Leading Differently: Disruptors Needed

Leading Differently: Disruptors Needed January 23, 2017


By Stephen Lewis, President of Forum for Theological Exploration (FTE)

In a time of withering certainty about who we are as Americans, Christians and global citizens, we desperately need courageous moral leaders—those willing to disrupt the status quo. These are leaders inspired by faith, fueled by courage and leading in unconventional ways to create a more hopeful future. Over the past year, bold leaders in FTE’s community shared their reflections on how they are Leading Differently through their work in the world, in a series for Patheos’ Faith Forward.

For these diverse, visionary women and men, theological exploration follows alongside their personal journeys to influence their vibrant careers. They start new models of Christian ministry, innovate traditional faith settings, respond to social and justice issues, and build a beloved community. These disruptive difference-makers—pastors, church planters, students, teachers, organizers and servant leaders—are actively shaping the world we long to see.

Their stories of leading differently are not only inspiring, but needed. If you have not read FTE’s series, we invite you to do so, here.

Our communities and world need visionary architects to ensure that movements of peace and justice are not just a news headline, but a reality for all who are disinherited and vulnerable; whose lives are threatened and terrorized; and whose future are destroyed. Like the diverse disruptors in this series, we all must be arrested by the in-breaking of God’s spirit in our lives and the ways we are called to work on behalf of the greater good.

As we look ahead to 2017, I look forward to sharing with you voices of others guided by their Christian calling, especially millennials who are engaged in today’s civil and human rights issues and movements; how theological education and Christian institutions are addressing anxiety in the larger American culture as a result of the increasing diversity in the U.S. and around the globe; and how the millennial start up culture is innovating prophetic solutions to the problems of our communities around the word. It’s a series we’re calling Living and Leading Change for Good.

The church and academy have an important role to play here to equip, inspire and launch designers and civil engineers of innovative models of theological education and faith communities who will lead change in the 21st century. We must offer disruptive difference makers three key institutional resources if they are to live and lead change for a good, which are:

  • A leadership incubator to cultivate bold young Christians who are exploring and pursuing ministry in creative new ways that meet the needs of communities, the country and the world.
  • A leadership accelerator to actively develop Christian leaders’ innovative ideas for ministry into scalable social enterprises that create positive transformation and change for good.
  •  A place to explore purpose, passion and calling that can provide participants resources to address the intersection between what God is doing in the world, the kind of diverse Christian leaders we need now, and the role of the church and academy in these leaders’ formation.

We hope Living and Leading Change for Good gets you thinking, and maybe even inspires you to be the disruptive change you’ve been waiting for. Because we need new generations of wise, courageous and faithful disruptors.


StephenLewisStephen Lewis is the President of the Forum for Theological Exploration (FTE), committed to cultivating a new generation of Christian leaders. He is an ordained minister with more than fifteen years of experience in corporate and nonprofit leadership, strategic planning, program development and group facilitation. Stephen’s 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.

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