It’s our age’s big missional question – and one Mark Lau Branson of Fuller Seminary says is at the heart of preparing Christian leaders to effectively shape faith communities.
Mark’s work, in the field of practical theology, helps ready Christians for the work on the ground that the Spirit is cultivating.
In this interview, Mark shares insights into how the Church can attend to what God is calling us to do. Enjoy these words from a dedicated scholar with a deep passion for Christ.
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Mark Lau Branson notes that fear creates a profound desire to manage. Getting beyond the apprehension and getting on with the work we’re called to do is the challenge he takes up in our interview. Here are my notes:
Major in Lectio
It’s one of the ancient practices of listening that students of Christ need to take more seriously. Mark knows that we get our marching orders from the Divine – in what ways do we take time to really listen?
Moving Beyond Predict, Manage and Control
These are the competencies of a management style that has gone out of style. Scientific rationalism no longer (if it ever) has much to say to congregational leaders whose questions are ongoing and open-ended.
Get Invited to Dinner
Part of Mark’s advice to get out of the pew and into the neighborhood – that means doing like the 70 Jesus sent in the Gospels – is having good enough street cred, and an important enough message, to be invited to elaborate.
About Mark Lau Branson
Mark Lau Branson is the Homer L. Goddard Associate Professor of the Ministry of the Laity at Fuller Seminary. Mark teaches courses in congregational leadership and community engagement. Branson was ordained at San Francisco Christian Center, an African-American Pentecostal church, and has served on the pastoral teams in United Methodist and Presbyterian churches. He has worked with several agencies active in education, community development, and community organizing, and continues to serve as a consultant and speaker. His most recent books are Churches, Cultures and Leadership: A Practical Theology of Congregations and Ethnicities and Memories, Hopes, and Conversations: Appreciative Inquiry and Congregational Change. Branson is president of the Institute for Urban Initiatives and vice-chair of One Community, a Pasadena, CA-based grassroots think tank. He is on the board of the Ekklesia Project and a consultant with The Missional Network. Branson and his family are active at First Presbyterian Church in Altadena, California.
Sponsors I Mentioned
Virginia Theological Seminary is the largest Episcopal Seminary in the U.S., forming men and women for leadership in the church. In addition to the MDiv, Anglican Studies and DMin degrees are their Masters of Arts degrees with a fous on Theological Studies, Christian Formation, Religion & Culture, and Biblical Interpretation. Check them out at vts.edu