In 2010 and few friends and colleagues brought together a group of 50 Christian CEOs and leaders and shared a vision and a challenge to see the Christian community deliver local transformation around the country. We wanted to see what God was doing and join in, rather than just starting a new project and praying He would bless it.
Nearly three years years later, the Cinnamon Network has grown beyond our imaginings, in a way that can only be God. Our focus has become community franchising – projects that can be replicated and fitted to different local contexts and that benefit these communities. We work to support churches in establishing franchise projects, and help emerging projects develop their potential into franchises. We have also carried on meeting as a group of CEOs and leaders, with around 200 people coming to our various events. It is an inspiring group to be a part of, and we love to share experiences, learn from each other and talk about possible collaborations with each other.
However, as CEOs, we’re all of a certain age and place in our careers. Hopefully we all have a long way to travel and a lot more to do, but we’re the present and we want to help make the future. As a part of this, we’ve been bringing a group of younger Christians who are emerging as leaders and have a passion for social justice. We want them to have the space to get to know each other, build their own relationships and networks, and share their own visions, so we created the Cinnamon Network Connection. This provides that space, and at each meeting we have a guest who speaks for around 15-20 minutes on developing as a leader in a particular area or around a particular theme.
Our next event is on Wednesday 13 February, and our guest speaker is John Glen, the MP for Salisbury. There is a fab interview with him over at the Cinnamon Network blog, talking about the importance of civil society and the role of the church as a part of that. I really love this exchange:
Matt: Why is civil society so important for our communities?
John: Governments can be inflexible, bureaucratic, and slow to respond to the ever-evolving challenges our communities face. Civil society can provide ready access for ordinary people and allows a more intimate dynamic with those who use services.
We want the young Christians at the Cinnamon Network Connection to be a leaders in civil society, and John is going to be talking about the ways of serving as a Christian in public life. If you’re interested in attending, please head to the website. Places are limited!