April 17, 2024
Pathway Builders Part One
By John Beckett
Pathway Builders Over the last 6 months, a deeper clarity has emerged around the purpose of Seed. After a couple of years working through the detail of ‘how’ we do what we set out to do, we’ve had the pleasure of returning to reconsider in fresh ways ‘why’ Seed exists. That ‘why’ – Seed’s purpose – is to create pathways for effective and faithful engagement by Christians in society. We might not talk about that in our public messages all the time, but that lies at the core of Seed’s existence. At present (we believe) our engagement with society is:
  1. Too reactive
  2. Too negative
  3. Too theoretical and ‘intellectual’
We’ll explore these 3 issues more in articles over the coming months. Our belief is that we need new approaches to engagement that are more constructive, more positive and more embodied. Where something is contrary to what God intends, we need to design solutions and present alternate possibilities that grow out of the Christian story. In short, we need creators. We need ‘makers’. We need a community of people who are committed to the fascinating and fulfilling task of creating products/services/strategies/businesses that give tangible expression to God’s kingdom and offer people a taste and see experience of life with Jesus. While this kind of work might be fascinating and fulfilling, it’s far from easy! In our current cultural context, entering in to the public space with your faith on your sleeve can feel like walking into a muddy swamp. At each step, it is easy to feel stuck, overwhelmed, weighed down, even endangered. In this context we see ourselves as pathway builders. A swamp without a path running through it is an awful place. If (and only if) there is a pathway through it, then the swamp becomes a far less scary or painful place. Perhaps it can even be seen for its beauty. So our desire is to help lay down the paths that make faithful engagement in society that little bit easier. That means providing access to the thinking, the tools, the people, the services, the resources and the expertise needed to engage effectively. Perhaps most importantly, it means helping to write and tell the stories of others who have ventured in before. People like Grant, whose story we have featured this month, and who many of you have heard me speak about before. Grant senses a call to engage the fashion industry, which has for so long been taboo for Christians. If we can build good strong pathways, then our hope is that many more will be willing to engage their own industry or community in creative ways. Our hope is that any Christian can step with a humble confidence into the swamp, pointing to the beauty and grace of God in the midst of it. Ultimately, our hope is that we will see our vision realised – a movement of Christians bearing witness to Jesus as we occupy the redemptive edge of change in society.   GROW: First read JB’s article (if you haven’t already) and reflect on the context (workplace, industry, community or culture) where God placed you. Is there a follower of Jesus (past or present) who you know that has faithfully and effectively engaged your context? What was it about his/her/their approach that stands out to you? Does your context feel like a muddy swamp with no clear pathway for engagement? What internal and external barriers make it hard for you to bear witness to Jesus in that context? Identify 3 things that could be done to ‘lay down a path’ for effective engagement. In what way could you personally be part of building/developing/providing these pathways?

John Beckett

John’s passion is helping individuals and organisations to develop and articulate a clear sense of identity and purpose, and to find the places where their own stories fit with God’s story and God’s purposes. Too often people feel like living a life aligned with God’s purposes is too difficult to grasp, so John developed Seed as a vehicle to help give people the agency, support, resources, networks and confidence to create a new chapter to their stories. His hope and prayer is that Seed will help many to step into their God-given purpose, for the sake of the world and the glory of God.

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Pathway Builders Part Two

Where should those pathways lead? Our hope is that the pathways ultimately make it possible for Christians to be agents for redemptive change in society.
Redemptive change is our term for a particular approach to social change that grows out of our engagement with the Christian story. It is an approach to change that results in our growth and formation as followers of Jesus, while also making a positive impact on society and bearing witness to Jesus.