Stephen Lewis

Recent Entries


2021 Juneteenth and the Future

This week, FTE will honor Juneteenth, the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States, which has been observed by African-Americans since the late 1800s. Joining organizations that have moved toward marking it as a company holiday, FTE will celebrate Juneteenth or June 19th going forward to commemorate the ongoing struggle for racial justice and freedom.

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June 18, 2021


This is America

In 21st century America, we continue to operate under the disillusionment of the American myth—that we are the “United” States of America. Contrary to popular belief, since its founding by design, America has been a divided, not a united country.

Yesterday was a stark reminder of this fact.

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January 07, 2021


Get to know FTE’s Resource Design Team

In January, I shared that FTE underwent a redesign last year in response to a new strategic direction, a changing landscape and new questions emerging. This seems so long ago given how the two pandemics of COVID-19 and systemic racism have disrupted life as we knew it and turned our world upside down during the past five months.

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July 28, 2020


Dark Moments Call for Faithful Leaders

The events over the past several days following the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor are the result of anger, grief, and trauma from the injustices and violence Black people have endured for hundreds of years.

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June 02, 2020


Update on Summer/Fall 2020 Gatherings

Due to ongoing concerns about the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), FTE has decided to postpone all in-person gatherings scheduled for this summer and fall. This was not an easy decision to make, however, we are prioritizing the health and well-being of our event attendees, staff, and loved ones. We will continue to monitor and follow recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), and other health experts when planning future events.

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June 01, 2020


A Reason to Celebrate

Party favors, friends and family, cake and ice cream, cameras, and candles to make a wish are essential items for most birthday celebrations. What I loved most about birthdays growing up was the ritual of it all. And I looked forward to celebrating with friends and family one of the most important moments in their lives—the day they were born. Why? Because birthdays provide us an opportunity to remember and celebrate our gifts and purpose.

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April 27, 2020


Upcoming Events: FTE’s Response to COVID-19

We have been carefully monitoring the evolving Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation and are taking necessary and proactive measures to protect the health and wellbeing of everyone involved in our community. The growing concerns across our country and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), and other health experts have guided our decision to prioritize the safety of the FTE staff, event participants, partners, and stakeholders.

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March 12, 2020


Redesigning FTE Once Again

During the past three years, FTE has taken time to discern our next faithful steps in response to continuous changes in the church, academy, and broader society. We have been exploring a new strategic direction and questions necessary to advance our historic mission.

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January 22, 2020


Not Just Another New Year

With the advent of a new year, we look for the kind of leadership that will inspire us to take on new resolutions as we begin another year. But this isn’t just another new year.

This year represents another turning point in history given the looming challenges in our nation’s political, justice, educational and food systems that we can no longer ignore. 2020 marks the beginning of a new decade filled with longings stirring deep within us concerning ourselves and the world. It’s a pivotal year in need of visionary leaders—cultural imagineers, social designers, priestly activists, prophetic artists and repairers of justice—to give shape to this new moment in our history.

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January 06, 2020


What is our next most faithful step?

Members of our staff gathered on Thursday morning after the election to check in with each other. Our collective experience during this presidential election cycle and the shocking results this week were deeply upsetting for many. After allowing space to acknowledge our feelings, fears, and facts, we turned to think together about what this moment means for our shared work.

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November 11, 2016


Pentecost: A Time for Change

When was the last time you changed something that has had a lasting impact on the larger community? In light of the circumstances we find in our country and communities, how does real change, sustainable change happen?

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May 23, 2016


What’s Your New Year’s Resolution?

This is the question the advent of another year raises for many people as Christians pause to reflect on the previous year and welcome the epiphanies of God regarding the year to come.

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January 06, 2016


The Hope of Now

When we look at the world around us, between us and in us being strangled by loss and violence, it’s easy for our hearts to be shattered pieces on the ground of despair. It’s easier to fill our mouths with empty words of faith, hope and irrelevant idealism.

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December 23, 2015


A Resolution for Religion

With the advent of every year, we gain a fresh start or a new perspective on where we are, where we have been or perhaps what fills us with hope to begin. The beginning of each year provides Christians an opportunity to reflect and discover God’s epiphanies in their lives, communities of faith and through their witness in the world.

