Holy Dreaming | UMC YoungPeople
Connecting young people and their adult leaders to God, the church, and the world
July 2017

Holy Dreaming

By Jay Campbell

By Jay Campbell

As a kid, I loved to visit my grandfather and explore his basement workshop. I was fascinated by his tools and the many carpentry projects he created with them. During one visit he had made me, what I would consider to be, an enlarged magic wand. This became one of my favorite gifts. Every time I played with my friends in the woods I would use this “wand” as something that had unlimited power and could grant whatever I asked of it. It was a tool that helped my childlike imagination come to life.

Today, this gift from my grandfather sits on one of my shelves at home. Over the years it has become a symbol of my faith. It is a reminder of the necessity to dream and to imagine new possibilities. It consistently calls me to wonder about God’s dreams for the church and the world. It invites me to a faith that dreams about who the church can truly be. It encourages and reminds me that, as a young person, I can have a role in shaping the direction of the church. It reminds me to keep dreaming and believe that God is doing new things and is ready to breathe new life into us.

As a young person, I can have a role in shaping the direction of the church

I have found this act of holy dreaming to be a deeply meaningful spiritual practice. It has allowed me to encounter the presence and heart of Jesus. It is through this practice that the Spirit sustains my faith and infuses it with hope, joy, and passion.

One exercise that I have found very helpful in practicing imagination is called design a church. It comes from a confirmation curriculum and has been a really fun practice to do with confirmands as it asks them to create their own church. You get to draw how you desire the building to look, you pick your four areas of focus, create a list of signature ministries, decide what your budget will look like, and what the name of your church will be. This is a great exercise that invites us to dream and design what we believe the church can look like. It’s an act of holy play and holy imagination. It’s an act of prayer and sharing our desires with God.

The Spirit is ready to breathe life into our vision and passion for the church.

Do you feel you have permission to dream? If not, I hope this short devotion helps you discover freedom and permission to let your mind wonder in the goodness of God’s unlimited possibilities. Not every dream or idea we have may come to life, but together, with one another and with God, the Spirit is ready to breathe life into our vision and passion for the church. May we be open with joy, imagination and childlike wonder to the movement of God.

Discussion Questions: What dreams do you have for the church?

Jay Campbell is a provisional elder in the Virginia Conference. He lives with his wife Katie and their dog Rue in Alexandria, VA.