Transforming Engagement: the Podcast

Christ & Cascadia with Tim Soerens | Podcast Season 06, Episode 04

Join us for an enriching conversation with Tim Soerens, co-founding executive director of The Parish Collective, as we explore the distinctiveness of ministry in the vibrant Cascadia region. From its breathtaking landscapes to its unique cultural fabric, Cascadia offers a fertile ground for holistic neighborhood flourishing.

In this episode, you’ll discover:

Whether you’re a pastor, entrepreneur, artist, nonprofit leader, or simply passionate about community engagement, this conversation offers valuable insights into reimagining church and community in the Cascadia region and beyond. 

If you’d like to continue this conversation, we invite you to join us this April in the Seattle area for the Christ & Cascadia Gathering and the Inhabit Conference!

The Christ & Cascadia Gathering on Thursday, April 25, is an official pre-conference event for the Inhabit Conference on April 26-27. We hope you’ll plan to join us for both events this spring. You can register for both events at a discounted rate here.

Listener Resources: 

About our guest:

Tim Soerens is the co-founder of Neighborhood Economics. Created with the founders of SOCAP (Social Capital Markets), the largest impact investing conference in the world, its mission is to recruit and convene the people repairing local economies through regional and national convenings. 

Tim is also an award-winning author, speaker, and co-founding executive director of the Parish Collective, a national network of churches focused on the common good of their neighborhoods. He recently published “Everywhere You Look: Discovering the Church, Right Where You Are,” and previously co-wrote, “The New Parish.” He currently lives in Chicago. 

 

Episode Transcript

Kate: Welcome to Transforming Engagement: The Podcast where we have conversations about ministries that serve the common good and a higher good. Today, I’m joined by Tim Sorens. Welcome Tim.

Tim: Welcome Kate. I should actually say Dr. Davis. Congratulations.

Kate: Thank you. That did just happen. Please don’t call me that. I think we are past that. 

Tim: No, I’ll keep going. But,. Congratulations nonetheless. 

Kate: Thank you. Thank you. Appreciate it. Well, Tim, I’ll let you introduce yourself and your connection to Cascadia. Tell us about who you are.

Tim: Sure. My name’s Tim Sorens, I and the co-founding executive director of The Parish Collectives, which was started in the Seattle area and it’s where I lived for 20 years. I’m graduate of The Seattle School of Theology and Psychology on MDiv there. I initially grew up in Wisconsin and was in Seattle for 20 years, and we might talk about this later. I’m actually in Chicago to be closer to my folks and involved in all kinds of different ventures primarily that have to do with holistic neighborhood flourishing.

Kate: Talk to us a bit about that. What is holistic neighborhood flourishing and maybe also what is the work of Parish Collective in supporting that?

Tim: Well, holistic neighborhood flourishing is something that I think and work towards a whole lot, at it’s base, I suppose it is seeing neighborhoods as kind of like the fundamental unit of change. So there’s very, very few places that you can look at the entire ecosystem and begin to imagine how it might change or transform over time. So a neighborhood usually has the kinds of systems within it that we co-create and live our lives in. So economic systems, the civic systems, educational systems, environmental systems, religious systems, social systems, on and on and on. And while there’s great need for expertise in all of those sectors where our lives actually get lived and where those systems intersect for most of us is in our everyday lives, in the neighborhoods that we reside in or work in. And so a large part of my work is thinking about convening, creating new ventures around how might we get some of those really creative and innovative movements that’s caring about holistic neighborhood change or even within the system, how do we get them in more common spaces to imagine the common good together.

Kate: I love that. Imagine the common good together. I love this so much of our education systems and training systems, I think even the church we see this is thinking about the metaphoric, the forest and the trees and we’re pushed to be a tree or a branch or a twig on a branch on a tree further and further into specialization and the skill you’re speaking to is seeing the tree as part of a whole forest and actually grazing our eyes to how do all these different trees contribute to something together. It’s a whole different way of thinking about our lives and the world than what most of our training is pushing us towards.

