congrats to shannon on being in the 100 unseen powerful women who change the world list over at one world action's blog - i guess that makes her seen now?!
praxislabs is a new program that supports social entrepreneurs engaging in transformation from a christian/mission perpsective. if you've got a good idea and want to be connected into a network of fellows with the chance to raise some funding towards your idea/dream go and have a read...
i follow the blog lateral action - mainy because i am a big fan of anything that involves creative thinking. i always need challenging and encouraging to come at things creatively. i was struck by a recent post are you looking for a turtle with a moustache? which by the way doesn't exist! here's a section of the piece that will give you the idea...
When you want to be a great novelist, but you can’t face sitting at the laptop day after day, struggling to get the novel written, you are looking for a turtle with a moustache.
When you want to be a great actress, but you avoid auditioning because you can’t face rejection, you are looking for a turtle with a moustache.
When you want to be a famous artist but you think your art should sell itself, without any effort on your part, you are looking for a turtle with a moustache.
Or when you want to have a thriving business, but don’t want to get your hands dirty with sales and marketing.
Or when you love someone but wish they would change a few of their irritating personality quirks.
Or when you want to be a successful blogger, but don’t hit ‘publish’ because you’re afraid of criticism.
Whenever you want the juicy reward without paying the price, or facing the unpalatable truth, or doing the hard work, you are looking for a turtle with a moustache.
Whenever you think your work exists in some kind of pure spiritual dimension that has nothing to do with the grubby realities of life, you are looking for a turtle with a moustache.
we probably all find ourselves caught in this from time to time but i guess i was reflecting on it in relation to mission and pioneering. maybe it's something like...
when you want to be a pioneer but don't want to engage in issues of sustainability, ongoing support and structures - turtle with moustache!
when you want to take on a role paid for by the church as a pioneer but don't want to engage in church politics - turtle with moustache!
anyway you get the idea - add your own in the comments whether to pioneering or whatever else it is you are doing...
the two open days went well for the new cms pioneer training course i am leading. someone asked me what an open day was - hadn't figured that the term wouldn't cross cultures! it's simply a day for people to come and visit and hear about the course, see the facilities and meet students and ask questions. we'll be having another one in may - the 19th is the most likely date - if you missed out this time round.
there is now a blog on the pioneer web site. this is my first introduction to using word press which i am impressed with though it still like typepad too - the blend of pages and posts and drop downs makes it a very powerful tool for creating a web site. one of the easiest ways to follow along with news about the pioneer course is to subscribe - see subscribe on right hand column of the site - and then you simply get new posts arrive as an e-mail - all very neat. give it a week or two and we'll add in a facebook and twitter feed so you can follow along there too if that's your preferred world of info flow. i am not going to post everything i post here there and vice versa but it's so much my focus at the moment that i am barely having time to think about or do much else. so i will be picking some posts out to put here no doubt. we've created a couple of categories around inspiration - one is stuff we find that is inpsiring and the other is creative stuff produced by students on the way. anger passion talent is the first thing i have put in the inspiration section...
Kaospilot in Denmark is an innovation school that looks wonderful! They have been a source of inspiration for me ever since I bumped into some students at a youth ministry conference I was speaking at in Denmark many years ago. They seem to have an open source policy and will be putting up materials on to their web space. You've got to hunt around a bit to find things but I suspect it's a bit of a treasure trove. Anyway I unearthed a gem that I have begun to use in conversation in the pub, with my family over a meal and probably lots of other places.
I think I noticed it because of the reflecting we have been doing in the mission spirituality module on the course. I think it would be easy to dive straight in to this course with pioneers who are generally activists and think how can we make stuff happen and help them make stuff happen. But we've resisted that and our first two modules have been much more about who we are and how we reflect on that and who God is in relation to us and the world rather than what we do. In mission spirituality, Johnny Sertin who leads it has been getting us all to focus on who we are and what our unique contribution is to the world and out of that to write a mission statement. It's really hard to do but also been quite an important and powerful thing to focus on.
Anyway the gem I uncovered is a pdf booklet called life purpose by Neil Crofts who is a life coach. If you go to the kaospilot online library and scroll down it's the section titled what is my purpose. In it he suggests you draw three circles - anger, passion and talent. In each write 5 to 8 words of things in the world that make you angry, things you are passionate about and talents you have. Then distill those down to one word or phrase. Weave together those things into a purpose or mission statement. It sounds the simplest thing in the world but it has blown me away just how powerful a tool it is. We did this round the meal table with family at the start of the year and it was incredibly moving. I won't share all their statements here though you can see what I came up with through this process:I connect with and inspire creative leaders who don’t fit in, to help them be true to who they are and to do amazing things.
