becky garrison has another book out - starting from zero with $0: building mission shaped ministries on a shoestring. first up this is one of the crucial issues in the whole area of fresh expressions, emerging church etc - what you might call sustainability - how do you create sustainable projects/communities when you have nothing to start with?
the book has around a dozen stories of creative passionate people who have done precisely that - started from nothing in a host of different ways. i confess i expected a few more answers to the overarching question but maybe that was either naive or overly optimistic or too much a mindset of looking for models. but what the book does offer is a mix of stories of projects and churches who have started and kept going and struggled along the way - and if you read between the lines there are a number of ways that they became sustainable ranging from being run entirely by volunteers (as we do in grace - cheap to run!), through to getting individuals to support a leader, bi-vocational ministry (that is part time work, part time ministry) and raising monies through business and grant making bodies.
the book has some gems in it - i think my favourite story was common cathedral probably partly because i hadn't come across it before. this grew in response to debbie the founder's concern for the homeless and she simply went where they were and ended up taking worship services on boston common for people disconnected from church and a community and range of things just sort of emerged/evolved from there organically for which they fundraised along the way. both grace and proost are highlighted in the book.
i liked the reflections on the way forward at the end by karen ward, andrew jones and tom brackett. what becky does well is seek out good stories and let them speak for themselves - you can make of them what you will. those different voices in the book are good but they also make the book a challenge as a whole - it ends up feeling qute piecemeal. but it's a welcome addition to the conversation around an important question...
we'll certainly be addressing this question in the pioneer mission leaders training at cms - especially in the missional entrepreneurship module next autumn.