Tim: Yeah, I mean if you think about it as I think you’ve just experienced, most of our educational systems are built on getting to that very end of the point, kind of the niche of the niche of the niche and that’s really valuable. But coming way back and trying to, as people like Ron Heifetz talks about climbing up from the dance floor of our vocation or of our particular place and beginning to get up on the balcony and see the whole, that’s just as valuable, but it’s much less common and certainly within the church, I didn’t answer this very well before, but the mission of The Parish Collective, which has been around now for about 13, 14 years is to connect people to be the church in the neighborhood. The idea is that actually in most of our neighborhoods across the country and theoretically around much of the world, there just might be a veritable megachurch that’s largely hidden and largely undiscovered and primarily disconnected for a whole host of reasons that we could get into we want, but that if we could connect people to be the church of the neighborhood, which is always focused on the common good, it’s always focused on the hopes and dreams of God, it’s actually fundamentally betting that God is at work out ahead of us. If that is our center and the neighborhood itself is kind of like where we practice, we could be looking at a very different future for the church, but if we default just towards particular niche audiences or demographics or issues, there’s literally no common ground. And so part of what training with Parish Collective is to say one really crucial way of being and imagining what it means to be the church is to ask what we think is the more primary question, which is what is God up to and what is the common good? What is the hope and dream of God in that place, and then how do we participate in that and what is our life like together there?

Kate: It’s making me, it’s become almost a cliche in churches now, right? That the church isn’t our building. The church is the people. You are both taking that idea and running with it and also saying it’s not just the people, it’s the people in a specific context, a specific, there is still a place based. It’s not the building, it’s bigger than that, but it’s also not the entire world. It’s confined to a manageable, human size that we work at and work alongside God.

Tim: Or at least it could be. It’s part of why for so many years we’ve loved this word, “parish”, which both colleague Dwight Friesen, dear friend Paul Sparks came up with this idea of the new parish to say that what we need as kind of a fundamental place of belonging is a geographic area that’s big enough to live a lot of your life, kind of like live, work, play, but small enough to be known as a character within the story of that place. And if that could be conceived of or imagined or practiced, then from place to place to place or from parish to parish to parish, what we could then conceivably begin to take on as it relates to reconciliation and a renewal is literally endless. There is no system, there is no person, there’s no relationship, there’s no structure that couldn’t be healed and liberated and transformed. But if we aren’t literally finding a place of common ground, then usually we hover just above our places or maybe worse sometimes without meaning to, we use our places as though it’s like a commodity and that creates all kinds of different kinds of problems. So a big part of what we’re always trying to think through is how can we create a pure network of belonging and practice where we’re asking these primary questions together, it can transform our neighborhoods. I think it can transform the church kind of capital C, I also think that it has the potential to create renewal innovation within the systems that we inherit, whether that be denominations or seminaries, foundations, nonprofits, parish organizations, on and on.

Kate: I’m struck by how both expansive and confined that it is the idea of a neighborhood being very small, but also the idea of this ethos, this mindset, this worldview is applicable to so many different areas, so many different regions. I know Parish Collective hosts Inhabit Conference at past Inhabit Conferences where I’ve been in attendance, I’ve met lots of people from around Seattle, but also people from Toronto and Atlanta and Chicago. People are coming from all over for this idea, because it’s applicable broadly. I’m curious for you, as you have grown in your awareness of this way of doing ministry and the ways that you think about it, articulate it, what role did Seattle play in shaping that for you? What role did Cascadia play in shaping the way that you understand a neighborhood ministry? 