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January 13, 2015


The Church Knows Something

Sixty years ago, FTE emerged during a segregated era. Twenty days later the United States Supreme Court ruled segregation in public schools and universities unconstitutional, provoking civil unrest throughout the country.

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December 23, 2014


Lead Differently

“Here’s to the crazy ones…The ones who see things differently…People who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.” Seventeen years ago these provocative words captured the attention of the public and persuaded many to think different about Apple.

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July 14, 2014


Celebrating a Birthday or Celebrating the Birth of an Idea

It was a cool Tuesday morning. With no technology to navigate the way, they moved briskly through New York City’s morning traffic. The destination: 30 Rockefeller Plaza. With nervous energy, 12 Christian leaders, pastors and educators gathered in Room 5600 to give birth to an idea.

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April 27, 2014


Inside FTE’s New Name

Though the meaning behind the acronym has slightly changed, we will continue to go by FTE, which is the endearing term used by our friends, Fellows, partners and Alumni. The word “fund” doesn’t adequately capture the fullness of our work.

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January 03, 2014


12 Reasons to be Thankful

As this year comes to a close, we are grateful for FTE’s Alumni, friends and partners who have helped us discern FTE’s next faithful steps toward God’s unfolding future. We appreciate the many ways that you have prayed and supported FTE during this season of transition and anticipation.

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December 20, 2013


Changes to FTE’s Fellowship Programs

In my last announcement, I shared that FTE will adapt and shift from being a fellowship supporting organization to a leadership incubator.

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September 27, 2013


What Are We Now Called To Become?

Does God call organizations or only individuals? Do callings invite us to change and adapt while the world changes around us? I believe so. During this past year, FTE has been discerning what God is calling it to become in the midst of new economic realities and changes within the academy, church and society. We paused most of our fellowship activities to determine what’s needed now and how FTE is being called to cultivate a new generation of leaders for the church and academy.

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September 16, 2013


The Power of Diversity

What if I told you that diversity will be an important and coveted asset to solving problems in the future? That if the church and academy do not value or leverage diversity today they will diminish the quality of their future and relevance? Would you agree or disagree?

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June 25, 2013


Responding to New Possibilities

When was the last time you turned on your mobile device and saw that all is well and good in the world? Were you satisfied with what you saw? Were you like me and asked how is the church, with other partners, addressing big issues we face as a community, nation and world?

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April 04, 2013


What’s Next

I wrote you earlier this fall regarding FTE’s strategic planning and one-year review of the Fellowships programs, with the exception of the Volunteers Exploring Vocation (VEV) Fellowship. As we prepare for the season of Advent, I am grateful for the great work FTE has done through 2012 with young leaders, and anticipate the next steps FTE will take in 2013 as we discern how the organization might best support and cultivate diverse young people to be faithful, wise and courageous leaders for the church and the academy.

This discernment period invites us to engage in conversations – lots of conversations. FTE will spend time next year talking to partners doing complementary work, faculty of theological institutions, church leaders and FTE Alumni, like you, and others…

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November 29, 2012


Looking Forward

In 2014, FTE will celebrate its 60th anniversary. In a time of great economic uncertainty and significant shifts in theological education and the broader church, this anniversary represents an important milestone in the life of our organization. During the last six decades, FTE has given approximately 7,000 fellowships to young adults who now represent some of the most important religious voices in North America and leaders within denominational bodies, congregations and theological institutions.

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September 05, 2012


Happy New Year!

I hope that you had a wonderful holiday season and that you are preparing for an exciting new year.

What is God’s revelation in you or your organization? As God’s beloved, how will you appear to the world? On the dawn of a new year, these are two questions I am wrestling with on behalf of The Fund for Theological Education (FTE).

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December 31, 2011


Leadership Capacities Every Young Pastor Must Learn

For the last few years, I have been working with young pastors on leadership formation issues through Project Rising Sun, a pastoral leadership academy. Based on my work with these leaders, I have distilled seven key leadership capacities young pastors need to develop in order to thrive in ministry.

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September 14, 2010


Cultivating Quality Leadership for a Sustainable Church

The ability as a church to gather together and serve the community in creative ways depends on leadership. It depends on an intergenerational conversation that captures the imagination of gifted young leaders among us who feel called to serve the church. For North Carolina churches and communities—for the entire church—quality leadership is the foundation for vital and sustainable Christian institutions. It’s about thriving, not just surviving.

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December 02, 2009