Before you tell your life what you intend to do with it, listen for what it intends to do with you. Before you tell your life what truths and values you have decided to live up to, let your life tell you what truths you embody, what values you represent.Parker J. Palmer
FTE strives to equip the next generation of leaders who are inspired to do God’s work in the world through his or her own church or academic community. With support, diverse young people can enliven their vocational pursuit, becoming intellectually and spiritually whole leaders. We provide resources created to meet the unique needs of those who are seeking their purpose, passion and call, and the partners who nurture them on their journey.
Articles / Whitepapers FeaturedSeven Insights on Leadership the World Needs Now
We know that communities everywhere need inspired leaders to shape a hopeful future. But can we actually create the conditions in which faithful, wise and courageous leaders will thrive? We believe the answer is “yes.” And doing God’s work in the world depends on it. Over 18 months in seven cities with 200 conversation partners, FTE explored three questions: What are the leadership questions you wrestle with in your context? What kinds of leaders does the world need from the church today? What attributes must these leaders have to make a difference in the world?
Articles / Whitepapers2017 Christian Leadership Forum Publication
Diverse and creative Christian leaders of many ages and traditions, from a multitude of places and points of view, gathered at the Forum to distill the essence of what it means for Christians to lead change for good. Read insights from participants from the 2017 gathering.
Tools5 Cups of Coffee
Asking questions can help us unlock our deep gladness and how we experience the world’s deep hunger. Do you know someone struggling to know what God’s call is in his or her life? Invite them to join you for a cup of coffee and share with them in each of these 5 important conversations.
BooksA Hidden Wholeness: The Journey Toward an Undivided Life
Four themes that build on Palmer’s earlier writing are explored in this book: the shape of an integral life, the meaning of community, teaching and learning for transformation, and nonviolent social change.
Articles / WhitepapersActive Faith Matters: 2015 FTE Christian Leadership Forum Reflections
Does an Active Faith Matter? This is the question explored by nearly 200 faithful leaders at the 2015 FTE Christian Leadership Forum. Over three days in Dallas, FTE hosted a diverse, intergenerational gathering of Christian leaders—seminarians, faith-based community workers and volunteers, doctoral students, leaders of theological schools, congregations and church-related organizations. This publication includes insights and reflections from several Forum participants as well as written pieces from FTE’s Stephen Lewis and Dori Baker.
BooksAs Leaven in the World: Catholic Perspectives on Faith, Vocation, and the Intellectual Life
Illuminating essays by well-known American Catholic intellectuals about the interaction of faith and work.
BooksAt This Time and In This Place: Vocation and Higher Education
Seeking to deepen current scholarly engagement with vocational exploration in both theory and practice, At This Time and In This Place champions the themes of calling and vocation as key elements of effective undergraduate education.
BooksAwakened to a Calling: Reflections on the Vocation of Ministry
Ms. Wiginton is the former VP of Ministry Programs and Planning at FTE. This is a collection of sermons on the theme of discerning a pastoral vocation.
BooksBook, Bath, Table, and Time: Christian Worship as Source and Resource for Youth Ministry
This book gives youth, youth ministers, congregational leaders, and seminary students ideas for and suggestions on how to practice the liturgical holy things of the ordo - the ancient church’s life “ordered” around its liturgical “holy things” - bath (Baptism); book (Scriptures); table (Eucharist); calendar (the prayerful patterning of time) - in order to provide the church with a faithful ecology of life that is capable of forming Christian youth who experience God’s presence, identify God rightly, and take up their baptismal vocations before God and for the world.
BooksCallings: Twenty Centuries Of Christian Wisdom On Vocation
An incredible anthology of passages about work and vocation from the greatest writers in Christian history.
The best environment in which to learn about oneself as a leader is in the practice of leadership. The Campus Ministry course is designed to give students practical experience in organizing, planning, designing, and implementing a small group curriculum in the context of peer groups. Using the ‘classroom’ of the campus and the text of Philippians, students will use peer groups to develop a small group strategy for their dorm areas.
