“Piloting Church: Helping Your Congregation Take Flight” – Interview with Rev. Cameron Trimble

 

Cameron Trimble is the Executive Director and CEO at The Center for Progressive Renewal where she is a church consultant and coach. Cameron also directs the Convergence Network, a multi-denominational network of congregations and leaders in North America. Her book, Piloting Church: Helping Your Congregation Take Flight, is a must-read for pastors and church leaders. You can watch the interview below or listen to the MP3 above. Read the transcript by clicking on the arrow in the box below the video. Never miss an episode of the RavenCast by subscribing on YouTube, Itunes, or Podbean.

Piloting Church: Helping Your Congregation Take Flight – Interview with Cameron Trimble

ADAM ERICKSEN: Welcome, everyone, to the RavenCast. The RavenCast is a product of The Raven ReView, an online magazine, where you can help us talk about violence and religion and conflict and paths to peace in the world. And today am so excited because we have Cameron Trimble on the show today. Hi, Cameron. 

CAMERON TRIMBLE: Hello. 

ADAM ERICKSEN: I am so glad that we finally got connected and now we are going to take flight. 

CAMERON TRIMBLE: Ok. We almost crash-landed, so… 

ADAM ERICKSEN: We almost had a crash landing, before we took flight. But we were determined because we wanted to take flight and so that’s what we are going to do. Cameron is the author of Piloting Church: Helping Your Congregations Take Flight. And Cameron is the…  Cameron, you are the CEO and the Executive Director of the Center for Progressive Renewal? 

CAMERON TRIMBLE: I am

ADAM ERICKSEN: Yeah, you knew that. 

CAMERON TRIMBLE: Yeah, most days I can hardly remember that. 

ADAM ERICKSEN: I don’t know about most days. Before we get to your book tell us about the Center For Progressive Renewal, you do a lot of coaching and consulting for clergy and for churches. What does that look like? What do you do at the Center For Progressive Renewal?

CAMERON TRIMBLE: So we began about ten years ago as kind of an experiment in mainline church, primarily, to create a place space, if you will, for entrepreneurial leaders who… anyone who wanted to start new churches, which is my background, and or anyone who wanted to renew a congregation, which is just now also my background. And we have this incredible team of coaches, consultants. We care very deeply about healthy local churches. We think that’s one of the best ways to make a more just and generous world, which is why we are really in this. I am a UCC pastor. My background is also United Methodist, so I’ve got a real passion for what happens at the local church level, though I served at a denominational level and now as national church consultant for a lot of years.

ADAM ERICKSEN: Nice. So if somebody where to want to consult with you or get coached by you, what would that look like, how would they do that?

CAMERON TRIMBLE: They just go to the website, progressiverenewal.org, and Greg Carson of our team is the guy to talk to. And then we just figure out what’s needed and if we can make a difference. And then we’ll see where it goes from there.

ADAM ERICKSEN: Cool. You can do this stuff online obviously, right, like we are doing? 

CAMERON TRIMBLE: Sure, Right. 

ADAM ERICKSEN: So geography is not an issue. Awesome. Go check that out, what is the website? 

CAMERON TRIMBLE: It’s progressiverenewal.org 

ADAM ERICKSEN: Awesome. Great. Now let’s get to Piloting Church. A fantastic book. I am the pastor of a UCC church and I was reading, I was like I really like, it is about church leadership. It’s not just for pastors, it’s for councils and anybody who wants to… and I was also reading it and thinking this could be really great not just for churches but for other 501(c)(3) and even businesses if they are feeling grounded and wanted to take flight.

CAMERON TRIMBLE: That’s right, my real passion is leadership and what I have discovered is that the most powerful organizations that we have, whether they are churches or NGOs or for profit companies, and I have got a background in all of them. Because I have started companies, secular non-profits and then churches. What I discovered is when you see an organization working really well, it’s usually because or almost always because the leadership that is driving it is healthy and is in alignment and is grounded and has done the internal work needed to lead that organization solidly. So, I’ve now become incredibly passionate about investing my life energy in what I call conscious leadership and that is leveling up our leadership game, so that, as we are leading these congregations forward, in particular, we are making a real difference, a meaningful difference in our communities. 

