A while back I came across an article that talked about the 15th-century workshops in Italy that fueled Renaissance thinking and movement. Much like the coworking facilities of today, they were spaces that brought different generations together from different fields (arts, science, philosophy) to design and create. There was a lead mentor that often supported and invested in younger artisans. The artists were a collective of individuals in a common space.
I re-read that article a couple days ago, and that’s when it hit me.
Over the last 700 years, the West in particular has undergone four major creative and philosophical movements that fundamentally shaped how people saw, thought about, and engaged the world:
- The Renaissance
- The Enlightenment
In each case, they were driven forward by dense, physical spaces that brought people and ideas together.
During the Renaissance it was places like the Italian workshop.
During the Enlightenment it was the coffee shop.
During modernism it was places like the Arensberg apartment.
During Postmodernism one could make an argument for coworking spaces as driving innovation and collaboration at a rapid rate.
In each period and in each place, they share most, if not all, of the following characteristics:
Incubation - there is a physical place that convenes a lot of people and ideas in a small space at one time.
Mentorship - there is a mix of older and younger participants present, learning and innovating together, on a relatively even playing field.
Investment - patrons that believe in younger talent invest money and experience into them to launch great ideas.
As a passionate member of the local and global big “C” Church, here’s the thought: is there something here that the Church can adapt?
In a changing world she often struggles to keep pace with, what if the Church took on these characteristics of places that change the world in a changing world?
- What if the church took serious its value as a physical space in neighborhoods and communities that convene people across all the sectors together in one place at multiple times all throughout the week?
- What if the church became thoroughly invested in itself as a platform that brings the generations together to innovate and think and design and create, on an even playing field?
- What if the church was a local hub for intentionally and precisely investing financial and human resources into the next generation with the next big ideas?
Thinking of the church in this way, as a local, diverse, and extensive network of places that bring the generations together and changes the world in a changing world, that’s what inspires the #CreativeChurch.
This Fall I’ll be launching an online learning community called 100 Creative Cities, designed for churches and leaders who want to engage and bring the generations together to ask and answer these questions, locally and globally.
This conversation is just getting started. If you want to throw your hat in the ring and be a part of a community thinking and learning about the potential of this together, would you let me know here?