The Ministry Incubator @ Iliff School of Theology welcomed its first group of 16 Associates for its pilot run in the 2020 calendar year. Two separate cohorts of Associates met virtually every week, talking through implementation plans and challenges and providing much needed supportive morale.
In the first quarter, the two groups also met together with a different expert guest speaker each week. Most of these experts have themselves started and sustained unconventional ministry projects. The Rev. Elizabeth Jackson, who herself had started an unconventional ministry in recent years, recruited and coordinated the guest speakers and has administered the Ministry Incubator since its inception.
COVID-19 turned out to be an insurmountable challenge for projects that were still in the imagining phase in March. But for projects that had begun implementation, COVID-19 has been a further impetus for creative adaptations and finding unimagined possibilities.
Distinctive features of the Ministry Incubator @ Iliff have included access to the trainings in ReSource, to the Taylor Library online collection, optional consultations with Iliff faculty, Information Technology, marketing, an Iliff email, and ZoomPro account.
The ongoing challenge faced by the Ministry Incubator is familiar to everyone in ministry: the financial model. Funding for the pilot year has concluded and an incubator focused exclusively on ministry projects will be on hold for now. IIiff is using what has been learned in 2020 to explore bringing the incubator concept into some form of relationship with its Master of Arts in Social Justice and Ethics offerings.