So I guess setting up and leading this course is a pretty neat place for me to be right now! At least I hope so :-)
the prospectus arrived from the printers on friday.
we have open days tomorrow and wednesday (not too late to come along btw but let me know).
there is lots i more could say about it but there is enough to digest in the prospectus and web site. do let me know what you think. and please do spread the word about this - it's early days and i think it will grow by word of mouth. i can't quite believe we have come this far so quickly...
steve collins sent me a link to this article - beyond groups: why curated membership communities are today's most important networks. it sounds as though it's something that might have come out of a conversation on new monasticism with the importance of ethos at the centre of a relational community life but not so - this is coming out of a conversation around social capital and networking and how they are transforming business and culture. that doesn't mean for a moment that its any more significant than if it's a conversation around community life in faith communities. but it did impact me all the more none the less. it's a reminder that the search for new ways of being the body of christ is a quest that chimes in with the quest in the wider culture for ways of being human and being community and making a difference.
The explosion of curated membership communities is an attempt to create the shared experiences which bring us into contact with those people, giving us access to the amazing world which we can see, if not fully yet grasp.
it's also interesting that curation as a way of thinking about leadership has not just spilled into thinking about worship leading but is an exciting new metaphor elsewhere.
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.
you may wonder where i have been recently - in that my blog has been pretty lame! the honest truth is that i have not been as busy as i have in the last 9 months for quite a number of years (and i am generally a busy person). no one has been frank enough to leave a comment to tell me to pull my finger out and improve the blog so i thank you for your patience! people have sent me books and i haven't managed to review them and so on. i fear it will carry on this way for a while yet... but it's also been an exciting time. one year ago almost exactly i was sat with a group of people dreaming about what we would do to train leaders - we produced a ton of flip chart sheets and an action plan (the actions were pretty much all for me to do!). i thought deep down it was incredibly optimistic. but a year on and a training course is up and running and we have done what we wrote and i have just finished teaching the first module of the course which may seem a small deal but i felt pretty excited inside...
a friend, sam, described to me the process of developing a training course as being like pushing a boulder uphill, but that once the students arrive it all changes. there is energy and suddenly the thing is rolling and you are running to keep up. that has been exactly my experience with the pioneer mission leaders training! it’s been so exciting to get started back in september after all the planning.
we (cms) have 10 people taking part in the pilot year of the course and we and they are really enjoying it. they are amazing people involved in mission in different contexts - church plants, comedy clubs, with spiritual seekers, with homeless and broken people, with young adults. we have 50/50 men and women and they range in age from 20s to 60s - pioneering is something that is about gift and calling and not age or gender.
anyway all this is by way of saying i have written a fourth newsletter (the other three are linked to from this one if you missed them). at some point in the new year we'll shift to a web site and some kind of brochure/publicity but for now the newsletters are it. if you know anyone who might be interested do forward the newsletter on - we are currently relying on word of mouth.
if you are interested in finding out about the training as a student we have an open day on march 1 - we are looking to recruit people for next year. if you are interested as a sponsor, bishop, training officer, selector or anything that is in a training/supporting role we have an open day for you on march 2.
i recently attended a sweet notions party - sweet notions is a social enterprise recycling jewellery. they collect jewellery and accessories and resell. all profits go to support projects. if you fancy hosting a sweet notions party contact shannon... i took some photos for them at a recent party. it looked amazing. here's one and i have added another here. no doubt more will be used on their web site in the future...
i previously blogged about it here.
next up at NET on january 26 is chris allwood founder of auction my stuff and none other than my sister esther baker, founder and director of synergy theatre project. NET stands for the network of entrepreneurial talent and there is a monthly meeting on the last monday of the month on the hms president on the thames. the next few months speakers are listed on the site as well...
the next evening of NET, the network of entrepreneurial talent is on monday oct 27th on the hms president on the thames as per usual with two guest speakers. here's the blurb
We have two speakers both of whom have extensive experience in financing transformational projects.
Daniel Brewer, Director of Resonance. Daniel is a social entrepreneur with a passion for people engaging their wealth with their values. Having spent several years in manufacturing he founded Resonance in 2002, a financial intermediary specialising in helping ‘social enterprises’ raise risk capital from values-led investors. He co-leads the joint venture Equity Plus which runs the Cabinet Office sponsored Social Enterprise Angel Network and has been a non-exec of a number of social enterprises involved in recycling, fair trade and tackling homelessness.
He admires people that take good risks, pursue their passions with conviction and still manage to hold it all lightly.