BooksChrist At Work: Orthodox Christian Perspectives on Vocation
Theologians from Eastern and Orthodox traditions write on the topic of vocation.
BooksContemplative Youth Ministry: Practicing the Presence of Jesus (Youth Specialties)
Yaconelli is co-founder and director of Youth Ministry and Spirituality Project. This is a “how to” for creating meaningful silence and contemplative activities to recognize the presence of Jesus.
BooksCrossing the Jordan: Meditations on Vocation (Cloister Books)
This piece explores the questions of discernment and vocation through meditations on the life and vocation of Jesus.
BooksDesert Hearts, Healing Fountains: Gaining Pastoral Vocational Clarity
This books helps pastors, novice and seasoned, to find the vocational refreshment and nourishing sources to understand their pastoral call with a clarity that remains compelling and empowering throughout their ministry.
BooksDoing Girlfriend Theology: God-Talk with Young Women
Girlfriend Theology is a model of religious education that helps nurture voice and authentic spirituality in girls and women. It is one way for the spiritual hunger, passion, and curiosity of today’s adolescent girls to connect with the beliefs and practices of the generations of faithful women who came before them. It provides a healthy faith-based antidote to the dangers many girls face as they approach adulthood.
BlogsFaith and Leadership
The Faith and Leadership site produced by Duke Divinity School offers reflections, resources, sermons and blog posts.
BooksFerguson and Faith
The shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, reignited a long-smoldering movement for justice, with many St. Louis-area clergy stepping up to support the emerging young leaders of today’s Civil Rights Movement. Seminary professor Leah Gunning Francis was among the activists, and her interviews with more than two dozen faith leaders and with the new movement’s organizers take us behind the scenes of the continuing protests. Ferguson and Faith demonstrates that being called to lead a faithful life can take us to places we never expected to go, with people who never expected us to join hands with them.
BooksForgetting Ourselves on Purpose: Vocation and the Ethics of Ambition
Challenges the American cult of success, defining vocation as the proper dedication of our unique talents to meet the needs of others.
Articles / WhitepapersFTE Guide to Theological Education
Theological education is a journey of the heart, soul, mind and strength into the life of God and the healing of the world. As you read The FTE Guide to Theological Education, our hope is that you will find the information helpful as you discern your next steps in pursuing a graduate theological degree toward preparing for ministry.
Articles / WhitepapersFTE Guide to VocationCARE
The FTE guide to practices designed to help congregations become places where everyone can hear and respond to God’s call in their lives.
BooksFuture of Christian Learning, The: An Evangelical and Catholic Dialogue
Evangelicals and Roman Catholics have been responsible for the establishment of many colleges and universities in America. Until recently, however, they have taken very different approaches to the subject of education and have viewed one another’s traditions with suspicion.In this volume, Mark Noll and James Turner offer critical but appreciative reassessments of the two traditions. Noll, writing from an evangelical perspective, and Turner, from a Roman Catholic perspective, consider the respective strengths and weaknesses of each approach and what they might learn from the other. The authors then provide brief responses to each other’s essays. Thoughtful readers from both traditions will find insightful and challenging ideas regarding the importance of Christian learning and the role of faith in the modern college or university.
BooksGetting Involved with God: Rediscovering the Old Testament
This is a book about getting, and staying, involved with God-what it takes, what it costs, what it looks and feels like, and why anyone would want to do it anyway.
BooksGod’s Yes Was Louder Than My No: Rethinking the African-American Call to Ministry
An outstanding study of the call to ordained ministry among African-American clergy through a collection of writings about vocation by popular, secular authors.
BooksHoly Play: The Joyful Adventure of Unleashing Your Divine Purpose
Dr. Jones is an adjunct professor at Andover-Newton Theological School and a popular 2008 Boston VEV presenter.
