Lutheran Volunteer Corps, one of my mentors asked me why I had chosen a faith-based organization focusing on social justice, rather than a secular organization. This question caught me completely off guard—I had never considered that my passion for social justice could come from anything but my faith. So many of the Scripture passages that speak to me most deeply are those that call for an end to oppression and injustice, that call for us to care for those who are in need, for those who are rejected and for those who are forgotten. From Jesus to Martin Luther King, Jr. my models of social justice are strongly tied to faith.

"> Social Justice as an Extension of Faith | Forum for Theological Exploration Introducing the Leaders for Tomorrow’s Institutions | Forum for Theological Exploration A Lesson on Leadership | Forum for Theological Exploration When in Doubt, Do ... | Forum for Theological Exploration “We’ve a Story to Tell to the Nations …” | Forum for Theological Exploration What is our next most faithful step? | Forum for Theological Exploration What is Changing? | Forum for Theological Exploration Survival in the Lily Fields: FTE Doctoral Fellowships | Forum for Theological Exploration Faith & Politics: Conversations Leading to Action | Forum for Theological Exploration second installment of my thoughts on diversity in the classroom. It doesn’t take the events of last week to make it difficult for me to write on the topic because even on ordinary days (if those actually exist) whatever I feel led to say smacks of being trite.

"> Classroom Violence | Forum for Theological Exploration The Pulse of Justice – The Passion of Jesus | Forum for Theological Exploration Leading Differently When Different is Dangerous | Forum for Theological Exploration Where Were You on Bloody Sunday? | Forum for Theological Exploration Our Students Will Lead Us | Forum for Theological Exploration Pentecost: A Time for Change | Forum for Theological Exploration Can the Church Help End Violence & Injustice in Our Communities? Seven Themes We Heard in Chicago. | Forum for Theological Exploration “Go, set the world on fire!” But don’t burn it down. | Forum for Theological Exploration Shake, Rattle, and Roll: Culture, Queerness, and Faith | Forum for Theological Exploration Behind the Doctorate | Forum for Theological Exploration Refreshed Through Discernement | Forum for Theological Exploration Creating Space for Imagination | Forum for Theological Exploration Leading Differently by Listening to Whispers, Shouts and Echoes | Forum for Theological Exploration God, thank you for making me BLACK! Black History Month Musings | Forum for Theological Exploration Same Ole Gospel | Forum for Theological Exploration terrorist shooting in San Bernadino, CA.

"> Leading with Love in the Wake of Islamophobia | Forum for Theological Exploration Set the Prisoners Free | Forum for Theological Exploration Sacred Work | Forum for Theological Exploration It Takes a Village | Forum for Theological Exploration What’s Your New Year’s Resolution? | Forum for Theological Exploration The Hope of Now | Forum for Theological Exploration Trusting Brown Hands | Forum for Theological Exploration God Beyond Borders | Forum for Theological Exploration More Questions Than Answers | Forum for Theological Exploration Reflections on three years with CMTEV | Forum for Theological Exploration A call to ‘Opt-in’ | Forum for Theological Exploration Theological Education, Diversity, and a Transformative Future | Forum for Theological Exploration Benefits of a Vocational Friendship | Forum for Theological Exploration FTE’s Ministry Exploration and Mentoring Grant; The grant was such a tremendous blessing as it enabled me to develop relationships with women that have utilized their experience and/or understanding of grief in their respective ministries.

"> Affirmations of Calling | Forum for Theological Exploration Ferguson & Faith: Sparking Leadership and Awakening Community, Dr. Leah Gunning Francis discusses the significance of her work for faith communities and emerging Christian leaders.

"> Seven Questions with Leah Gunning Francis, Author of “Ferguson & Faith” | Forum for Theological Exploration A Reflection on My Ministry Exploration and Mentoring Grant Experience | Forum for Theological Exploration The Sublime Power of Belief | Forum for Theological Exploration Theological Education After Ferguson and Long Island and Baltimore and Charleston and…. | Forum for Theological Exploration The Ministry of Surrender | Forum for Theological Exploration The Stillness | Forum for Theological Exploration Racism: The Most Sinful of Legacies | Forum for Theological Exploration What Is Thy Name | Forum for Theological Exploration Active Faith is Urgent | Forum for Theological Exploration The Birth of Goodness | Forum for Theological Exploration Re-Arranged by the Spirit | Forum for Theological Exploration Vocation in Between the Aftermath of Violence and a Hoped-for Future | Forum for Theological Exploration To Follow a Call | Forum for Theological Exploration Where Two or Three Are Gathered | Forum for Theological Exploration Tooth Fairy | Forum for Theological Exploration Marking Vocational Transitions Faithfully | Forum for Theological Exploration Mission Year to attend FTE’s Discernment Retreat in Lake Arrowhead, California.