ADAM ERICKSEN: Wow, that’s good. So you have put together, two of your passions,  piloting and church together. Because as I saw the title, and I was like, that’s interesting, and then, as I was reading it, I was like, oh, that’s really good. That is, that works, really, really well. How did you get interested in being a pilot?

CAMERON TRIMBLE: Well, in part, I just should just go ahead and confess that the main reason I wrote this book is because what I really like to talk about is aviation. So it gave me an excuse to break out in aviation metaphors constantly. 

So I have been flying since I was a little girl. My uncle owned a little Bonanza Beechcraft Bonanza airplane. And he and I used to climb into that plane and go fly sometimes to destinations, sometimes just go play in the skies. I think that it gets in your blood. And what I began to realize is, for me, I mean I am deeply passionate about the church, and I am most alive when I am in the air. In fact, when we get off here, I am going to jump in my plane. So, it is so much a part of who I am and I get so much joy in taking people up in planes and teaching them about aviation. And it’s been such a good teacher for me as a human. So this book actually brings together those two great loves as you pointed out. So it was so much fun to write. I have had people say, like, gee, she really likes to fly. Like, I might have talked about a little too much like you get a little ground school in this book too. 

ADAM ERICKSEN: Yeah, right. For me, it worked perfectly and we going to get into that, but, what, how did you get interested in church. Was church a big part of your youth growing up like piloting was? 

CAMERON TRIMBLE: It was a little bit, I grew up in a family that we would occasionally go to church and then, as I grew older, I got more and more involved in that. And I tell a story that a couple of years ago, I was going through a box of old photos of my bedroom when I was growing up. And it had not occurred to me until I saw these photos that you, normal human beings, normal teenagers have like posters of teenage heartthrob of the day, or you know, like bands or whatever you are into. And I had pictures, of like starving children and polluted rivers, and you know, like all the broken places in the world. So from my young age apparently I have been deeply sensitive to the ways that we can harm each other and our planet. And you know, when you are a young person and you are making decisions about how you want to invest your life and your career, I happened to be the point where going into ministry made the most sense, at that point. And it’s served me well, I have had an extraordinary adventure serving in a lot of different denominational settings. So it’s been a real privilege. 

ADAM ERICKSEN: Yes, I had Back Street Boys on my wall. No, I didn’t, no.

CAMERON TRIMBLE: Well, we’ll talk about that offline. 

ADAM ERICKSEN: Well, we’ll do that offline. I had Michael Jordan up on my walls, so yeah, there you go.

But, so, what are a few, let’s just talk about a few of the lessons where your piloting experience can help us with church life.

CAMERON TRIMBLE: I think of one of the early lessons and this comes out in conversations and it always surprises me. When I talk about flying and I talk about… inevitably after I am done like if am keynoting or speaking at an event, somebody will come up and say it seems like you are really, like you like risk. You know, like you are not afraid. I say back to them, actually it’s a total opposite. What flying taught me, is actually how to manage risk. Because this is the one thing, you don’t want to screw up on. The take-off is the only optional part. 

So, I have learned everyone of us feels fear and the leadership challenge is to push through that and keep doing what you were made to do. Just keep putting the next foot forward, take your next best step, and trust your training because what you learn in flying is, and I talk about this in the book, you would think that you go through hours of grounds school before they ever put you in a plane. But the truth is the way you learn to fly is you just fly. Like the very first lesson that I ever took, official lesson, this poor man just put me in a cockpit and said go. And then was relentless in training me on, if this goes wrong this is what you do; if this goes wrong; and if this goes right, this is what you do. So I learned to trust that. 

