Friday, September 21, 2012

Constructing the Scaffold

Hamilton's TrueCity movement of churches ( will shortly be announcing the formation of The Scaffold, a book room intended to serve as a resource for pastors and ministry leaders.  

I think it's an exciting project, but I'm a bit biased; I'm managing it.

But Matt, you finished your Ph.D in something ending in "-ology."  Shouldn't you be teaching somewhere with pomp and circumstance and stuff?

Maybe.  I've tried to.  I'm still trying to.  I'd still like to.  But that avenue is very crowded right now, and there's a need here that involves stewarding my teaching and research skills a little differently.  The Scaffold, as friends and I have envisioned it over the past few months, will be a space where we can work on sermons, papers, and other projects,  A space for working individually or together.  With maybe some coffee.  And possibly some cookies.  I wouldn't be a very good Baptist if sharing food wasn't in the vision somewhere.  It's a place that I and others will be able to work productively and cooperatively, hopefully sharing books we don't need to keep at home -- and hopefully getting more and better work done, and maybe even learning from one another, in the process.  And this may well offer opportunities to teach, consult, etc. in related capacities, outside the academic settings to which I'm accustomed.

Some details, for those who are interested (specialists in redaction criticism will note that the language of these and other features of this post overlap with the TrueCity announcement.  I would posit that the author and the TrueCity site shared a common source.  Feel free to write a paper about this.)...
  • The Scaffold will be housed in the TrueCity office (2nd floor, 500 James St North, Hamilton).
  • It will be open Wednesday and Friday mornings (9 AM - 1 PM) to start with, beginning on Oct 10, 2012; more hours may be added later on.
  • Its library will be comprised primarily of books in missional, theological, and biblical stiudies, all on extended loan from those who participate in it -- so it will grow as more of us join in (probably from TrueCity churches, to begin with, though I'm a notable exception to that rule right now).
  • You can learn more about how to get involved on the Facebook page,; visit the online library profile and catalog at and; and contact me officially at
  • Oh, and the name: well, the space itself is probably temporary -- so this is just a simple platform, designed to facilitate building, maintenance, and other activities.  Granted, it's almost interchangeable with scaffolding, the material(s) one uses to build a scaffold; but the metaphor doesn't need to bear that much weight.  As I said, it may only be temporary.  But it's still worth doing.  So come check it out and get involved.  Your brain and your ministry will thank you.
So this is something of an experiment in what I've seen labelled (and have practiced myself) as "intellectual hospitality": space created for the welcoming and honing of reflections and those who share them.  It's something that I and others have prayed over a good deal, in this instance -- desiring to go where God's Spirit leads, without trying to guess too far ahead where the Spirit will lead next.

1 comment:

  1. As I think I've shared, I think this is awesome. Especially the shared libraries aspect--how much better to pool intellectual/literary resources and let everyone involved benefit from the composite library? Good stuff!