"> Our Becoming | Forum for Theological Exploration Falling Deeper Into My Calling | Forum for Theological Exploration Let the Streets Inspire You | Forum for Theological Exploration Whose Name is on the Invitation? | Forum for Theological Exploration The Feeble Art of Radical Hospitality | Forum for Theological Exploration Finding God in the Rabbit Trail | Forum for Theological Exploration What is Worship to Me | Forum for Theological Exploration A Resolution for Religion | Forum for Theological Exploration Sacred Cows at the Lord’s Table | Forum for Theological Exploration I am a Pile of Trash | Forum for Theological Exploration The Church Knows Something | Forum for Theological Exploration Critical Feeling | Forum for Theological Exploration “Do you not perceive it?” Isaiah 43:19 | Forum for Theological Exploration Buddy Crossed the Line | Forum for Theological Exploration Campus Ministries Shaping the Future | Forum for Theological Exploration Teaching Theology after Ferguson | Forum for Theological Exploration Imagination Next | Forum for Theological Exploration If it was a Snake ... | Forum for Theological Exploration The Power to Reshape Brokenness | Forum for Theological Exploration Campus Ministries that Stick | Forum for Theological Exploration How to Harness the Awkward Pause | Forum for Theological Exploration 2015 FTE Doctoral Fellowships. This is an appropriate moment to reflect briefly on why we do the work of supporting rising theological educators of color.

"> Why We Do This | Forum for Theological Exploration In Praise of Small Spaces | Forum for Theological Exploration Culture Shock | Forum for Theological Exploration Can We Keep Our Promises? | Forum for Theological Exploration An Opportunity to Re-Engage not Remake the Church | Forum for Theological Exploration Living Stream Church of the Brethren.

"> Innovative Ministries: Stepping outside my box | Forum for Theological Exploration Attentiveness and Practices in Christian Ministry | Forum for Theological Exploration Conducting My Beautiful, Cacophonous Clone Choir | Forum for Theological Exploration Can you Repack That? | Forum for Theological Exploration An Open Reflection to My Younger Self | Forum for Theological Exploration A Christian Take on Mindfulness | Forum for Theological Exploration The Building of Community in Unlikely Places | Forum for Theological Exploration Compensation for Being | Forum for Theological Exploration Transitioning-into-Ministry (TiM) Participants Gathering. The first year I thought it was a fluke. The second year I was looking for it. This year, I was expecting it. What was is “it”? The power of a room.

"> The Power of a Room | Forum for Theological Exploration Listen Closely | Forum for Theological Exploration Communication as an Art | Forum for Theological Exploration Celebrating a Birthday or Celebrating the Birth of an Idea | Forum for Theological Exploration Shhhhhhhh! | Forum for Theological Exploration Do We Know Enough About Other Religions? | Forum for Theological Exploration My Time At the FTE Vocational Discernment Conference | Forum for Theological Exploration Is the Institutional Church Worth Saving? | Forum for Theological Exploration

Where are the Mentors?

By: Kathleen Braafladt
August 15, 2017

I have a nagging sense that whatever experiences I can currently provide in my congregational setting will fall short of what realistically will unfold in the next few decades in the church.

“Where are the mentors?”

This question is my constant companion as I navigate the unchartered waters of the next great emergence in the Christian church. As a pastor and mentor for young adults discerning their vocational call, I take seriously my task to provide experiences that will facilitate their ability to hear God’s call upon their lives. But I have a nagging sense that whatever experiences I can currently provide in my congregational setting will fall short of what realistically will unfold in the next few decades in the church.

“Where are the mentors for future leaders?”

I posed that question in a small group during the 2017 FTE Christian Leadership Forum. I was turned upside down by the response. “Perhaps what we need is an internship for pastors, mentored by young leaders,” someone replied.

That’s when I realized what is so inspiring about this annual gathering.

The Forum creates a space where I am being mentored by young, creative voices both inside and outside of the church! Here I find a sea of rich, diverse voices, passionate about healing the world and living out the kingdom’s values. Having lamented the current state of the institutional church, I’ll never forget a young leader who stood up in a session and said, “I want to run out into the streets of Atlanta and say, ‘Don’t worry, we are working on it.’”

One session, Living, Dying, and Leading Change, was about established and emerging systems of influence. I was given new eyes and a new vision for me and for my congregation’s role in providing resources and mentoring for emerging models of ministry.

“Where are the mentors?”

They are not only those from within the church who dare to imagine a different kind of future. They are also the executives of nonprofits and business leaders, experienced in coordinating resources, adapting to change, and taking risks. And, yes, I left the Forum feeling like there is a place for seasoned pastors who are skilled at inspiring generosity and trusted enough to lead others into a different future.

“Where are the mentors?”

I last saw them at the FTE Forum in Atlanta, but I’m beginning to understand they are everywhere in our communities, beyond the walls of my own church.

Mentors can be found in the least likely of places. We need all of them.

I am eager to lead change for good in ways that will enable my congregation to see an abundance of resources inside and outside the doors of our church. God has already placed possibilities and connections in each community that will promote our shared values of healing and liberation for the world.


Kathleen Braafladt is co-pastor of Messiah Lutheran Church in Vancouver, WA. She leads change for good by mentoring, offering pastoral internships, and growing new church plants in the Northwest.

Click here to read more insights from the 2017 Christian Leadership Forum.


Tags: Inspired Leaders, Thinking Out Loud


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