Photo credit: Rachel Wells

Photo credit: Rachel Wells

Missional Imagination
What Does Missional Mean?, Week 12
by Andrea Lingle and Bret Wells

The active work of the Missional Wisdom Foundation is lived out through ongoing missional experimentation. These experiments are developed through a conjunction of the contemplative stance and missional imagination. 

Imagination is what we experience when a story takes root in our mind. As the tendrils of narrative spread, new regions of brain activity are ignited. Once our imagination is fully
engaged, we not only hear the story but we see the story; we can smell it, taste it, touch
it...experience it. 


Imagination does not exist in a tangible way, but imagination animates us. Imagination takes you from a shady porch in North Carolina to the mud and slop of a forced march across the moors of the Scottish Highlands. Imagination invites us to believe that life could be more than an endless string of meaningless days. 

Missional imagination is the ability to see a day in the future when you and your
elderly, and to this point barren, wife have become the ancestors of a people that
outnumber the sands on the beach and the stars in the sky. It equips a valley
of dry bones to be knitted together by God, with life breathed into places formerly inhabited
only by death.


Missional imagination is the blending of faith and love. It is more than getting swept away by beautiful words or feeling the chaos in Picasso’s Guernica, it is allowing the Divine to show you what could be. Missional imagination is sitting down with what you know—with all its limitations and brokenness—and letting a seed of faith germinate something within you and your community.

Missional imagination equips us to look for ways the kingdom of God is already breaking in around us. It reminds us that God is already at work, right here where we live, and move, and have our being. Look out your window and see what God is already doing. Now, run outside and ask if you can help.

Invitation to Missional Mindfulness:

  • As a practice of Missional Imagination, I invite you to revisit the practice of Photography as a Spiritual Practice.
  • Imagination can make play profound. Luke Lingle shows how something as simple as a child’s toy can be a gateway to missional imagination. Grab a bucket of LEGO and play while you watch.  

Our Voices:
We asked what Missional meant to you. If you would like to share your definition of Missional, please take our survey. Here is one respondent's answer.

Relational engagement with community... coming alongside to be with folks & out of that relationship, partnering to seek out needs & dreams; living into God-sized possibilities together.

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