CurriculumIntroduction to Peace and Justice
This course begins with reflection on “vocation” or “calling” in life. One of the Beatitudes Jesus proclaimed in His Sermon on the Mount was “Blessed are the Peacemakers.” Throughout this course we will consider the lives of various persons who have responded to a call to be a peacemaker. We will be alert to the variety of ways such a call found expression in their lives. Together we will study the vocation or “call” to nonviolence of Mahatma Gandhi and of Martin Luther King, Jr. Students will elect to study the life and writings of other peacemakers.
Articles / WhitepapersLeading Differently: 2016 FTE Christian Leadership Forum Reflections
How do we shape a world with a more hopeful future? This is the question explored by more than 200 faithful leaders at the 2016 FTE Christian Leadership Forum. Over three days in Atlanta, FTE hosted a diverse, intergenerational gathering of Christian leaders—seminarians, faith-based community workers and volunteers, doctoral students, leaders of theological schools, congregations and church-related organizations. This publication includes insights and reflections from several Forum participants as well as written pieces from FTE’s Stephen Lewis and Dori Baker.
BooksLeading Lives That Matter
Leading Lives That Matter draws together a wide range of texts—including fiction, autobiography, and philosophy—offering challenge and insight to those who are thinking about what to do with their lives. Instead of giving prescriptive advice, Mark Schwehn and Dorothy Bass approach the subject of vocation as an ongoing conversation. They include in this conversation some of the Western tradition’s best writings on human life—its meaning, purpose, and significance—ranging from ancient Greek poetry to contemporary fiction. Including Leo Tolstoy’s novella The Death of Ivan Ilych as an extended epilogue, this volume will help readers clarify and deepen how they think about their own lives.
BooksLectio Divina: Renewing the Ancient Practice of Praying the Scriptures
Pennington is a leading authority on spirituality, especially centering prayer.
CurriculumLet Your Life Speak – Social Justice Vocation Symposium
This course examines fundamental questions of Christian vocation such as the following:
Students will explore what it means to discern, accept, and fulfill one’s call to a life of Christian purpose, service, and leadership. Through exploration of contemporary social issues and service-leadership theories, critical readings and discourse, and theological reflection, students will look to Jesus Christ as a model and archetype for how to lead purposeful lives that respond to the needs of the world. The course places a special emphasis upon service to the poor and dispossessed. Moreover, students are required to engage in collaborative, service projects throughout the semester.
BooksLet Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation
This popular college text has done much to define and shape discussion about vocation among young people.
BooksListen! God Is Calling!: Luther Speaks of Vocation, Faith, and Work
Author D. Michael Bennethum presents Martin Luther’s teaching on vocation as a resource both for individual believers, helping them find deeper meaning in their ordinary daily labors; and for congregations, encouraging them to develop a climate that supports their members at work.
BooksListening for God: Contemporary Literature and the Life of Faith, Volume 1
A resource intended to help readers investigate how life and faith merge in surprising ways and places. Includes excerpts from the works of eight contemporary American authors with author profiles. The reader’s guide:
VideoLove God, Love Neighbor
An open invitation for a new generation of leaders to hold the church accountable by becoming a part of it.
BooksMaking a Life, Making a Living: Reclaiming Your Purpose and Passion in Business and Life
Drawing on interviews with fast-trackers, Albion shares how these men and women found the courage and motivation to re-create successful professional lives guided by passion.
BooksManaging As If Faith Mattered: Christian Social Principles in the Modern Organization
With foundational insights from Catholic Social Teaching, Alford and Naughton explore the questions of who one should become as a manager and what sort of organization should one build.