There was a second leadership lesson that has proven incredibly important to me. And that is at some point in any hobby like this or career like this, you have to make a decision at what level you are going to play the game or what level you are going to develop the art in yourself. And for me, I decided mainly because I had really great people around me encourage me to keep upping my game, that I wanted to play at a professional level. I don’t what to be the amateur pilot who flies and is just kinda lucky to land and bounces down the runway and you know, is sloppy in what she does. Any more than I want to be an amateur pastor or an amateur leader. So when a professional gets up to do what they do in the world, their first thought is about that thing. Right. If I am a professional athlete, I am thinking, what’s my workout going to be? What’s my nutrition? Who are my teammates? How can I support them? How can we up our game, our level of play together, if we are in a team sport. Everything I do is geared in that direction. 

Now if I am an amateur, it just like I might stretch a little before I walk out onto a field. Or I might, like, I don’t know, dust off my old aviation book and read about airspace before I go jump in my plane. I don’t want to play at that level and I don’t want to work with people who do. I want to work with pros. I think that’s true for most of us. So, here is a real difference between continuing to up your game and surround yourself with people who want to up their game, too, so you all level up together. Or, you know, I mean I’m amateur in a lot of things, dancer, cook, chef, amateur all kinds of things but on my leadership, in my leadership and my vocation and in my flying, I don’t want that. 

ADAM ERICKSEN: Yes, we got some listeners and watchers, Caron Roach says I am listening. Hi, Caron, thank you for listening, and other people have comments or questions that you want to make, feel free to put those in the chat room and we will bring them in.

You mentioned fear, and I have a great fear of heights, and whenever I get, whenever I fly somewhere I always make sure to sit in the dreaded aisle section,  because I don’t want to look out the window. And fear is one of the big things that keep churches from taking flight, I should imagine. 

CAMERON TRIMBLE: That’s right. It is and it’s a curious thing because I actually think that’s a fairly modern development. I think in part what happened is that we got this, we tell ourselves the story of decline and irrelevance, and there is data to back it up it’s not like we totally made this up. But we have used that to justify complacency in some settings. And that kind of narrative creates a certain level of paralysis. So, you know, I actually learn this lesson from a psychologists name Virginia Satir, who was one of the leaders of the family systems therapy. And she talks about what it means to have self-esteem. And it’s not like you feel good about yourself. What she means is that you are so in tuned with what you are created to do and you are so honest about that, and you have such deep integrity within yourself, in your offering that to the world that when you offer it the power of it does change the game. 

And I think what’s happening in so many of our congregations is that we have lost our self-esteem. We abdicated some of our integrity, we have forgotten why we exist. We don’t realize, or we don’t recognize the difference that we can make in the world. And so what we started to do is just maintain institution for lack of a better thing to do. I think one of the opportunities we have right now, especially as we are deconstructing our systems, which I recognize there is enormous grief in that process. But then there is these huge opportunity, we get to pioneer a new age here. And if we can recapture our authenticity, our relevance, our reasons for being and why it matters that we have healthy congregations, I think we got an enormous future in front of us. 

ADAM ERICKSEN: What is our reason for being as churches?

CAMERON TRIMBLE: Well, I mean most simply put, I think the churches at the very best create loving people. Like I think when you go to church, or when you are in a Christian community, you should look a little more like Jesus at the end of the day. You should be a little kinder, a little more compassionate, a little more at peace in yourself, a little clearer about who you are, and whose you are. And then, the outcome of that, the evidence we can see from that, is that we make our communities more just and generous. So what my obsession is I don’t know why we need so many mainline churches or churches period unless in every single place one of those churches exist, the quality of life of for the people living in those communities is on the rise. So like imagine, everywhere there is a United Methodist church, or everywhere there is a Presbyterian church, we could promise the community that the quality of life for the people living around that church would be on the rise. That we would be as obsessed about the crime rate as we are about attendance; as obsessed about graduation  and employment opportunities as we are about giving. It’s that turning ourselves inside out I think in going doing the ministry mission. I think there is enormous… I think that’s our future.

ADAM ERICKSEN: It one of the things I love about your book is that you have this hopeful and inspiring tone to it. And you have, you said one of the issues is that the churches need to dream bigger And I see this in what you are just saying is kind of like part of the reason that we come to exist is to just exist. The institutional building and stuff and keeping up with all of these. It’s a lot of money to keep the building up. And what, where how do we dream big amidst, I mean, hey, like we live in strange times, right, and…

CAMERON TRIMBLE: We do. Not a strange well, well I suppose it depends on how we define strange, yeah. I think actually we know a little more than we give ourselves credit for. as far as the shifts in how people gather, the shifts in what people are looking for; the shifts in how we contribute as people of faith.

