So today I went out pioneer-hunting. Jesus may have sent Peter and the disciples to fish for people, but I think he’s sent me to fish for pioneers. Or if I can choose a different metaphor, he’s sent me to flush them out of the long grass, like a spaniel scattering grouse. Pioneers will generally pioneer wherever they are, just as evangelists will talk about Jesus and preachers will preach to anyone who will listen. It’s part of my role to flush pioneers out, to uncover, display and affirm them, wherever they’re getting on with the work Jesus has called them to do…. single-mindedly experimenting with alternative new clothes for the gospel and new futures for the church and learning to speak ‘faith’ in different languages so people of other cultures can understand.
And I came back with a brace of pioneers (I think!). I was leading a training day and it struck me afterwards how extraordinary it is when someone first realises they have pioneer DNA. It’s like the moment in Battlestar Galactica when the Cylons who’ve believed themselves to be human for years hear the siren song of the Cylon call to battle…. They respond in amazement and confusion, humming the same tune as if they’d known it all their lives. Finding out you belong to the pioneer caste isn’t quite as ominous, but can be just as dramatic and emotional. God is putting a song in the hearts of lots of ordinary people that is the call to dream and co-create the church of the future for the sake of people who aren’t yet part of it, and it’s beautiful to be there when they begin to realise the song is theirs to sing.
We finished the day with the song ‘Fools who dream’ from La La Land: ‘https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UlunjmpaRVU:
To give us new colors to see
Who knows where it will lead us?
And that’s why they need us”
So bring on the rebels
The ripples from pebbles
The painters, and poets, and plays
And here’s to the fools who dream
Crazy as they may seem
Here’s to the hearts that break
Here’s to the mess we make.