Thursday, September 19, 2013

Why Call This New Ministry Venture Starling Initiatives?

At 53 I am pioneering again and setting out to launch a whole new global enterprise called Starling Initiatives. Needless to say it is thrilling, scary and rewarding all at the same time. I love the new learning. I love the rising levels of creativity involved with starting new things. I love the reward of taking huge risks and seeing God work in unbelievable ways. I'll post more about this new idea in the coming days. But why call it Starling Initiatives?

A starling is a hearty bird that seems to prosper in any part of the world where it is introduced. They are even considered invasive in many habitats and farmers are often desperate to find ways to be rid of them. Starlings can be very diverse in color and appearance around the world, but pretty much they are the same kind of bird.

They are a smart bird, in fact they can even be taught to mimic sounds and human speech (a Myna bird is a type of Starling).

What is most remarkable about the starling is when they fly together in what appears like a well-coordinated swarm of birds. This is called murmuration. Scientists cannot explain how so many birds can all move at once, varying angles and velocity, as though they were all hearing from the same source. In such cases each small bird becomes part of a much larger organic thing that seems to act as one. They do this to resist predators. Alone, a starling is a small and weak little bird. Together a murmuration is powerful. I believe this is a picture of the kingdom of God as it is meant to thrive all over the world.

Starling Initiatives will remain small and highly mobile. Our aim is not to grow a large lumbering organization that costs more and more and increases its own need for self-preservation. Instead, we choose to remain small, reproductive and highly responsive. And we intend to birth many more of the same all over the world. Our most essential value is to remain small, healthy, quick and always respond to the voice of our Father...and equip others to do the same. As the flock grows the murmuration can become more and more complex and beautiful and yet never be a large organization, but rather an organic movement.

If you would like to understand more about murmuration here is a link to a TED talk presented by Don Tapscott that is very helpful in presenting a global context for such thinking and using starlings to picture a way of working better in today’s rapidly changing world.

If you are so led, we are accepting support for this new venture. Josiah Venture, a mission to reach young people in Eastern Europe, has granted us the favor of flying under their umbrella until we can get our feet under us.


KatieD said...

I watched a program last night on PBS that highlighted something cool about Starlings that you alluded to in your post. When a Hawk, who is a major predator seeks to "take out a Starling" the whole flock moves in such a way of unity that confuses the Hawks efforts and keeps him from picking off one of them. It's as if they are in a unity of such magnitude that the enemy is unable to take advantage of any lone Starling. I like that analogy for us as One Body in Christ, and how to defeat the enemy's attacks and keep flying for the Kingdom!

Neil Cole said...

Someone else also told me about the PBS show Katie, but I haven't been able to see it yet. Thanks sis!

Dietrich Schindler said...

Neil, I would be interested to know why this shift in your emphasis, up to now, on simple church? Is the Starling Initiative an answer to boredom with simple church? Tell us more.