Rachel Millward, Development Director of Five Talents. Five Talents is a Christian microfinance charity, working to fight poverty and create jobs in Africa, Asia and Latin America by providing loans and business training to poor entrepreneurs. Five Talents was established in 1998 by the worldwide Anglican Church as a practical means of improving the lives of the ‘economically active’ poor. Five Talents establishes partnerships with community-based initiatives, providing business training, technical support and external funding. Their partners lend to clients regardless of ethnicity or religious beliefs and 65% are women. The average Five Talents client has five dependents and lives on less than $2 a day.
Rachel Millward joined Five Talents in August 2007. She previously worked as a Credit Analyst in the Credit Risk Management and Advisory Department of Goldman Sachs in London for 11 years.
shannon hopkins is an amazing woman - a dynamo who is always making things happen. she helped us rethink how to relaunch proost last year and facilitates the NET. as well as catalysing other peoples ideas and new business she has launched one of her own and expect it to fly!
it's called sweet notions and here is what shannon says about it in an e-mail...
You might know that I have launched a new initiative with a friend whereby we collect accessories and resale them through boutique events around the world. We did a pilot in the spring in America and found we were onto something. So we are publicly launching in both the US and UK in the autumn. This initiative is considered a social enterprise because we are trying to create multiple kinds of capital: economic, environmental, social and spiritual. I am excited about this venture and would love for you to go check out the website.
We really do need help to make this a success... We are still looking for women who will partner with us by clearing out their closets and giving us their accessories they no longer wear, and asking their friends to do the same. If you are interested there is a flier you can download from the website. We are also looking to book more boutique events for the fall calendar. Why don't you think about hosting an event in your home, office or church?
so gather your unwanted accessories, get your friends to, and host an event. and all the profits go here
sorry short notice but there is a really good NET tonight on the HMS president on the thames. here's the blurb. (it's free and there is a bar)
We will be hearing from two social entrepreneurs, both of whom empower the groups they are seeking to support by employing them; both are working with the homeless. The first speaker leads a fresh and innovative social enterprise which is attracting much press coverage for their ability to engage big businesses. The second speaker is a household name and founder of one of the worlds best known social enterprises; he is internationally regarded as a pioneer and leading authority on social enterprise.
Simon Fenton-Jones, CEO of StreetShine. Following several years setting up a successful agricultural business in Vietnam, Simon returned to the UK and helped develop and raise funds for StreetLeague, a charity that inspires disadvantaged groups through sport. Hearing about the StreetShine concept, Simon joined in early 2004 and established all foundations for the organisation to help realise StreetShine as a social enterprise. StreetShine is a social business that gives vulnerable people the opportunity to earn a living and learn new skills through shoe shining. Simon brings genuine passion to his role and the organisation, believing that the social enterprise model of business combines perfectly with the focus of StreetShine - helping people realise their potential and improve their personal situations.
John Bird, Founder and Editor-In-Chief, The Big Issue. John Bird, was a poor boy, orphan, thief, inmate, artist and poet before going on to found the ground-breaking social initiative that is The Big Issue. He was born shortly after the Second World War to a London-Irish family into slum-ridden Notting Hill. Homelessness, orphanages, crime and prison characterised much of his early life until his metamorphosis into a successful small businessman occurred in the 1980s. Since setting up The Big Issue magazine and foundation to help the homeless help themselves some sixteen years ago, John has become an authority on motivation and the ascendancy to achievement. Amongst the places he has spoken are the UN in New York, Nairobi and Istanbul, Downing Street and Buckingham Palace. The UN Scroll of Honour, an MBE and the 2005/6 Beacon Prize for Creative Giving are just three of the many accolades and awards he has received. Since the inception of The Big Issue in 1991, John has overseen its development into the UK's most successful social enterprise, stretching from Tokyo to Totnes and helping thousands of homeless people worldwide. John's latest venture is called Wedge Card, a loyalty card aimed at revitalising the local high street. The card gives shoppers discounts at hundreds of independent businesses as well as raising money for local charities. His autobiography "Some Luck", is a fantastic explanation of much of John’s lack of fortune, misfortune and his ascendancy out of the vulgar life of crime to social engineering. In March 2007 he took part to the Quick Reads campaign and wrote the best selling book ‘How to change your life in 7 steps’.
the sorting room opens today. andrew and debbie have been working crazy hours in the last few weeks to be ready. it's a co-orerative of several businesses - comunity business initiative i think is the term. it's very exciting. it relates a bit to the sustainability post before - a very different approach. andrew has written a piece i have referenced before on mission and the fourth sector
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where i come across creative ideas, liturgies, movies, music tracks, service outlines or anything that strikes me, i add them as worship tricks. i started these in april 2002 when i first began blogging and they have built up over the years so that i am now on the third series. this has proved a pretty popular feature of the blog.