Innovation Collectives – A Space for Affirmation
By Douglas Crabb, Associate Pastor, South Beach Baptist Church
As with many emails, the original email about Innovation Collectives dropped into my inbox and I glanced over it whilst distracted by one of my children making a fort using every removable part of our couch for what seemed like the 400th time during lockdown. Thinking it might be something I would be interested in, I left the email unread and told myself that ever-recurring lie that I would go back to it later. Thankfully, the national team at BUS are incredibly wise and gracious and clearly understood my misplaced optimism when it comes to responding to these things. I was delighted when Ali reached out and invited me to join an Innovation Collective with some other pastors from around the country.
Based on the model of action learning sets used at the pre-accredited conference, I’ll be honest and say I wasn’t sure what it would be like. Any time I undertook an exercise like this, I usually spent more of my time trying to think up what I might share rather than engaging well in the exercise. I quickly realised this was different though. The regular space afforded by an Innovation Collective and the specific topic that I was focusing on meant that each time we met, I was much more engaged than I would perhaps normally be in a one-off session as part of a conference. For me, this led to fruitful times of sharing, encouragement, enquiry and a sense of journeying together through our different areas of innovation.
In my own context, I’ve found it to be especially helpful in terms of gaining perspective. My area of sharing was around our church’s journey as we considered our new vision and strategy. I think sometimes as we become immersed in these things, especially in these times of lockdown, we can find ourselves in a bit of an echo chamber and perhaps fail to give some things the proper scrutiny or thought they might need. I found the Innovation Collective to be the perfect foil for this issue. That isn’t to say that I spent the whole time being told I was doing something wrong! On the contrary, most of the time it was a space for affirmation of our direction of travel, with helpful advice or question to consider as we continued to move forward.
Most importantly perhaps however, it was a space for accountability. Where progress was celebrated, frustrations shared and encouragements offered. It really has been a true privilege to be able to share in the journey towards innovation with others as we all seek to partner in kingdom work in our own contexts.
By Gordy Mackay, Minister at Perth Baptist Church
Last summer I was part of one of the Innovative Collectives (IC) that the BUS were running. In August myself and four other ministers met for the first time via Zoom, with Martin as our reliable guide. Although I’d heard a bit about IC’s I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. It turned out to be a very positive and worthwhile experience.
The IC came at the right time for me. Like many, as a church we were considering what God might be teaching us through lockdown and how best to function as a church – both within the current restrictions and looking further ahead to the future. The IC was a safe place for me to share a specific idea about church life and have a helpful accountability to pursue this.
Initially having each shared our idea, we met regularly to discuss developments. It was encouraging to hear how each idea was progressing…and for some changing! For me one of the most enriching parts of the IC was receiving observations my fellow-group members made as I shared. These observations often highlighted things I had not considered and were very useful.
Our group members were spread across the country. Another the highlight for me was getting to know these fellow-ministers in other parts of the country and being able, in a small way, to share in their ministry journey.
So perhaps, like me, you’ve heard of IC’s and might be not sure what to expect. I’d encourage you to give a go, I’m confident it will be a very worthwhile experience!