Tim: It’s a great question, Kate. A couple of months ago, my friend and colleague, Leroy Barber, who some of listeners might know, he lives down in Portland and has had a long career in ministry, largely with community development without working with the neighborhood economics. We were talking about Parish Collective and the Northwest. He’s originally from, well, originally from Philadelphia, but then Atlanta, and so he has been in Portland for over a decade. But he said something that kind of took me aback, but I think he’s right. And he said, “I don’t think that the Parish Collective could have gotten started anywhere outside of the Northwest.” And as we talked about it more, I think that he might be right, and here’s why. One of the many gifts of certainly the city of Seattle, but I think this is true across Cascadia, is a willingness to entertain new ideas and if those ideas have any kind of traction to fan the flame of what’s happening there, and here’s my personal sociological bet as to why that might be true, and I think it’s true across a whole bunch of sectors, but there are lots of people that have written really well about uniquely the church and the ministry landscape in the Northwest in Cascadia and particularly, a lot of what gets talked about is the None Zone folks that self-identify as having no religious practice anymore. But historically in the Northwest, I think that there is an absolutely, there’s a lot of openness to new ideas, as I said, and here’s my hunch as to why, and I grew up with the Midwest, and so I’m part of this whether I like it or not, but I’ve met a lot of people who moved to the Northwest to Cascadia with this in mind, and I think this helps solve it. You push back on it if you disagree, but if you grow up in, let’s just say the Midwest like I did, or even I’d say the South, potentially even the Rockies, probably not the Northeast and probably not say the West Coast, but you grow up and you know what you want to do with your life, you’re clear about it. You tend not always, you tend to go East where the power centers are of New York or the academy in Boston or politics and policy in DC or whatever, get out of my way. I’m going to make a name for myself. Generally, you go East, if you grew up in a place like the Midwest and you don’t necessarily know what you want, but you know what you don’t want, whether you’re just leaving a rough, say divorce or you grew up in a fundamentalist family, you know, don’t want there or whatever. You need to recreate yourself. You need some fresh net imagination. You need the space to figure it out. You go West and I’d say particularly go to the Northwest in particular Cascadia, and there’s obviously like anything, there’s a blessing and curse to that. So one of the blessings is what I was saying, the adoption rate for new ideas, the capacity to try things out, to be innovative, to be a little bit further on the edge of a whole lot of systems and maybe to even be somewhat suspicious of systems themselves or organizations, part of the water, I would argue there’s an underside of course to that in that without both personal and collective reflection, there’s this constant reinvention, recreation. Please look at me at how precious I am, how creative I am, how special I am. In some of that, I think within Cascadia has found its way into the bigger wave of individualism that that’s the water we all swim in now, should you could make a case, this is one of the great gifts and challenges of Cascadia, that individualism is maybe nowhere more felt and lived into than in the Northwest, and if that’s true, just go with it for a second. There are assets to be leveraged for that, and you’re probably going to see new things that literally change the world and scale around the world. There’s also an underside to it and potentially a even protectionism that could result culturally that I think we see actually played out in a whole bunch of sectors. And I think it’s true in the church, actually. There’s a whole bunch of church history that would align itself with some of that as well.

Kate: Yeah, man. I feel so at-ed personally, like, oh, that frame you gave where people in middle America, the direction that they move, I’m like, oh, that is so real. My younger self, I was ambitious, I was bright, and people were constantly like, oh, you belong in Boston, you belong in New York. That was the push East when I thought I was going to be going into Library Science, all the schools I was looking at were push East. That’s where you go to learn a system and then dominate within that system. When my whole life fell apart for reasons where I, and it was pastors who were like, you should be a pastor, but you can’t stay here. You should go to Fuller, and The Seattle School were the two that were listed was go West. That’s where you go figure it out. That lens gives me a language for a geographic push pull that I hadn’t quite made sense of. And I’m hearing you on that individualism in two sides of the same coin. Yeah. The reason that we get to experiment with ministries, gatherings, entirely different ways of navigating spirituality is because of that. And the reason that it’s so hard, and by so many of the resources that we get from our denominational headquarters, usually back East, don’t work is because the same individuals that let us experiment. There’s a bit of, it’s such a gift and such a struggle at the same time. That’s a fascinating dilemma.