So there are few thoughts I have on this, one of the crises I think we have got, in the religious sector, in particular, is we are becoming a closed system, in that we are not consulting, we are not engaging other industries, in any strategic way; to learn from them. And so what we are doing is, like I used to have a landscaping company, and I often joke that it never occurred to me to go to another landscaping company that was going out of business and ask them how to run mine, but when I go to these denominational meetings or when I work with some of these congregations, what I realize is that, that’s actually what we are doing, we are just trading the wisdom that we are gaining from our own sector in our own little bubble. 

Now other work I do in the world has me out in a lot of other different places. I’m in major tech companies doing work there, I’m at major corporations doing work, in the business sector, financial industry, etcetera, and law enforcement. When you can access that level of cross-pollination, the ideas that come to you are just natural. They become obvious and they become innovative in your space. So my first plea to religious leaders regardless of where you are located in the system, is like, get out more. Go gather some ideas. Go meet cool people. Go have interesting conversations because it sparks your own creativity. It’s how you level up. And so I will say that’s really starting place and for how we dream bigger dreams.

The second thing I will just simply add is and then believe we can live into them. So, we can at the moment have a very negative and pessimistic view of our future and that’s unhelpful. So believe in your own possibility and then work towards that instead of sitting and offering critique of everyone else who is trying to really make a go of this, from doing this.

ADAM ERICKSEN: Well, there is a lot of pessimism about dying. It’s one of the things that just kind of weighs me down, as a youngish pastor, I guess, is this narrative that all these churches are supposed to be dying, is, as you said, self-defeating. And I see so much hope as you do in part of developing relationships with other people outside of church. It’s never helpful to isolate ourselves. And also, just like part of piloting or part of being up in a plane, even though it freaks me out sometimes, is that you get this expansive view of the world. It’s so much bigger than our, I don’t know, fears, our problems, and that’s in a sense, what God is all about, giving us some kind of bigger… there is something bigger going on here and if we just get in the plane, and go along with it, it’s going to be okay. Instead we have all of this fear about it, so. 

CAMERON TRIMBLE: Right. I mean I can go on for hours about different altitudes and what you see at different altitudes. That matters and here’s what, what really does matter about it. I am just going to plant this seed in your listener’s minds. What we have to understand is that everything is already in  relationship. So what’s on the ground is already in a relationship with what’s at 30,000 ft. It’s just that we can’t always see it. So when something is not working, the wise path is to either go up or go down, but shift your viewpoint, so that you can begin to see new ways things are in a relationship that then open up new possibilities for you. So, let me give you an example. It could very well be that probably, 75 – 85 % of mainline congregations will close in the next, let’s say, 50 years, maybe a shorter time period, because the way they are structured is a little bit like a BlackBerry trying to survive or thrive in an iPhone or whatever is to come – I’m scared of what is to come- but whatever is to come kind of world. Now the BlackBerry still works, like it still functions, kind of sort of, but nobody is maintaining it. There is no new infrastructure coming online like we are not, that’s not our future, we know that. But, if we can strategically let go of that technology and embrace what is coming to move resources, to move assets, then as we begin to see how all this is in relationship, we make better decisions about how we invest in our future. 

ADAM ERICKSEN: What do you see as coming?

CAMERON TRIMBLE: So I see a number of… I see local churches still continuing to thrive. I think a lot of local  churches, there is powerful vitality there and because they’re so close to the ground, literally. Their capacity to do the good work of the gospel is easy to live out. They are easier than some other places and denominational structures.

