The Artisan Economy & Church Planting


This semester I'm teaching History of the American City to a room full of undergrad students. Some (very few) are interested in history in general and cities in particular. Nonetheless, they are there. Captive for two and half hours each week. Interesting though are the present day implications of nearly everything we discuss on a daily basis from immigration to politics to the impact of the city's built environment to changing local and global economies and so much more.

This week we're diving into the three kinds of economies that have profoundly shaped the American city ... the craftsman or artisan city, the industrial or manufacturing city, and the creative or knowledge-based city. This week we'll watch (videos) of old world artisans with funny mustaches and leather aprons reenact the life and work of 19th century blacksmiths and other trades. So much changed about our economy and cities when we picked up steam (pun intended) to become an industrial / manufacturing powerhouse. However, after our shift to a Post-Fordist (knowledge-based, creative) we're also seeing a continued reemergence of this seemingly old world craftsman or artisan economy.

We see this flourish in places like here in Portland, Oregon with the proliferation of micro-roasters, micro-breweries, hand-made clothing and accessories, and so much more. The storyline is the same ... funny mustaches and leather aprons (and now skinny jeans). There was even a book produced by a local group of scholars and students from Portland State University detailing this burgeoning economy called Brew to Bikes: Portland's Artisan Economy. Ok, that's fine and dandy ... so what does this have to do with church planting and Intrepid?


One of the dreams and plans of Intrepid is to launch an incubator maker space for budding artisans to learn and refine their craft, cultivate skills to start and develop a business, become grounded through Biblical and theological training, develop tools in church planting, and ultimately are sent out as Intrepid (TEAM) missionaries and church planters. Also, this isn't simply for artisans but we're working to help launch another kind of incubator elsewhere that is also tech-oriented or common good businesses.

Stay tuned. This is going to be a fun ride.