The Moonshot

I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal,
before this decade is out,
of landing a man on the moon
and returning him safely to the Earth.

President John F. Kennedy
Address to Congress
May 25, 1961

That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.

Neil Armstrong
Tranquility Base, The Moon
July 21, 1969

Houston, we’ve had a problem.

Jim Lovell
Apollo 13
approximately 321,860 km from Earth
April 14 1970

 Last week, Google was in the news.  Since you are reading this on the internet, it is EXTREMELY LIKELY that you know that Google was founded as a company that offers the ability to search the internet. Since that time, it has broadened into areas as varied as drones, pharmaceuticals and venture capital, none of which make much money, and some of which have spooked investors.

The news was about Google listening to Wall Street, while also trying to keep its innovation going. The Silicon Valley behemoth is reorganizing under a new name — Alphabet — and separating its moneymaking businesses (ummm, Google) from the moonshot ones (drones, drones, pharmaceuticals and venture capital… which are all in the exploratory stage….  Therefore, the nickname… moonshot)

I believe that the above quotes capture the whole sense of the actual moonshot venture in just three moments…  The Vision, The Mission Accomplished, and The Inventive Risk…  Not that there is an order to this sort of stuff.  Kennedy set the Goal, Armstrong realized it, and the events of Apollo 13 served as a qualifying exam for the whole process – not only did we put man and the machinery in place, but we were also capable to re-purpose the technology to serve emerging needs. As the carbon dioxide content of the Odyssey cabin air was distressingly rising to poisonous levels, the ground staff designed a contraception for the crew to build that maximized the resources available to them (Like plastic bags, cardboard, suit hoses, and duct tape.)

Last week, I discussed the micro-vision of my work in the two parish communities that I am presently serving.  But, soon after writing and posting it, I realized that something was really missing.  In the previous week, two weeks ago I discussed the shifting sands and tides of our ministry and called for macro-vision (bigger vision) but realized that in my recent tilt-a-whirl recovery existence I was failing to take a view of the whole landscape.  I was missing my moonshot.

There have been a few examples of youth ministry moonshots:

  • The Fuller Youth Institute committed to looking at adults in youth ministry, especially parents, as the key players in passing along sticky faith.
  • Marko and Adam created the Youth Cartel and are advancing Youth Ministry Coaching while raising a level of collaboration in developing a set of conferences, Open YM, that are affordable and raise up new talent, and developed a TED-style national gathering, the Summit, which raises up tough questions.
  • Then there is this whole Rebuild My Church / Project YM!!! I was there in the Cape Canaveral stages but greatly appreciate the actual heavy lifting of the imaginegineers and astronauts who actually landed both of these moonshots.  Michael, Scott, Tony… I both admire and am inspired by your many achievements and contributions to the field of Catholic Youth Ministry.

In each case, a larger vision, macro-vision, prompted others to achieve new heights, new goals and initiatives and to advance our ministries. And, in achieving those goals, the spirit of inventiveness might sustain us in the challenging times  that await us beyond the horizons of new dawns.

And, I had forgotten that.  After the Dizzying Ride, I had lost that.  But, no more.   Within a half day of considering it all… Got one now!

Not every moon shot is successful but stretching one self, your imagination, and your dreams as to what is possible is essential. How are you doing with your own moonshot(s)?OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

After all…

D. Scott Miller

D. Scott Miller is the dean of Catholic Youth Ministry bloggers which is a polite way of either saying that he is just plain old or has been blogging for a long time (since 2004.)

Scott recently married the lovely Anne and together they have five adult young people and also grandparent three delightful kids (so, maybe he is just plain old!) Scott presently serves at Saint John the Evangelist in Columbia, MD as the director of youth and young adult ministry.

He has previously served on the parish, regional, diocesan, and national levels as well as having taught within a catholic high school. He is one of the founders of RebuildMyChurch and has returned to posting regularly (keeping regular is important to old guys) at ProjectYM.


D. Scott Miller


D. Scott Miller is the dean of Catholic Youth Ministry bloggers which is a polite way of either saying that he is just plain old or has been blogging for a long time (since 2004.)

Scott recently married the lovely Anne and together they have five adult young people and also grandparent three delightful kids (so, maybe he is just plain old!) Scott presently serves at Saint John the Evangelist in Columbia, MD as the director of youth and young adult ministry.

He has previously served on the parish, regional, diocesan, and national levels as well as having taught within a catholic high school. He is one of the founders of RebuildMyChurch and has returned to posting regularly (keeping regular is important to old guys) at ProjectYM.



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