I also see the deconstruction of denominations. And I wish we were being more strategic about it. Right now it’s happening haphazardly. We are seeing some tribalism break out where it’s really based on relationships and what can be negotiated right now. There is no 50 to 100 year vision in operation that I can see at the moment. Right? So I see local, I mean I see all of us, individuals still wanting to be deeply loving spiritual people. Still wanting to engage in this way of life and not needing to join the thing necessarily, not necessarily needing a building all the time, though I think they’re very helpful some of the time. I think well, I don’t think I know I see clergy are going to have to get reoriented into this new world and the role they play as facilitator instead of resident expert. But what I do see ultimately is a pretty bright future, but it’s going to get worse before it gets better. Great news! You get to preside over that. 

ADAM ERICKSEN: We get to fly into that, Caron has a question, I think it’s also going to lead me to my next question. I will go with Caron’s, though. How do you convince your church community to let go and move in a different direction? 

CAMERON TRIMBLE: Well it’s never easy; is it. The way I tend to think about this is that there are some of us in the world who are willing to make  major change, because we can see a vision of the world that we like better than what we’ve currently got. So, there is a percentage of our population that is… that needs a vision, that’s exciting, that’s compelling, that’s worthy of giving their life energy to. There is another part of our population, and I fear it’s a larger part, that is more fear based and what they will be motivated by is an un-preferred future. So here is how I might say it, if we don’t do something to change the way we are operating as local church then in two years from now, we will burn all our endowments we won’t have any support for our young people, we won’t have any relevance in the community, and we are going to be talking about selling this building and closing it down. 

But imagine if we work together right now and if we could build partnerships that drew in new energy to our system, and we could find new foundations and funding partners who would align with our vision and if we could make a meaningful difference in the quality of life for people in our community imagine what will be possible for us to move forward. So it’s those two stories that have to be told together that I think can open up some of these systems. And it’s just being wise about how you talk about it, and if only talking about it was the solution. I just was given a very simple example for a complicated challenge.

ADAM ERICKSEN: Well I love your example, because as you say, you are not just riding criticism, I mean you, you have a very realistic view of where the church is at the moment, which was helpful for me to open my eyes and to see clearly, where we are at and how we can lead or pilot this thing into a better direction. That’s key. One of the things you say which goes along with Caron’s question is there is a myth out there that churches that are free of conflict are healthy churches. And I am sure, there are times where there is conflict in the plane amongst the pilot and the co-pilot, what do you do and stuff. So, what do we with conflict? You say that actually thriving churches have conflict in them. So what do we do with that?

CAMERON TRIMBLE: I personally see low levels of conflict, not outright let’s destroy each other level of conflicts. Low levels of conflict is a healthy sign that people care enough to invest energy in the conversation, in the community, in this body that you formed together. So, we should normalize that conflict is  part of what it means to be a church. Like church is messy, we are all messy humans, and then we get together as a group, and then we get messy over each other, that’s just it. So for us to have created a mythology that conflict is bad or that conflict has to be terribly destructive, I think is just that, it’s a mythology. So let’s normalize some of it and there are certain leadership capacities that are helpful if you develop in negotiating and flying your way, through that. Most conflicts, I have found, come from unarticulated anxiety that comes out in competing commitments, beliefs, and values. So, if you can surface those and people can overhear it, what you then try to do is to continue to surface them such that you can achieve alignment between the various parties. So that they can become more aligned in their commitments, values and beliefs as you are working together. 

So that’s the art of leadership. When you are not fighting, it means either you are in denial, you are being too polite, you are suppressing real issues that will be below the surface and will explode at some point, or you just don’t care, and neither of those options are good. So, I don’t want people to think Cameron is about fighting, that’s all uncomfortable. But, I have more often seen it’s actually a healthy thing in most situations, not always. 

ADAM ERICKSEN: Oh yeah, I mean Jesus, he says before you go and make your sacrifice at the temple if you have something against your brother or sister go get that figured out.

CAMERON TRIMBLE: Yeah, that goes back to the integrity thing and about self-esteem. Where things get wonky for everyone and where there is no win for anyone is when someone or someones has compromised their integrity in the community. Because at that point, you can’t, until that fixed you can’t move forward in healthy ways. And by integrity, I just mean the alignment of who you are and who are presenting yourself to be. So it’s not just I did something bad, it’s actually am misaligned with who am committed to me as a person. That creates a mess.

