Living and Leading Change for Good: Meet the Disruptors
The Forum for Theological Exploration series, Living and Leading Change for Good,invites you to meet the disruptors – theological explorers and visionary architects inspired by their Christian faith and fueled by courage. These leaders are actively addressing civil and human rights issues and the anxiety about the rising tide of color in the U.S., along with creating social entrepreneurial ventures that respond to issues our communities face today. Our hope is that their voices and stories toward peace and justice might inspire you to be the disruptive change you’ve been waiting for. You can find the full series, here.
By Stephen Lewis
This year, we’ve seen staggering discord, racial violence, and injustice. We’ve experienced environmental degradation and natural disasters, both at home and around the world.
Hate and killing in Charlottesville. A global refugee crisis sparked by intractable civil wars and extreme poverty. Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Mexico’s strongest earthquake in a century. Systems of oppression that trample human dignity. A political climate that blocks progress toward the flourishing of all God’s people.
We greatly need leadership in the midst of so much upheaval. We need leaders who will shape a more hopeful future for our communities. Christians who will work toward alternative possibilities. Leaders who will live and lead change for good.
Rev. Dr. Kit Ford is one of these inspiring leaders. She and her husband Rev. Dwight Ford are addressing domestic violence and abuse. Pastor and teacher by day and aspiring social entrepreneurs by night, they recently founded Argrow’s House of Healing and Hope. Dr. Ford’s grandma, Rev. Argrow Margaret Warren, a survivor of domestic violence, inspired its creation.
Argrow’s House is a bath and body business that employs women healing from violence and abuse, provides them a living wage to create beautiful bath products, and supports their healing through various services. During this Advent season, Argrow’s House launched a new line and 100% of the proceeds go to supporting survivors.
This year, FTE’s series highlighted stories of courageous leaders—young adults, students, teachers, ministers, and community change agents—like the Fords who seek to do good in their communities and throughout the world.“What does good look like?” you might ask. It looks different for different people and circumstances. For FTE, “doing good” is people creating conditions where others— including the least among us, the marginalized, vulnerable and invisible—might experience the promise and potential of life more abundantly.
Our world needs Christian leaders who explore, experiment, and embody what good—the good news of equity and justice for everyone—looks like in their context. We need leaders who continuously strive to do good in congregational ministry and theological education. But we also need to broaden our imagination of ministry to include doing good in public and civic life. This requires innovators, entrepreneurs, and idealists who seek to renew, transform, and build Christian organizations to contribute to the social good of God’s work in the world.
This is why FTE began cultivating a cohort of visionary change-makers this year through innovating a new initiative, DO GOOD X. As an eight-week accelerator for early-stage Christian social entrepreneurs, DO GOOD X catalyzes a diverse, faith-rooted community to launch impact ventures that solve our world’s greatest problems.
To effectively tackle problems in the 21st century, we must build organizations that integrate the best wisdom from both faith traditions and entrepreneurship. Leaders of these organizations must have support to build their capacity.
Next year, we will continue work with Christian leaders, pastors, and theological educators interested in DO GOOD X. We will also look to share what we are learning and work with leaders of denominations and theological schools imagining new ways for teaching Christian innovation and social entrepreneurship.
We hope you will join us and a growing movement of Christian change-makers living and leading change for good.
Stephen Lewis is the President of the Forum for Theological Exploration (FTE), committed to cultivating a new generation of Christian leaders. He is also the creator of DO GOOD X, a start-up accelerator for diverse Christian social entrepreneurs. Stephen is an ordained minister with more than fifteen years of experience in corporate and nonprofit leadership, strategic planning, program development and group facilitation. His interest lies at the intersection of leadership development, social entrepreneurship, and change, and he is passionate about inspiring the next generation of leaders to make a difference in the world through Christian communities and social ventures.