It’s been a great couple of days so far at Pickwell Manor.
We are only half way through the week but my head is already very full of content, ideas, discussions and questions and so I think I need some space to just allow time to process what is going into my thinking at the moment. It is certainly amazing to have the input of both Shannon Hopkins and Steve Baker. Both have been involved in creating innovative stuff, one of Steve’s ventures being Pickwell and one of Shannon’s being Sweet Notions.
I am finding the week to be very challenging as we look at social enterprise and mission. I guess I am not fully comfortable yet with the idea of using a business model and thinking to enable or fund mission which I believe to be the responsibility of the church. I guess part of my difficulty is that I have grown in a model of church where I have always been taught and always acted with a stong ethos of the church paying for, or resourcing, mission.
By that I do not necessarily mean the establishment, although I guess I do partly. But I mean far more the actual people of the church …. us, you and me, if we call ourselves Christian. I have grown up in church where I believe there has been a strong underlying ethos that we fund mission from our giving.
To think differently, particularly in a business way, even when thinking social enterprise which I do see as more acceptable, as a means of sustaining mission activity is quite a jump to get my head around. That does not mean that it is not good and right, because I suspect it is good and right and very worth exploring (if I did not think that then I guess I would not have applied to join this course). It does mean, however, thinking differently and, for me personally, that means looking carefully at my values and ensuring what I think about doing fits well with those.
In the past when I was director of Gillingham YFC I allowed us to fall into the trap of our vision following the money and funding available. This got us into a couple of difficulties as this resulted in us having to neglect areas of our work that were key. So, my inbuilt brake or fear of mission and vision following funding rather than funding following mission and vision is on a mild to heavy alert.
I am using part of this week to think about the future and to write a proposal to present to people in the coming weeks of how my future as a pioneer could map out. There are plenty of ideas spinning around which I am now trying to settle onto paper into some understandable and achievable form … so maybe watch this space!