ADAM ERICKSEN: Yeah. One of the challenges that we have that you mentioned in the book is simply getting our message out there and this is one of the things that I find particularly difficult for Christians who identify as progressive, because we tend to be, it comes with some kind of shame with being Christians. And we often, I have blamed other Christians for ruining Christianity for me, and I don’t want to be one of those Christians. So, how do we get the message out there? That’s one of the big things. But also how do we get the message out there without demonizing other Christians who have, like, ruined Christianity?

CAMERON TRIMBLE: Yeah, simple. I am with you in that. I totally feel that pain. There are I will confess on Facebook to the world that there are moments when I am tired in the airport and someone asks me what I do for a living and I tell them I am in the non-profit-turn around business. I don’t tell them I am a pastor, right. We should start by acknowledging that the brand of Christianity is damaged. It just is and it is uncomfortable for us to wear. Now the question is it irrevocably damaged? Is it… has the evangelical theology, which our national media seems to be really obsessed with, is that message so powerful that in fact, it’s causing so much damage in the world that we may not be able to fix that. So if that’s the case, then, that’s a different kind of work. And that’s going to require a different level of bravery on all of our parts and that’s a different conversation that we should have. But, in the interim, while we are discerning if that is the case, at the very least, we should be working it on two levels. 

The first level is we need a national media strategy. The reason that the theology that gets promoted in the world does is because there is a whole machinery, a whole infrastructure, that exists that gets out theological talking points to charismatic speakers who are intentionally invited on to national news outlets to spew some stuff that makes the rest of terribly uncomfortable. Now let’s be “as wise as serpents and as innocent as doves” in this. Let’s level up our game.

So we can play that same game. We have an equally compelling message that’s far more redemptive, that is far healthier for the common good that could actually help save our planet. But there is never been more at stake, and our kind of theology, which is just and generous and collaborative, and for the common good. Our kind of theology needs to get out there or we are headed towards an outcome that is terribly devastating for all of humanity and our planet. So we need to get serious about what is our national approach to this. Who are the leaders we want to promote to the major news outlets? What are the talking points after every major event? And we possible want a person of faith, talking points need to be distributed, we need to be organized. And in every one of our communities, faith leaders need to step up to getting their voices out into their media outlets locally. Now I don’t mean clergy do. I don’t in most of my writing, in most of my work, I don’t make distinctions between clergy and lay leader, everyone of us is faith leader. And if you are interested in being a public leader then I am talking to you about this. 

One of the most valuable encounters I have ever had was with a guy named Matthew Alston, who taught me how to create a messaging triangle and the discipline he instilled in me is that every single time we had a major thing happen in a community, I instantly go and create a messaging triangle whether I need to or not. That you figure your core message, then you figure out the supporting scripture, you figure out supporting statistics, and then you figure out supporting the story. So that if you have the chance to get to speak on television or on the radio, or in a podcast, or write an oped, you have already done the work, so that you are ready to do that. So we’ve got to be ready to step into the opportunities that come our way. 

ADAM ERICKSEN: That messaging triangle that you have in the book, that was worth the price of the book, those like three or four pages that you have in there. And everything else in the book is fantastic, too. But that is like a really practical here’s how you do it, here’s how you get the message out. And for me that’s like one of the most important things that we need to do is get our message out. Because for too long, we progressives have been hiding it and it’s doing nobody any good. We don’t have time to hide it anymore. So thank you for that part of your book in particular. In your work, what in your work at the Center for Progressive Renewal, what gives you hope?

