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Ministry Incubation is not ‘fairy dust’

Incubation with books

In 2020, ten young adults of The Michigan Conference made up a new pilot group of Ministry Incubators. Ministry Incubation now moves on to a second phase involving local churches.

LISA BATTEN
Coordinator of Young Adult Initiatives, Michigan Conference

In the fall of 2019, I received a call from the Rev. Paul Perez asking if I had heard of Ministry Incubators. After exploring ministry incubation, reading the website,  initial conversations with Ministry Incubators, and financial support from the Conference Leadership Committee, I began work with a pilot group of ten young adults. These young adult innovators were simply asked, “What seed of an idea do you have for making your community a better place?”

Incubation with song
The Rev. Sari Brown, pilot incubator cohort, shares “The Holy Broken Heart” album with CMU Wesley. ~ photo courtesy Lisa Batten

Next, a small team began work with Ministry Incubators to learn more. They also worked through the incubation process with the pilot group. Most folks hear the word incubation and think of an egg under a heat lamp. Much like hatching an egg (and the Ministry Incubator logo is an egg), ideas are given various types of support to bring them to maturation.

“Oftentimes, when it comes to the notion of making someone’s dreams come true, our minds go right for the fantastical. The Disney magic and fairy dust type of tools that none of us actually have access to. By doing this, we bypass all the smaller, much more tangible devices at our disposal, like listening, encouragement, and a few simple resources. These are the basic ingredients that make up Ministry Incubation.” ~ Charity Ben, young adult, MI Conference Ministry Incubator Team member

Since the initial pilot, March 2020-June 2021, we have created a Michigan Conference Incubator Team working with the second cohort of young adults. The program is designed around mutual support and resource-gathering conversations that help uplift its participants’ dreams, passions, and ideas. It does this without magic but with regular meetings (called cohort gatherings), active listening, and personal coaching to keep its participants driving towards their goals.

Special attention is given to helping participants create their list of supporters. The list provides a visual reminder that not only are they supported by the Michigan Incubator team, but by people in their own lives, family, friends, work associates, and members of their communities, as well.

In 2022 the Michigan Incubation team will launch a new cohort, this time focusing on local churches that are ready to launch something new, a seed of an idea to make their community a better place. In this Fuller Seminary video, Kenda Creasey-Dean invites us to re-imagine what it means to be the church. Kenda Creasey-Dean is a co-founder of Ministry Incubators. 

Incubator Project with art
The Rev. Cora Glass (left), one of the ten members of the pilot incubator cohort, engaged in a project called the “ReCreate Retreat.” ~photo courtesy Lisa Batten

In a time when the local church is wondering what post-pandemic ministry will be, we are invited to consider how the models in the video — “flipped, fuzzy, and fresh” — apply to local church settings. Through the Michigan Incubation team, support systems and resources are available to walk alongside a local congregation with an idea for making their community a better place. The hope of the Michigan Incubation Team is to resource individuals and local congregations to imagine, dream, and move toward their passion and call.

Michigan Incubators bridges the gap between a fairy Godmother’s magic wand and the hard work of supporting individuals and churches who want to bring about their passion to instigate good in the world.

~ See related story, “Grand Rapids Aldersgate connects with schools,” for more on the “seen” Project, hatched by Matt Witkowski, a ministry incubator.