A college student spoke to me this past Sunday. She said, “I really want to serve with the kids this summer at VBS, but I can’t because I’ll be working. I really want to serve so I can give the parents a break (they sure deserve one). So, I thought about another way I can help. I want to serve in Children’s Sunday school every week, all summer long.”
I wanted to pinch myself to make sure I wasn’t dreaming! I thought, wow, she didn’t let anything stop her from her desire to serve at church! The question she likely asked herself was What would it look like if … I worked with the children at church in a different way this summer?
What would it look like if … is becoming one of my favorite questions. It is a great way to thoughtfully explore possibilities, investigate ideas, and safely suggest creative change. Yes, I said it…change. I recognize that it is hard for some people to think outside the box and consider change. I happen to enjoy exploring “out of the box” ideas. However, I sometimes get quite nervous when the time comes to actually implement the new ideas and changes.
Change is hard and scary for some people. Change is also exciting, invigorating, and energy producing for other people. I believe change brings growth. I’ve heard that growth happens when you operate at the edge of your comfort zone. I guess that means I’m a growth-minded person because I frequently find myself operating right on the edge of my comfort zone (which can sometimes put others around me on the edge of their comfort zones). If you ask me, it is a fun, exciting, invigorating (and sometimes scary) place to be!
This “out of the box” and curious thinking comes from asking myself What would it look like if…?
- What would it look like if we changed the way we did Children’s Sermons during Lent in worship?
- What would it look like if we invited the youth to act out the bible story on Sunday mornings for the children?
- What would it look like if I infused 30 minutes of uninterrupted devotional time into my day?
Sometimes I catch myself shooting down my own ideas with my internal dialogue, my worries, and my fears!
- How would that work? Is this what is best for the children? Would people like it? Would it be meaningful?
- Would the youth want to do that? Would they come? How would the logistics work?
- How would I fit 30 minutes of devotional time into my day? Would I give up sleep in the morning or at night? I can’t add one more thing to my day!
I went to a training a few years ago and discovered that the best way to keep moving forward with new ideas is to respond with Yes, and instead of responding with No, but.
- Yes, it will be different for the children if we change the children’s sermon AND what better way to expose them and the congregation to new prayer practices and deepen our discipleship.
- Yes, there will be logistical issues in getting youth into children’s Sunday school for 6 weeks AND we can spend time working out those details.
- Yes, I will lose some sleep if I wake up early or stay up late AND therefore maybe over lunch is the better time to integrate my 30 minutes of uninterrupted devotional time.
This Yes, and response is a big one for me. I’m learning that:
- Implementing new, exciting, and invigorating ideas doesn’t mean that I have to keep piling things on to my list to make them happen.
- I can integrate new ideas into things I’m already doing.
- I don’t have to make all the changes at once.
- I can continue the flow of curiosity and creativity by asking What would it look like if…?
- I can keep my mind open to the possibilities by using my Yes, and response.
This week one of our older church members stopped me in the hall and said, “I really like the new things you have been trying during Children’s Time in worship. I can’t wait to see what we try next week!” What great validation to encourage me to keep moving forward with my question of What would it look like if… and my response of Yes, and.
Will you join me in asking What would it look like if… more often?
Will you join me in giving the Yes, and response more often?
Come on out to the edge of the comfort zone with me…the water is fine, the creative ideas are flowing, and incredible growth is happening!