Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Our first Forge encounter

It was a pleasure to meet Kim Hammond, the state director of Forge in Victoria, on Monday at his home. We drove to the opposite side of Melbourne (about an hour in the car) to get there. We ate lunch with him and his wife, met his three boys, and he brought us up to date with all the activity and recent changes with Forge. It was incredibly helpful for me, delivering me from the cluelessness that has framed my perceptions for months about exactly what Forge is and what it does. Here’s how Kim explained stuff to us (it’s a bit lengthy so you may not be terribly interested – permission to look away now):

· Forge could have as many as 40 students or interns this year, in Victoria alone. One-third of the students are accrediting only, that is they are non-college, just interested in the practical experience. The other 2/3 will be associated with a university (seminary) and Forge is accredited by all the uni/colleges in this area.

· Forge is a conduit between bible college/university and project/ministry internship.

· Forge provides the mentor/coach and allows each student to choose and plan the proposed project. He said they are non-exclusive about project ideas. The only criteria is that it is missional in nature. This gives students enormous scope for creativity.

· The internship runs from March – November and includes 10 – 20 hours/week.

· During the year, there are 3 intensives, each will be held in a different location, preferably in the context of a community or a ministry (for example, the second one in July will be at St Martin’s – John Smith’s church, the Maddock’s former community of faith).

· Each intern is paired with a mentor/coach and they must meet weekly.

· In Victoria, they will organize interns into “clusters” – groups of 10 based on geographical region, since Melbourne is large and expansive.

· Forge doesn’t have an office. It is a de-centralized organization. Kim described it as “virtual” as most of the staff work from home or on the road.

A new addition to their organization structure, which Kim is just introducing, is “streams” or specialized areas of experience for the interns. Each intern will be a part of one of these three:

1. Pioneering missional stream – the original “101” Forge which includes anything new, apostolic or missional in nature.

2. Transitioning – interns working within the church, specifically smaller congregations, to transition the church to a new and vital form. Efforts of revitalization and renewal fall under this category and while the church may continue to look traditional, this will use church assets (esp buildings) innovatively and allow for diversity within congregations.

3. Youth – working with 18-22 year olds to bring the missional DNA message of Forge to youth. This would appeal to youth workers/youth ministers. This is brand new.

All the interns will be required to participate in core lectures during the intensives, but there will also be time for each stream to reflect, brainstorm, and organize around their specific focus.

Forge events include:

· Monthly staff meetings

· Dangerous Stories – yearly summit March 9-11, bringing everyone together, and it will be the location of the first of three intensives this year

· Postcard Nights – gatherings around specific topics, hosted in public spaces

· Boot Camp – a time in February for Alan and Deb to meet with all the state directors – to organize, plan and pray together before the Hirsch’s leave for the U.S. We feel honored that we were invited to attend this.

The Forge staff is asking us to do the following (so far):

· Coach/mentor interns personally

· Oversee a cluster – 10 students on this side of Melbourne (western suburbs)

· Help teach

· Help with Dangerous Stories – the big conference in March, particularly with admin stuff. We told them we love grunt work.

1 comment:

Neal said...

Hi Guys! It was pleasure to meet you both at Kim's on Monday! I look forward to getting to know you and be encouraged and encourage during the next few months. I wait in anticipation to hear more of your stories from Communality and to be apart of the stories and experiences here in Australia. God Bless!