Incubators and Makerspaces
The fun part about combining North American church planting with an international missions framework is then the freedom and creativity to think through ways that we can impact the various sectors of a community. That could be education, economic, spiritual, the built environment, and more. Because of that we've been brainstorming and dreaming about ways to catalyze not only new churches, but new common good businesses and non-profits. By no means is this a new concept by any stretch. For us it becomes strategic as we move forward.
To create a series of “urban greenhouses” for the incubation of new church planting missionaries, common good businesses, and non-profits to deploy to key locations (or like places) in Intrepid’s church planting strategy. We envision doing this through business incubators, makerspaces, and co-working spaces. (admittedly "urban greenhouses" has been used by others)
Business incubation is a unique and highly flexible combination of business development processes, infrastructure and people designed to nurture new and small businesses (and non-profits) by helping them to launch, survive and grow through the difficult and vulnerable early stages of development. For Intrepid, these will be residency programs where entrepreneurs are coached and nurtured so they can go from idea to launch for their business or non-profit start-up. Part of the mentoring and coaching also entails biblical, theological and church planting training throughout the process.
Makerspaces come in all shapes and sizes, but they all serve as a gathering point for tools, projects, mentors and expertise. A collection of tools does not define a Makerspace. Rather, we define it by what it enables: making. Applied to Intrepid, these are spaces with current (and expanding) artisan or craftsman businesses who produce and sell goods, but also serve as places for apprentices to come and learn a trade while learning how to be a church planting missionary and thus begin acquiring and refining a skill set.
The use of an office or other working environment by people who are self-employed or working for different employers, typically so as to share equipment, ideas, and knowledge. Different from Makerspaces in its focus, a co-working space is a shared office space. In particular it is not creating manufactured goods. However, for Intrepid we envision or can conceive even of all these of these places––business incubators, makerspaces, and co-working space––all under the same roof.
We've been encouraged and surprised to have heard back from so many who yearn for a framework like this. They may see themselves as missionaries or entrepreneurs, but maybe not a pastor in the conventional sense ... but they believe that God is calling them to jump into church planting. They may have a heart for marginalized populations and wonder how to bring value to a high-poverty community. They may be launching a creative business from scratch and wonder how to tie it into church planting and missions. It is precisely at this intersection where we're launching Intrepid.