Tim: And some of the psychological underpinnings that would be there if this hypothesis is even partially true, are a real fear of commitment, a real fear of ordinary like feeling almost like you’ve sold out. We can’t just do this forever. I mean, you just mind. What does it feel like when you need to reinvent yourself constantly and when you need to reinvent the church constantly. And so the Parish Collective, this is part of what Leroy’s, I think idea is largely true, is I don’t know that, I mean we only have one story, it happened there, but if you could just pick all those people up and plop them down into a different city or region especially, yeah, I don’t know what would’ve happened. We’ll never know. But what I do know is that I’m really, really grateful for what felt like the wind on our backs with so many people who were beginning to feel the same thing and the language started to be named. And that’s how always powerful and people who feel like they’re on their own discover they’re not, I mean that’s magic, but I think there are a lot more of us in the Northwest as it relates to wrestling with the condition of the church and the future of the church at least 15, 20 years ago that are approach to the country. And I think that’s one of the great great gifts. It’s why there’s so many sociological books written about the Northwest and thinking about the Cascadia as kind of this frontier land in a sense, it’s a peek into the future. I also wonder now, and I did just recently move to Chicago, and so now I have this interesting, in some ways reflection upon the doors West, and maybe that’s why I’m kind of wondering about some of the long tail potential of those same gifts if there is an underside and all that.

Kate: Yeah, I think what’s maybe compelling about Parish Collective as a success story in a sense is that you just named some of that, the hyper individualism and that fear of commitment, the fear of, I think there’s a real fear of being subsumed into something bigger than ourselves that we’ll lose our identity, we’ll lose our agency. And I think that’s true both for individuals, especially if we came here following a major breakup or divorce where our agency becomes very important to us. I think it’s also true for churches that we don’t want to get subsumed into the pull of what’s happening back East. We’re often trying to do something distinct here. Parish Collective has managed those fears enough that people are willing to join and identify, and even I think in different communities that you’ve led been a part of, I don’t know, can you even frame the question here? It’s almost like what do you think that you’re doing that helps people overcome those fears to connect with you? Do you know? 

Tim: My only, it is a lovely question. My best guess I don’t know entirely. My best guess is that what we’re trying to do is essentially listen for common desires as it relates to being the church and neighborhood and then make the connection. And that actually is with a lot of different kinds of people, a lot of different theological traditions, denominations, et cetera, places. But what everyone essentially has in common is at least a curiosity, if not a commitment to trying to figure this out. And that puts everyone literally at the same level because none of us, I hate to break any bubbles, but none of us actually know what we’re doing. There’s no script, there’s no technique you can just pull to be faithfully present. It’s way more art than science. And if it’s true that a lot of us look at maybe the systems that we’ve inherited and wonder about re-imagination or renewal within it, there is kind of a normal if not a departure from that system, which does happen a lot. That’s largely what church plants are, even if they’re in denomination, they’re saying, let’s start something new here. Let’s try something new. There’s at least a desire to explore and the underside of that exploration is bewilderment. It’s literally still not knowing what we’re doing, not knowing exactly what the next thing is. And so the human need of that bewilderment is more friends. And so if we have been successful, it’s been beginning to make introductions and creating environments where people connect, where there is at least a common stream of like we may or may not agree on a whole host of very important things. We are really wanting to figure out how in the world do we love God and love our neighborhoods? And that is a big journey and what I’ve been so inspired by over the years is honestly how different people from very different places and very different theological traditions, when you take that plunge, you find out it’s really hard. And one of the reasons that I love parish, neighborhood or place as kind of a center for how we’re trying to reimagine is that you try anything in any neighborhood, you try and actually love your neighborhood and you’ll find it’s difficult, it’s complex. The neighborhood itself pushes back, and what that does is you’re like, well, yeah, I need as many friends as possible. This is even harder than I thought. It’s more complex than I thought. It’s way different to try and think through how do we, it doesn’t sound easy, it sounds more lovely to say, how do we join in the dreams of God in our neighborhood and renew and reconcile everything that is absolutely the vision for a whole host of us. How in the world do you go about that is really, really complex. And honestly, while it’s difficult to get a hundred or 200 or 300 people together on a Sunday morning, it’s not as hard as pursuing Shalom in a given place over hopefully decades. It’s arguably a different game that we’re playing. We’re all athletes, but when you sign up to love God and love neighborhoods, it’s a different game and requires different kinds of skills, and that requires as many colleagues as conceivably possible, as many assets as possible, as many friends.

Kate: I love that colleagues and friends, which I am hearing from Parish Collective where you tend to gather pastors who are in a very real way, peers, similar credentials at different congregations, often. I’m also hearing it a level down at the congregational level where I think a difference I felt between a parish oriented church, and I almost want to say a more traditional church, just for want of a better word, the more traditional is more hierarchical, where the pastor knows what needs to be done, does the thing. Maybe project manages leads that initiative. Whereas what you’re describing in that friends and colleagues is almost church or faith community as a group of people who are peers and trying to figure out what it means to love God and neighbor together, it’s much more of a mutual discernment as well as a mutual service rather than a pastor making decision and leading a project, leading a initiative. It’s a whole different relationship to leadership and authority.

Tim: Yeah, I think that word authority is actually interesting there, Kate, because how do you gain authority or influence within, let’s just say a traditional Sunday centric church. Where you want to be an excellent preacher, you want to have the organization be really, really sound. You want to all of the, there’s these fundamentals and those are really, really important. However, if you kind of flip it upside down and ask the question, how do you gain authority in a neighborhood, it is not usually public speaking. It is not usually savvy with marketing or budgets or maintaining a space well, it’s much more of honestly, the attention that you pay to people. It’s care, it’s imagination, it’s longevity, it’s social capital, which fundamentally is about trust. And so I don’t think it’s either or, but I do think that we are living in a ministry landscape where we need a whole lot more of the kinds of leadership qualities that the neighborhood invites as opposed to, and this is true across lots of traditions, whether you’re evangelical, mainline Catholic, et cetera.

There are relatively predictable ladders of success that you can chart out and try and get better at that don’t necessarily lead back to Shalom in the neighborhood or certainly authority in the neighborhood. In fact, you could argue a lot of the major leadership, public falls and crises that we’ve been seeing over the last number of years, a lot of those leaders were at the pinnacle of that game, and that game couldn’t arguably be played within a more holistic ecosystem kind of imagination of a place with a neighborhood within a larger city. Within a large country. Okay. I don’t think it’s either or, but I do think there are formative and missional and communal invitations that life together in the neighborhood offers us, I think we need to pay attention to.

Kate: Yeah, yeah. I’m going to do my job and bring us back up a level from the neighborhood to the region. So we’re meeting in a few weeks for the Christ and Cascadia gathering, which is our first time hosting as The Seattle School. It existed before Christ and Cascadia as part of our ecosystem. And we are gathering under this question and the question that we are exploring, we dunno, which is what is distinct about ministry in the Cascadia bio region? And we’ve touched on pieces of that, but I wanted to ask you that question in a more direct way of how would you answer that? What’s distinct about, and maybe you want to start even up a level, is what’s distinct about the Cascadia region as a way to inform what’s distinct about ministry here. Also, I love that I’m asking this question right now that you’re moving into a Chicago ministry again, it feels like very alive and you are living some key differences in what it means to do this work in a different location.

Tim: It’s definitely different here. I think that some of the unique things about Cascadia we have already touched on as it relates to openness to trying new things, openness to innovation, the desire to grow and share learnings I think is actually somewhat unique. There’s a whole host of sectors, not least a church, where I think crucial insights have been garnered and then those have been shared across the country and the world that are truly unique. I think in some ways Cascadia has more opportunities to live into what many people kind of call a post Christendom future. Lots of people have said that. I think that is generally true. What else has also been true that I think is a huge gift that isn’t necessarily shared across the country is a deep ecological sensibility. Some of this might just be because every third person loves or stays in the Northwest because of how just absolutely gorgeous it is as it released the mountains and the water islands and deserts, rainforests, I mean, you name it, trust me, being away, there’s a lot I miss, but certainly being able to hike somewhere different every weekend for the rest of my life is something I miss. And so with a relatively healthy minority if not majority of people who truly do love the natural world, I think that’s an interesting lens that can’t help but shift some of our imagination. And if you argue that we’re kind of coming out of a lot of industrial and mechanistic imaginations for our systems and denominations, I think that a deep love of the natural world might be another headstart in imagining how living systems might inform how we think about ministry, how might think about leadership, how it might be, think about change. Lots of people probably over the country are doing that, but I think that is a unique asset to life in Cascadia.

Kate: And I think too,that something I hadn’t put together before, but in your listing, the diverse landscapes within Cascadia, I wasn’t aware there was a desert in the middle of Washington State until I moved here, but I have a desert to one side, rainforest to the other. Same as true in Oregon and up in British Columbia, you have very fertile valley to mountains and ocean. The closeness of such intense and drastically different landscapes I think is something of an imagination forming, coming from a place where you can, I mean, Michigan’s pretty much just the same landscape all the way across. That’s where I grew up. There’s something about how different ecosystems also interact with each other that I didn’t reflect on that before as a imagination-forming piece, but I heard buried in what you were noticing.

Tim: Yeah, I mean, the only thing that I guess I would add that is not at all new to me, but is perhaps worthy of reflection is just how new, as it relates to the city as in particular they are in relation to much of the rest of the country. Even being, like I said, now that I’m in Chicago, it is, I dunno, 50, 60 years older as a city. If you compare the beginning of the urban landscape of say much of the East Coast with the West Coast, and particularly I’d say the Northwest, there’s a lot of time that went by that affected the built environment. It affected, I think the social imagination and that it can fly from one to the other. You don’t feel like you’re certainly going back or ahead in time, but I think that’s actually kind of unique in this country anyway, in the United States, although I think it’s generally true with our friends in BC, British Columbia, arguably Vancouver and Seattle and Victoria, Portland have a lot more common than Toronto and Chicago and Ottawa. So that’s kind of interesting too. I mean, one of the things that we’ve thought about for a long time as the Parish Collective has kind of grown more nationally, Northwest Roots has grown all over, is that so much of the values and cultural fabric of Cascadia has so much more in common even across countries than say Seattle and Dallas or a small town in Washington, in a small town in West Texas. They’re really, really different geographic landscapes and social landscapes, and I find that to be pretty interesting as it relates, especially to comparing contrasting Canada in the United States.

Kate: Speaking of, your very geographically broad network, but also you all gather once a year for Inhabit Conference, and I am very happy that you decide to keep that this year in Washington State. We wanted to invite you to share a little bit about what that is, because that’s also coming up. We scheduled our events in coordination with each other so that people could easily attend to both. Would you share a bit about what people could expect to experience there and just what that gathering offers people?

Tim: Yeah, I’d love to. The Inhabit Conference has been happening for well over a decade now. I think we’re our 13th or 14th year, and it is kind of party party, part conference if you’ve come before. It’s kind of part family reunion. And the idea is that we’re gathering together as many people together who feel like there is the possibility of a new imagination for what it can mean to be the church in our everyday lives. And the implications then of that within all of our sectors and so much of  Inhabit. One invitation that I love is it’s very, I’d say, story driven at the very heart of what we’re trying to convene and curate is stories from usually all over the country, but certainly many in Cascadia of renewal, of reconciliation, of innovation as sometimes a failure and heartbreak and lament. The songs that we sing have been risen up from the ground from practitioners all over the country, but certainly Northwest, the stories, the content, there’s all kinds of guiding voices of the Parish Collective that will be there.

