blessed we are to have a book like this, written by people who have drawn their conclusions from actual ministry experience. As a result, their vision is real and compelling—enabling us to live in the tension between the need to preserve certain things and reaching out for the new things God has in store for the body of Christ.” —Dr. Steve Harper, Professor of Spiritual Formation, Asbury Theological Seminary
“By the time you finish reading Imagining Church, you will love Kim and Gary! With a blend of self-deprecating humor, biblical and theological foundations, and a rich storytelling style, the Shockleys have created a resource that will help pastors and congregations imagine a church that is truly the hope of the world. They have included a wealth of illustrations, providing the reader with a plethora of ideas for things to do and values to guide the mission.” —Margaret Ann Crain, Professor of Christian Education at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary