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.
BooksAlmost Christian: What the Faith of Our Teenagers is Telling the American Church
Based on the National Study of Youth and Religion—the same invaluable data as its predecessor, Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers—Kenda Creasy Dean’s compelling new book, Almost Christian, investigates why American teenagers are at once so positive about Christianity and at the same time so apathetic about genuine religious practice.
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.
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.
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.
BlogsFinding Our Way Again: The Return of the Ancient Practices (Ancient Practices Series)
Part of the Ancient Practices Series edited by Phyllis Tickle, emerging church leader McLaren gives a guide for ancient practices to help experience God in new and fresh ways.
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.
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.
BooksHoly Things for Youth Ministry: 13 Practical Sessions
Holy Things for Youth Ministry is a youth curriculum containing 13 sessions written by individuals who have extensive experience in youth ministry.
How Youth Ministry Can Change Theological Education—If We Let It
Since 1993, forty-nine theological seminaries have created opportunities for high school students to participate in on-campus High School Theology Programs (HSTPs) that invite them to engage in serious biblical and theological study. Many of the young people who take part in these programs go on to become pastoral or lay leaders in their churches. What has made these programs so successful — especially given the well-documented “crisis of faith” among young people today?
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.
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.
Lilly Youth Theology Network
Lilly Youth Theology Network is a collaborative effort of Lilly Endowment initiated and inspired Theology Programs for High School Youth located at seminaries, schools of theology, universities, and other church serving organizations across North America. Its mission is to advance the engagement of high school youth and their adult leaders in theological thinking about contemporary issues and vocational discernment. This network seeks to support youth theology programs in recruiting a cadre of theologically minded youth and adults to become committed Christian leaders in church and society.
Tags: High School Ministry
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:
Articles / WhitepapersLooking for Good Work: Western Christian High Commencement, May 19, 2015
In this May 2015 speech to those just graduating from his high school alma mater, Nick addresses the question of what constitutes good work. It is a vocational address framed for those still in high school; and it should appeal to students who need a theological/philosophical frame for pondering their choices and future service. It may be valuable for your work with those leading youth theology institutes.
VideoLove God, Love Neighbor
An open invitation for a new generation of leaders to hold the church accountable by becoming a part of it.
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.
On Being, is a public radio program about religion, spirituality and large questions of meaning in every aspect of life.
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.
BooksOrdinary Saints: An Introduction to the Christian Life
This ethicist writes about the vocation of the Christian in daily life. The book includes a study guide for groups.
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.
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.
BooksThe Purposeful Graduate: Why Colleges Must Talk to Students about Vocation
In The Purposeful Graduate, Tim Clydesdale elucidates just what a tremendous loss this is, for our youth, our universities, and our future as a society. At the same time, he shows that it doesn’t have to be this way: higher education can retain its higher cultural role, and students with a true sense of purpose—of personal, cultural, and intellectual value that cannot be measured by a wage—can be streaming out of every one of its institutions.