But there’s also, and this was a bit of a shift that we started last year that we’re excited about this year. There’s also just space to connect with people. There’s just something about being in the same space for a couple of days together, knowing that you have enough commonality and common desires as we were talking before, where you can begin to get to know each other a bit more, begin to scheme a little bit more. And we always feel like it’s a huge catalyst for the next year for all the things that we’re hoping and dreaming about and wherever folks are listening in from, I’d say we’re thrilled that it’s still going to be in the Seattle region, but there’s always teams from, as you said earlier, Kate, from all over the country and all over the world. And this year more than ever, we’re wanting to pay close attention to how we can make more and better connections at the city regional level around the country. So if folks are even curious, check it out at inhabitconference.com or at Parish Collective. And if you can by any means possible, come a bit early at, come to The Christ in Cascadia event, which is going to be spectacular.

Kate: Yes, yes. Thank you. I hope people take you up on that. And we’ll also put that link in our show notes so people can find it easily. A question that we get all the time. So I also want you on record with it, is do you have to be a pastor to attend?

Tim: Oh, no. In fact, I would say honestly, it’s only about a slight majority of pastors. So there are entrepreneurs, there’s business leaders, there’s artists, there’s nonprofit leaders and executive directors, there’s denominational leaders, there’s academics. And most of what we’re always trying to do is we want pastors in the room for sure, but never just on their own. I think it was Alan Roxburgh who said a long time ago as it relates to congregational change, that the extent to which congregational change is led by clergy is the extent to which it will not change. So I mean, that’s like, whoa, but right. And so if you’re listening and you’re like, this sounds interesting, no, by no means do you have to be a pastor or a church planter or even a seminarian if you’re interested in loving God, loving your neighbors and neighborhood you should come.

Kate: And I’ll echo that for similar intents around Christ and Cascadia, we are aware and embraced and encouraged that ministry and faith community looks like, and it’s going to increase and they look like into the future, many different things than a congregation with a cross on top of the building that we send Sunday mornings, like faith communities look like dinner churches and hiking groups, and such a diversity of things. If you are interested in gathering people for the intent of living more meaningful lives together, you probably want to be a part of the Christ and Cascadia gathering in helping us figure out what that looks like into the future. So I think part of what makes our partnership exciting for me and resonant is that expansive understanding of what service looks like and the many roles in society that it takes to make these changes happen in our place. One last question before I let you go. We are framing this gathering around a question, and we’re resisting the urge to have a keynote speaker or subject matter experts. We are mostly gathering to have conversations and learn from each other around people who have questions alongside of us. With that ethos in mind, I wanted to ask you what questions you have that you are living into in your life right now or that you’re hoping to connect with other people about?

Tim: Well, someone that I think that we share kind of a literary hero of, I think both of ours, if not, I think he would be, Peter Block, says that leadership is convening. That’s fundamentally what it’s, and if that’s even partially true, and I believe it’s very much true, a question that I am wrestling with right now is, and we’ve kind of talked about this a little bit throughout this conversation, but how do we get really clear as we seek to convene and lead, try and match up as best we can, desire and trust and capacity, all three if possible? It’s something that I’ve been thinking a lot more about, and I feel like it’s really, really important. Those three questions are really important for the future of the Parish Collective, but I think they’re just generally true as we try and lead new ventures, new centers, how do we convene and lead in such a way that those three are coming together as clearly as possible, or at least being honest with where they’re at. Because so much of the fallout usually of our leadership is when one of those is missing. So that’s something that I’m wrestling with right now. Thinking a lot about

Kate: It is a good and rich question. I’m loving the questions that are coming out of this that are, in some ways, that’s a question you have to live into in your own leadership, and thank you for sharing that with us and inviting us in. And thank you for spending this time with us today. It has given me so much to chew on and think on and start to see this region through. I’m so appreciative of you spending the time, and I’ll look forward to seeing you at the Inhabit Conference. 

Tim: I can’t wait. It’s such an honor to be here. Thanks again, Kate. 

Kate: Thank you.