CAMERON TRIMBLE: A number of things, one is again, we have the privilege of working with, congregations who care, who want to  level up, so they may be in trouble, they may be very fragile, they may be looking at closing, but they care enough to reach out, and to invest, and to, most of the time, do the hard work. And, I’ll just be blunt, if they are not willing to do the hard work, we cancel the contract. We don’t.. life is too short, and we don’t want to waste their money, and we don’t want to waste our time. So, we get to work with leaders who are starting new ministries and who are dreaming of new technologies, if you will, that we could use to help people be more loving and kind and look a little more like Jesus. And sometimes that looks a the congregation and sometimes that looks like an app or a VR goggle space. So we get to work on a lot of cool different environments and then we get to work with really strong churches, 2 or 3,000 members, or 8,000 member churches that are trying to figure out how the service a cathedral, in a sense, to support other congregations; how do they expand their reach and their impact. So getting to work on is something like that, that’s great. And then we are working with a lot of congregations who are facing their death, possibly, unless they want to rewrite the story. And that’s part of the work we get to do with them. So ultimately that’s pretty cool work. I look Like a plane, and it’s across so many denominations that’s the other fun thing. It’s like it’s not just this one tribe, we get to work with everybody and that gives us a good perspective on what’s going on.

ADAM ERICKSEN: That’s cool. You tell a lot of stories in the book which makes it very engaging. One of the stories you tell near the end is about 9/12 the day after 9/11 and what happened. and especially in Canada. So much of our memory of 9/11 is just the tragedy, which is important to remember, but amidst the tragedy there were stories of hope and love and living out the way of Jesus as you been talking this whole time. So can you tell us about that story and why it is important to add to this book. 

CAMERON TRIMBLE: Ok, well there is a musical that’s been out now for a little while, Come From Away, and the reason it’s so dear to me is because one of the lead characters is a female pilot, Beverley Bass. She was one of the first female pilots in American airlines to fly the, I think it was, the triple 7. The story is about what happened on 9/11 and her needing to do things like first discovering that the air space in the United States has been closed, and then needing to find a new location to land. And then, this little tiny placed called Gander and she got to land this huge plane with 200 and something people on it on the runway that’s barely long enough, and whose concrete is not built to hold a plane that weights that much. And so, she has to do things like dump fuel over the ocean, which is regrettable if you are an environmentalist, but think through all those kinds of things. Then they get through this, and then they realize the enormity of what’s happened means they are going to be in Gander for a little while and so they form a community. It literally doubles Gander’s population overnight. And the town people embrace the plane people. It’s what they named them. And they formed a community whose bonds exist to this day. 

And for me, that became a story of enormous hope for the future of church, and enormous hope for the future of humanity, frankly. We are going through unprecedented change and we are witnessing the deconstruction of systems that many people have given their lives to. So the pain of that cannot be understated. And, we also have the opportunity now through the relational networks that we can form and through our shared common commitments to building a more just and generous world. We can architect a different kind of future, a 9/12 kind of future, that is honest about who we are, what we are, and is committed to building a future that is for the common good. So it’s… I do think that the Church with the big C is at a tipping point so we will either find our way again and build a relevant powerful future for local congregations and people of faith to continue to live out this way of life or we will die of irrelevancy. And we should. So, today is the day. Like I think the decisions we make and this next couple of years will determine who will be 50 to 100 years from now. So no pressure, I am totally in it with all of you. 

ADAM ERICKSEN: I love it. It’s the reality that you put forward in the book and it’s a fantastic book, I highly recommend it I think it will make a great book study for churches. It is filled with the reality of the present situation and also filled with hope and inspiration about how we can pilot this thing forward. So, Cameron, thank you so much for being here today. 

CAMERON TRIMBLE: It’s great to be here. Thanks for interviewing me. 

ADAM ERICKSEN: Yeah, absolutely, and if people want to keep up with your work, how can they do that? 

CAMERON TRIMBLE: They can like me on all the social media things, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and all that and then go to progressiverenewal.org and you can find me there. 

ADAM ERICKSEN: Fantastic, thank you, everybody, for watching you can stay up to date with the RavenCast on the Raven Foundation Facebook page and also at the Raven ReView at Ravenfoundation.org. You can find a recording of this video there in the next few days. And so, hey, why don’t you share with some of your friends because Cameron brought us some awesome stuff in this video. So, go ahead and share that with your churches and your friends, and get the book, Piloting Church, wherever great books are sold. Awesome. Alright everybody, take care. Bye-bye.

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