United Methodist minister, seminary professor, and leadership honcho Dr. Mark Fowler says the Church is past the days of program plug-ins and into uncharted waters where not only we can experiment, but thankfully, we can pray.
Mark heads up the Institute for Transformative Leaders and Communities at Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois where he trains mainline pastors-to-be by taking chances and treating his students like teachers. You’ll be energized by Mark’s optimism and passion.
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Yep, over the last generation the ground has dramatically shifted under the Church’s feet and our wobbly recovery is being helped by new ideas and fresh endeavors. In this wide-ranging interview, Mark Fowler tells us about the bright spots he’s seeing as he helps train a new generation of church leaders. Here are my notes:
Seminarians Are Younger: Listen to Them!
20 years ago the average age of a GETS student was in the mid 40′s, today it’s around 27. The Lord is raising up a passionate, energetic new generation to carry on the work and Mark cultivates a ‘mutuality of learning’ that has him listening in the classroom almost as much as he’s speaking.
The Coffee Lab
The locals call it the Sneaky Jesus Coffee Shop – and this creative attempt at serving up coffee and taking the conversation to ‘higher grounds’ (sorry) serves as an important learning ground for div students to sort out their theology in the real world. What new ideas is your church investing in?
Take a Sabbath
Mark is adamant about the importance christians need to place on taking one day out of seven to “waste time with God.” Your members want you refreshed and plugged in to God – what’s keeping you?
About Mark Fowler
Mark A. Fowler is the Executive Director of the Institute for Transformative Leaders and Communities at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. He also holds the Murray H. Leiffer Associate Professorship in Congregational Leadership. The focus of Dr. Fowler’s work is to bring together the resources of a formative seminary with living communities of faith to develop and empower visionary, vibrant and missional leaders for the church’s future. An active parish pastor for over twenty years and a dozen years of teaching and leading at Garrett-Evangelical have informed the teaching and learning partnerships he has helped forge with congregations, Annual Conferences and church institutions world- wide.
Fowler has led workshops and lectured in South Africa, South Korea, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and the United Kingdom. He has been part of the original development team for the Plus program in partnership with the Kellogg School of Management as well as the foundational Vocational Formation and Church Leadership program for Master’s students at G-ETS. Dr. Fowler serves as a resource to the church, a widely travelled preacher and speaker and the author of the newly revised Mentoring Into Vocation.