The application for Cycle 2 of the Co-Creators Incubator is now open through December 7, 2020. Visit to apply. 

Trend #2: Ventures struggling to find place within conventional church system leads to great sense of isolation among missional entrepreneurs

By the Rev. Dr. Rachael Lawrence

I’m not sure that I even realized I was lonely. I love the Church—the traditions, the music, the history, the familiar rhythms of the service—but I couldn’t help but sit in worship and wonder, “What if we did this differently?” and “Who is left out or doesn’t know how to join in because they’ve not been a part of this before?” What if those who had different ideas about how we do church had remained silent over the eons? Would we have the Bach and Mozart Masses? Would we have the Wesleyan hymns? We may forget, as the church sometimes, that our beloved traditions were once new ideas about how to reach the people of God in a more complete way.

When people have new ideas about how to do worship or mission, they may often encounter barriers: naysayers who don’t see the value of a vision, boards that guard the resources and traditions of a place, and logistical obstacles, such as finding time and space to pursue the new thing. The first two times I shared my idea for KinderSpirit Inc. with anyone, the people I had shared it with responded, “How are you ever going to find time for that?” and “You need a committee to help you do that, and we’re all spread too thin.” Encountering these obstacles becomes wearing over time, and missional entrepreneurs begin to think they are alone in the venture—that they may be the only people who think this way. I was starting to feel that loneliness—like the keeper of an idea that was never going to find a home—when American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS) advertised the Co-Creators Incubator (CCI).

CCI offered so much more than a little seed money to get KinderSpirit started; not only did I get the funds needed to pursue my missional dream, but also I met others who were on that journey. By connecting with peers, I had the spiritual food I needed to keep going on the journey. I knew I wasn’t alone any longer; God had called others to take risks to help refresh worship and mission. The loneliness that I couldn’t name—that sense of isolation—was dispelled. And now, KinderSpirit is alive, growing, coming closer to meet its mission every day, with the support of ABHMS and new friends and colleagues in mission. 

The Rev. Dr. Rachael Lawrence is founder of KinderSpirit Inc., a nonprofit organization focused on creating developmentally appropriate music, movement and faith-focused curricula for young children and their families.