this is the twelfth of a series celebrating twenty years at cms
see 1. gold | 2. emerging church | 3. blah | 4. new forms | 5. worship tricks | 6. mission shaped church and fresh expressions | 7. pioneer ministry | 8. church planting | 9. red tape | 10. doing the imaginative work | 11. post colonial mission
last week in the usa the main reason i was there was to attend a consultation at princeton hosted by kenda creasy dean exploring the combination of social innovation and theological seminaries with a view to designing some training options that seminaries might be able to try out. it was actually quite special to be at that gathering because it was being facilitated by shannon hopkins and mark samson. when we got to design the pioneer training at cms back in 2010 i knew i wanted a module on missional entrepreneurship and it was shannon i asked to design and lead it and both she and mark have regularly been part of the team on that module. it is not a direct line but i think it's not unreasonable to say that the experience of those weeks has led shannon, mark and matyroshka haus and now goodmakers society and rooted good to keep innovating in that space developing various tools and workshops. so it felt like the consultation was at least in part the result of some ripples out from those early days. we now call that week make good and have seen people bring fledgling ideas that have become projects, enterprises, charities. if you have read pioneer practice clean for good, home cafe, sacred bean are some of the ideas that were brought to those weeks. if you haven't it's not too late!
missional entrepreneurship is a thread that has woven through my twenty years at cms. the first venture into thinking about mission entrepreneurship was actually via chris neal and bill bolton. together with them and shannon in 2007 we hosted a gathering on a boat in the thames in london and launched NET - the network of entrepreneurial talent which ran for a few years.
we hosted a conversations day on the theme and subsequently mark and i edited an edition of anvil journal exploring the issues.
i like the idea of good. at some basic level we need good in the world. to participate in mission is to join in the healing of all things. it's about good - good news, good communities, good neighbourhoods, good life, good business. good relationships, good for the planet. one of the reasons i like mission as a way of framing is that the 'why' or purpose is for good in the world. sometimes i find that the 'why' in the church can seem like it's church i.e. it's very focused on itself. but the point of church is for the good of the world not just as an end in itself. the other way mission tends to get collapsed or reduced is into evangelism - sharing the story of jesus christ with people. it's a great story and i have no issue at all with that. but in a post christian culture like britain it seems a no brainer that if you want to have anyone to listen to that story you have got to actually be good news and not just talk about it.
i am also interested in enterprise when it comes to pioneering because we need new imagination about how to resource faith, church, mission. it seems to me to be healthy and more resilient if you can have a range of income sources - some donation, some trusts, some income from enterprise and so on.
enterprise can also be really good when it is helping others who have been in a difficult space at the edges - say prison or simply long term unemployed get back on their feet and develop skills and work. there are several pioneers who have started things in that way.
i have really warmed up to the notion of enterprise for good. it's not easy to pull off but when it's done well it's a wonderful thing. there is room for a whole lot more! if you are have an idea you'd like to develop do look up our make good week and book in on that for goodness sake :) - the next one is in november 2023 at the wonderful pickwell manor.