Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.1 Corinthians 12:27
People are at the heart of the Forum for Theological Exploration. Our legacy is rooted in the dedication of passionate educators, theologians and laity who work to cultivate the next generation of faithful, courageous leaders.
Every member of our FTE leadership team brings unique wisdom and purpose to the organization. Together with our partners, we nurture young leaders as they explore and pursue ministry as a way to change the world.
Please do not hesitate to contact the appropriate team member with questions, or to become a part of this vital community.
Dori Baker builds and maintains relationships with chaplains and campus ministers. She also provides research and co-hosts events for young adults and those who support them in their vocational exploration.
I am a spy for hope. FTE perfectly positions me for that task. My inspiration is found in young people who are passionate about the future of God’s work in the world and who are acting out lives of justice and commitment. As a pastor imbued with the curiosity and credentials of a scholar, I get to share that inspiration with others. I spend half of my time with FTE, and the rest of my time is balanced between consulting on issues related to young people and spiritual activism.
Elsie Barnhart provides leadership and support for FTE Fellows, young adults and students exploring Christian leadership, pastoral ministry and teaching.
Simply put, FTE matters and that’s why I am here. When I interviewed for my position with FTE I said, “Whatever job leads me away from being a full-time care provider for my kids would have to matter.” As I researched FTE and interviewed with the full staff, it was clear to me that they weren’t just there to do ‘a job.’ At FTE, the people truly are committed to serving in roles that help young people become future leaders, instrumental in shaping the church of the 21st Century.
Paul Bois is responsible for the talent development, operations management, human resources and infrastructure enhancements that advance the organizational mission through functional support of program development.
I asked the Lord, “What would you have me do next?” I pondered my calling after a lengthy corporate career, and the answer was FTE. This job appealed to me initially because I would get to work on the business side of an impactful organization. More importantly, it allows me to do work that is aimed at developing people — and not just any type of person; young people who are becoming leaders for the church.
Ted Boone manages data for FTE, and provides guidance on information gathering protocols and practices.
Purpose is not rooted in tasks. The thought of working at FTE was appealing to me initially because of the job and its duties. I now know that working in an organization that supports young leaders in dedicating their lives to service gives me daily satisfaction.
Kimberly R. Daniel is responsible for managing communications strategies, public relations and marketing for FTE and its efforts.
Growing up a preacher’s kid, I saw the need for young leaders to have real space to explore. I recognized the value of a context where these students could be nurtured while exploring their purpose, whether ministry-related or secular. Working at FTE gives me a sense of fulfillment in knowing that I am contributing to young adults’ discovery of their gifts, and their exploration of what they are called to do and be in the world.
Angela Giles serves as FTE's Communications Manager.
I desire to be part of an organization that makes a long-lasting, tangible impact in the lives of others. The opportunity to witness God’s love in action through the work of colleagues and young people preparing for servant leadership is an amazing gift. I’m excited to see how the next generation of faith-driven leaders will change the world.
Diva Morgan Hicks manages social media and online communications efforts for FTE.
I dream of changing the world. Growing up, I thought God was calling me to be a missionary. Not being able to discern if that was my purpose in life, I began working in the non-profit sector as a communications professional. This role at FTE gives me the opportunity to change the world by helping those who God has called to be servants, teachers and leaders in the church.
Darlene Hutto provides leadership for FTE strategic partnership initiatives.
It is exciting to know that my life’s passion and love for ministry serves a critical mass of young adults—that’s worth coming to work. FTE provides me the opportunity to be engaged in conversation and service with the larger church in a way that I could not be if I were in a specific ministry. I work with leaders of congregations and church-related organizations that support young Christian leaders, and in so doing, have the chance to impact young adults who are exploring their call.
The President of FTE, Stephen Lewis holds lead responsibility for the strategic direction of FTE.
I do what I do in hopes that my work with good colleagues will have a lasting impact on everyday people and communities across the world. The future is inevitable. Communities of faith, their leaders and the next generation are important catalysts in shaping the future. There is no viable path to the future absent of developing faithful, wise and courageous leaders now. No other national organization is like FTE in shaping the future by developing leaders on behalf of a diverse church and the academy.
Lakisha coordinates the Lilly Endowment’s coordination work with campus ministries and builds community among programs to strengthen their capacities to help young adults explore their call.
