Why an Incubator?
God the Creator is constantly up to something new, forging fresh ways to stir hearts and change lives. Twenty-first century ministry is no exception. As churches shed their old wineskins to make room for new wine, ministry continues to move forward and increasingly outward. Jesus knew firsthand that ministry was not limited to the Temple. God’s transforming work happened on street corners and mountainsides, in private homes and public spaces. The Co-Creators Incubator invites today’s creatives, innovative thinkers and social entrepreneurs to partner with Jesus in bringing hope, healing and change to our world.
We believe Christian leadership has a vast definition and that ministry can – and often should – look different from how it has in the past. An abundance of fresh ideas wafts through our churches. Innovative thinkers feverishly scribble ideas into notepads. Mission-minded leaders constantly discover new ways to impact their communities for good.
The Co-Creators Incubator is a one-year integrative program for missional entrepreneurs that helps grow ministry ideas into viable ventures with a Christ-centered mission. The Incubator fosters a spirit of collegiality and collaboration amongst a cohort of Co-Creators, while providing them with resources to enhance and grow their ministries. In pursuit of partnership and sustainability, the Co-Creators Incubator will engage both the missional entrepreneurs as well as Creative Partners who may invest in the work of Co-Creators via financial or other means.
What is a Co-Creator?
An abundance of fresh ideas wafts through our churches. Innovative thinkers feverishly scribble ideas into notepads. Mission-minded leaders constantly discover new ways to impact their communities for good.
Co-Creators are mission-minded, creative, entrepreneurial people of any age who are eager to put ideas into action. Co-Creators exist at different junctures in their journeys but are all:
involved in ministry (defined broadly)
Passionate about ministry
A fresh thinker
Willing to take risks
Engaged in work that fits within ABHMS missional framework
Willing to form a partnership with ABHMS and other ministry colleagues
Christian, but not necessarily American Baptist; willing to work with American Baptists
How exactly does this thing work?
Through the Co-Creators Incubator, American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS) will bring together Co-Creators, mentors, business and entrepreneurial experts, and Creative Partners to provide resources and support to nurture the growth of innovative ministry ideas.
Each Co-Creator will receive a seed grant and the opportunity to meet with the Co-Creator cohort for two in-person summits in January and October of their cohort year. Summits take place at ABHMS’ Leadership and Mission Building in King of Prussia, PA.
Do you sense that God is up to something? Can’t get that crazy ministry idea out of your head? Are you thirsting for a laboratory to figure it all out? We’re here to help with that.
The application period for Cycle 3 will be open September 1-30, 2022.
A Creative Partner is an organization, congregation, or individual with a passion for mission and ministry, committed to investing in innovative ministries, and willing to take risks and leaps of faith in their commitment to innovative ministries. Creative Partners are open minded and willing to be in partnership with ABHMS and Co-Creators.
Interested in learning more about becoming a Creative Partner?
Cycle 2 Co-Creators
Monique C. Harrington
Way Club is a faith-based social club for high school-aged teenagers. The overall vision is to inspire the next generation of believers to have fun while being responsible citizens and active participants in Jesus’ mission to share the good news.
Dr. Ruth Alerte Jones
The H.E.M. Network is a faith-based ministry centered on spiritual wellness for women following pregnancy loss. It is designed to equip church leaders (lay and professional) to implement visible support for women as they navigate spiritual challenges related to their situation.
Contact Ruth at [email protected]
Wilderness Journeys offers multiple-day hiking and backpacking trips into the wilderness, with an emphasis on encountering and engaging with the divine. Participants have the opportunity to push themselves physically and emotionally as well as to experience the wonder of God’s creation.
The Rev. Yolanda M. Norton
The Global Arts and Theology Experience (GATE) is an organization dedicated to promoting the wholeness, healing and development of Black girls and women through programs that promote womanist theology and the arts. GATE focuses on providing spaces for Black women’s stories, struggles and survival.
As shepherds of the Earth, Justevia wants to ensure that the vessels of our siblings in Christ are not overloaded with the unhealthy options that are advertised to the public regularly. As the company grows, Justevia plans to include people of all backgrounds, especially those underrepresented in the agricultural industry, such as Black, indigenous people of color and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer individuals.
A musician, educator and chaplain from Massachusetts, Alex has struggled between the tension of writing songs as an artist and playing songs that make sense for his church. He intends to write new songs tempered for an array of contexts, fit for personal and congregational enjoyment. As a Co-Creator, he can accomplish this task with greater boldness.
Contact Alex at [email protected]
Cycle 1 Co-Creators
Rev. Rebecca W. Driscoll
American Baptist Churches USA Minister for Environmental Justice
The Minister for Environmental Justice seeks to develop, implement and enhance the presence of creation care ministries as a prophetic Christian witness to and for the protection of God’s creation.
Contact Rebecca at [email protected]
Aria M. Kirkland-Harris
Ministry Consultant and Retreat Facilitator
This faith-based consulting practice lives at the intersection of theological formation, collective economics and ministry innovation.
Contact Aria at [email protected]
Rev. Dr. Rachael B. Lawrence
KinderSpirit Inc. merges the joy and activity of early childhood music-movement courses with meaningful Christian worship in which young children and parents can be themselves while building meaningful community together.