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Far too much of the literature on leadership tells the story of heroic individuals creating their success by their own efforts. Such stories fail to recognize the structural obstacles to thriving faced by those in marginalized communities. If young people in these communities are to grow up to lives of purpose, others must help create the conditions to make that happen. Pastors, organizational leaders, educators, family, and friends must all perceive their calling to create new stories and new conditions of thriving for those most marginalized. The Purpose Gap offers both inspiration and practical guidance for how to do that. It offers advice on creating a safe space for failure and nurturing networks that support young people of color. Professional guidance for how to implement these strategies in one’s congregation, school, or community organization is also included.
Christian organization, education, and leadership are changing. Headlines note rising religious disaffiliation (“the Nones”), moral failures by religious leaders, and the mounting crisis for religious education. Research on congregations, Christian higher education, and theological education also paints a dismal picture: declining engagement and growing fragility. These trends have changed the landscape that surrounds Christian thought and practice, but the story of local communities presents a more complex portrait: communities are also coalescing around vitality, wisdom, and hope.
Adaptive Church explores what it takes for communities of faith to respond to uncertainty and shifting organizational environments. Based on fifty-two interviews and four years of empirical work, Dustin Benac charts a theological paradigm for collaboration and community in a changing world. He pioneers an interdisciplinary method that identifies the ecclesial ecology as the primary site to discern how Christian communities and leaders adapt to mounting challenges. Moreover, he provides the first in-depth analysis of a novel form of organizing religious life—a “hub”—by telling the story of how collaborative partnerships are creating new structures of belonging in the Pacific Northwest. Neither megachurches nor denominations, these hubs are networks that anchor religious life within a particular community and facilitate webs of connection across Christian institutions. Illumined by wisdom drawn from the Christian tradition, they pursue a particular way of life, one sustained by six complementary forms of leadership that express the possibility of collaboration and community in a changing world.
How do we practice hope after trauma? What shape does hope take after abuse? In grappling with these questions, Ashley E. Theuring implicates the entire church and advocates changing our theologies of hope and our understanding of resurrection. Reimagining the Empty Tomb narrative from the Gospel of Mark in light of the experiences of domestic violence survivors, Fragile Resurrection reveals the possibility for everyday practices and relationships to mediate hope and resurrection. Theuring constructs an embodied imaginative hope found in the wake of trauma, which can speak to our current context of trauma and uncertainty.
A deadly pandemic. Civic unrest. Economic uncertainty. The years between the 2016 and 2020 Presidential Elections exposed the vulnerability of our institutions—and ourselves—like never before. In the wake of uncertainty, the authors in this volume offer wisdom to make sense of the changes brought by these past four years. Reflecting how faith and philanthropy converge, they imagine alternative economies for faith communities, academia, and nonprofits, while also marking the unshakable encounter with grief and crisis. Authors linger in the space between what was and what will be to ask: what do we leave behind, what do we bring with us, and what possibilities exist where crisis and care converge? Their words and wisdom kindle philanthropic imagination in this moment of transition and change.