I live, play, and find meaning in the bridging of the academy and the church. There have been times when the church has let me down and I have been told that my black woman’s body doesn’t belong in the academy. However, I found hope and inspiration in community outside both institutions and in people that believed in me. FTE not only believes in our young people, but resources them, connects them, encourages them, and even dances with hope with them when the church and the academy don’t or won’t. I am beyond honored and excited to join in the dance.
Chris Tina Mason is responsible for gathering and updating organizational data for FTE.
Growing up in church, I never thought about my preacher’s education or the trials that may have come with a call to ministry. Working at FTE gives me a better understanding of the theological field and a new respect for those making sacrifices for their calling. I enjoy what I do while supporting an organization that empowers young people to make a positive impact on the world.
Jodi Porter is responsible for managing and implementing the Lilly Endowment’s coordination work with high school ministries.
I believe discerning vocation is about finding one’s most faithful voice, an exploration best done in community. And I believe it is at the nexus of church and academy where young people can cultivate the most compelling voices for Christian leadership in our world today. FTE engages exactly this kind of work; we support others - even each other - in finding our own voices. Given my special interests in theological literacy and the shape of higher education in America, I cannot imagine a more life-giving place for me to serve.
Christina Repoley leads FTE's work to build the capacity of organizations to facilitate vocational exploration and leadership development with promising young leaders in diverse Christian communities.
I have been connected to FTE for over a decade. As a seminarian, FTE supported my own discernment and connected me to a network that helped me successfully found and grow Quaker Voluntary Service. After pouring my heart and soul into supporting young adults in discernment, ministry and service for nearly 10 years in the Quaker context, I am excited to now be able to support an even wider network of young adults discerning their call in the world and finding out what makes them come alive. FTE is uniquely positioned to be a prophetic voice for both the church and the world, while supporting current and future leadership of a diverse network of young people.
Patrick B. Reyes oversees the fellowship programs for doctoral students, builds relationships and provides support for leaders of theological institutions across the country to develop future leaders for the church and the academy.
To put it simply, theological educators saved my life. At every major crossroads, a theologically trained elder was there to make a difference not just in my own life, but also in the lives of others in my community. It is humbling to do the sacred work of identifying, supporting, and placing the next generation of scholars and theological educators who are going to transform the academy, the church, and local communities.
Tamara Richards manages daily accounting functions and contributes to the financial strategy and planning for FTE.
FTE is changing the future of Christian leadership. We recognize the Christian community is diverse and thus needs leaders who reflect that diversity. After working for years in corporate America where values and diversity often hold no meaning beyond words printed in the company handbook, FTE is a breath of fresh air.
Melissa supports FTE and Lilly Endowment coordinated initiatives for campus and high school ministries.
FTE’s work is critical in this day and age. In a nation burdened by systemic oppression, we need new diverse leaders who are supported in discovering their holy vocation. In a world that is loud with its expectations and demands of us, I am grateful to be a part of FTE which challenges us to quiet those demands and live into the true life God has called us to.
Heather Wallace oversees FTE's strategic initiatives with a diverse network of church-related organizations to develop future church leaders. She also works with the team to manage and administer grant and fellowship initiatives.
After nine years in Illinois, FTE feels like coming home both geographically and vocationally. I grew up in the Southeast and moved immediately after college to the Midwest. I worked for a youth theological discernment program and then stepped out to work in the secular non-profit world. FTE is the place where my passions and my abilities meet. I’m excited to help cultivate and support young-adults taking leadership roles in the church.
Matthew Wesley Williams provides leadership, management and oversight for FTE's strategic initiatives to cultivate diverse leaders for the church and academy.
I work at FTE because a lot is at stake in our effort, and I care about it. In my life, there has been no greater influence than the church. Healthy, relevant, visionary leadership is critical for the work of the church in the world. I have seen evidence that leadership, service and scholarship are matters of life and death, especially for oppressed and vulnerable communities.
Stephanie Williams oversees the planning and execution of FTE's gatherings.
My passion is to support FTE’s vision of inspiring and building Christian communities that are developing faithful young leaders to make a difference in the world. With over 15 years of experience planning events in various industries, I’m excited to use those skills to create spaces of hospitality for faith leaders and communities.
Traci Wright provides secretarial and administrative support to the FTE President and Vice President of Administration.
I am part of an organization that provides opportunities for those discerning their vocations in life. Before I began working at FTE, I prayed for a position that would allow me to utilize my skill set so that others would benefit from my work. The answer to that prayer led me to FTE.