Wednesday, July 29, 2009

ways into small missional community [2] what's the big idea?

Here's the second of the posts I'm doing for the CMS Small Missional Communities group on the Kindling network.

If you are reading this I guess that you may have come to some sort of realisation that you want to bring something new into being! Your imagination has been excited by the possibility of following Christ in the company of others, in a way that engages creatively with your culture and emerges from your setting [and there'll be more on working with our setting in another post soon].

A really good question to ask now is this - what’s the big idea? What are you aiming to create? And how you can you express this simply?

One way to access this is to come up with what Robin Yourston calls the ‘elevator conversation’. Here’s how it works: imagine you get into a lift [the elevator] and you bump into someone you know who asks you what you are doing - and so you’ve got, say 30 seconds max between floors to tell the beginning of this new story. What will you say?

Try to write or draw what this big idea is. Aim for simplicity. If you use Twitter, you might try to write in 140 characters what you are looking to bring into being. Or if you use SMS try to come up with a single text message.

Give it a try. My experience is that the big idea will evolve over time, but even at an early stage you will have the beginnings of this big idea within you. This is potentially a really helpful was of getting started - through telling the story to yourselves and others, and focussing on what is really important.

So what’s your big idea?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

we're here

We're here! We've made the move to the South-West. The sea of boxes has parted and South Devon is beginning to feel like home. Just had the phone line put in - and broadband should follow in the next week. Our neighbours Liz and Anne are kindly letting us piggy-back their internet - we can do this from one corner. Already enjoying meeting lots of good people here and seeing what unfolds. I'm working hard to make contacts for my work and Gail and I are making plans to do some of our Change! stuff. Esther and Rachel are with us for the summer and this week Esther's boyfriend Joe is here too. Happy times!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

ways into small missional community [1] starting out in company

Here's the first of the promised series of postings I'm going to offer on small missional community. It's not a definitive guide. But rather the opportunity to do some learning together and share our experiences.

Many of the small missional communities that I work with seem to be have flickered into life in the dreams of one or two visionary people. But there’s very good reason to seek company, even at this early stage. The project will almost certainly have greater vitality and resourcefulness if the vision is shared and shaped by a few others - perhaps even just 2 or 3 people who will be part of the project with you and who will love it and commit to it, rather than just you being the one person blazing a lone trail.

There’s good precedent for this of course - in the Gospels we see Jesus sending disciples out in 2’s, and the missionary saint Paul always seems to have worked in groups of 2 or 3 when facilitating new Christ-following communities.

So perhaps the question is ‘who is with you in this?’ And if at the moment you are alone in carrying the vision, the question is ‘who might be with you?’ Let the ever-surprising Spirit bring you together with the people who will be your visionary companions.

Friday, July 24, 2009

finding ways into small missional community

I am working on and using a series of questions for the Small Missional Community project that I'm facilitating with CMS, aimed at offering insights to help people form new community-projects. I'm going to start posting these on an online network called Kindling, looking both to offer some good learning and to draw out and benefit from people's experience as they go. I have posted an introduction and the first thread earlier today - if you are interested in this please consider joining the small missional community group on the kindling network and contribute to the conversation.

Monday, July 13, 2009

into the silent land

Matt and I facilitated our first StillPoint conference at the weekend in Oxford. Seemed to go really well. Over 70 people there and a wonderful time with Martin Laird OSA speaking on the contemplative tradition. Perhaps a bit mad trying to move house and run a conference in the same 2 week period but we've survived! The conference finished with a eucharist in the rarely-used church of St John the Evangelist on Iffley Road.