CurriculumMinistry: Callings and Practice
This course will introduce students to the long history of ministry in the Christian tradition, beginning with the biblical bases for “calling”. This course is designed especially for students who are interested in exploring a call to the Christian ministry in preparation for work as a pastor, chaplain, religious educator, scholar, administrator, or in other faith based professions. Through systemic theological and biblical reflection students will explore historical and contemporary spiritual practices that lead to the discernment of spiritual gifts. Within their historical and social contexts, it will present model individuals who have excelled in pursuing their ministerial vocations in the Christian heritage and identify various types of religious callings and vocations in relationship to the socio-political realities evident in the world.
BooksNurturing Different Dreams: Youth Ministry across Lines of Difference
Increasingly, adolescents and young adults in the United States are racially and socioeconomically diverse, while the teaching population remains predominantly white and middle class. Many youth ministry programs that utilize volunteer mentors recruit adults who are ill-equipped to bridge cultural differences and effectively build sustainable relationships with adolescents who come from different backgrounds than their own. College and university campus ministries that are historically white struggle to provide adequate support and mentoring for students who have traditionally not been represented in the college population. Often, mentoring relationships break down over cultural misunderstandings.
As educators who come from backgrounds marked by privilege, Katherine Turpin and Anne Carter Walker draw from their experiences in an intentionally culturally diverse youth ministry program to name the challenges and inadequacies of ministry with young people from marginalized communities. Through engaging case studies and vignettes, the authors re-examine the assumptions about youth agency, vocational development, educational practice, and mentoring.
Offering concrete guidelines and practices for working effectively across lines of difference, Nurturing Different Dreams invites readers to consider their own cultural assumptions and practices for mentoring adolescents, and assists readers in analyzing and transforming their practices of mentoring young people who come from different communities than their own.
BooksOn Our Way: Christian Practices for Living a Whole Life
Written for people in their twenties, this book has 12 chapters/authors, including a chapter by Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove (New Monasticism), who writes about Living as Community. Other chapters include God’s Call, Care for Creation, Loving Our Neighbors.
ToolsPracticing our Faith
This website is sponsored by the Valparaiso Project on the Education and Formation of People in Faith, a project whose purpose is to develop resources to help contemporary people live the Christian faith with vitality and integrity in changing times. The Project is ecumenical in orientation and appreciative of the legacies of a range of Christian traditions. We sponsor seminars, books, conferences and websites for adults and youth.
BooksPracticing Our Faith: A Way of Life for a Searching People (The Practices of Faith Series)
Dialogue among 13 theologians and educators from a variety of religious and ethnic backgrounds about applying Christian tradition and practice to everyday life.
BooksThe Barefoot Way
We each have our own faith journey replete with stories. Some stories may be funny, tragic, uplifting or heart wrenching. They help us to connect with God – and each other – as we journey together and share our experiences.
CurriculumThe Call to Service
This new service-learning course will provide an opportunity for an in-depth exploration of the connection between personal vocation and service to others. Students will be required to commit to a minimum of 2-4 hours per week of community service over the course of the semester at a site to be selected in consultation with the instructors during the first two weeks of class. In addition to readings and lectures on the spiritual and theological dimensions of the call to service and the meaning of service in the larger community, strong emphasis will be placed on personal reflection and in-class discussion of week-to-week personal encounters and experiences at the various sites where students will be providing service. Students will be expected to complete weekly writing assignments, and to write two more in-depth papers that bring together scholarly and personal reflection on questions and issues related to discernment of their own calling to a life of service.
BooksThe Call: Finding and Fulfilling the Central Purpose of Your Life
For Guiness, far bigger than jobs and accomplishments and higher than ideas of self-fulfillment, calling does more than give purpose and meaning to lives—it completes God’s plan.
BooksThe Marketplace Annotated Bibliography: A Christian Guide to Books on Work, Business and Vocation
The largest and most complete resource for putting work in Christian perspective, with annotated reviews of hundreds of books and a historical survey.
BooksThe Meaning of Vocation
This compact compendium collects the Pope’s remarks on God’s call, clarifying how and when God calls, and speaking to parents about their children’s vocations.