Some ideas change the world (mobile phones, the internet, birth control pills, contact lenses, the Kitten Cam).
Other ideas never really get off the ground (most ideas I have).
The only way to tell the difference? To try them out.
Sure, we risk falling on our faces. We risk making fools of ourselves. We may even risk "wasting" resources or time. But if we never try the ideas? We risk stagnation and death.
Not every idea works, but not having ideas at all, or just sitting on them, or worse: talking them to death, leaves us empty and boring and irrelevant. Some would say this is what has happened to the church in the 21st century--we have forgotten how to try out ideas. We've forced ideas to go through a system that bogs down in numbers and outcomes and details, rather than putting things into practice and seeing what happens, which means we're stuck with doing the things that were someone's idea 60 years ago (not that those ideas were bad--but every idea has its time!). And now that "relevant" is one of the church's buzzwords, one of those things everyone is striving for, we find that we're too afraid to try something new because if it doesn't work, it'll be just one more sign that the church is irrelevant.
Chicago Ideas Week. There are a zillion different labs, talks, workshops, etc, happening all week long at venues all over the city. At first glance, few seem to be directly related to church or pastoring or whatever you want to call my line of work. But I suspect there's lots to be learned from cross-fertilization, and lots to be thought about at the various sessions. I'm ready to have my mind opened to all kinds of new ideas, and to get excited about applying those ideas in a variety of different ways. Cuz one of the things about being "relevant" is about how we're able to see the world, and a variety of perspectives and ideas, through a gospel lens. You can find me looking at all kinds of things through my Spirit-glasses this week! Here's hoping that some of those ideas might make a difference to someone, somewhere. Because that's what Jesus calls us to do--let go of fear and figure out how to make a difference--a difference called The Kingdom Of God. We'll see.
So, if you're looking for me this week, you can find me at the Twist lab, a Storytellers talk, the Agile lab, Me So Far, Be More Interesting, and Rhythm and Spirit. See you there!