I grew up in the evangelical church of N America, in Canada, Northeast United States, and the Midwest. Seen all its strengths, weathered all its problems. Left it all in disgust for a good while. But came back to my roots to work for renewal, reinvigoration and transformation for the days that lie ahead.
Over the past seventeen years, I have come to terms with my heritage – evangelicalism, the current evangelical malaise, mission, and being the Body of Christ in the new N. American cultural context. Through a many-faceted journey, God has blessed me with new conviction, an excitement for the future and a willingness to participate in whatever way He sees fit. I am encouraged especially by the missional churches springing up and the leadership that is taking place among the “younger evangelicals.”
This journey (I referred to above) included a.) doing a Ph.D at Northwestern University, b.) teaching in a large city church, c.) leading a small intentional community in the city of Chicago, and planting a missional church, Life on the Vine Christian Community in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. Several years ago now, I helped start Up\Rooted, a collaborative gathering for Chicago area church leadership engaging the post-modern context. More recently I’ve been involved in organizing the Missional Learning Commons in the Midwest. We gather once a year to encourage each other, hear stories, and share how to do church as “everyday life.” I coach missional community formation for several churches in the Christian and Missionary Alliance USA. Currently, I serve as the B.R. Lindner Chair of Evangelical Theology at Northern Seminary, Lombard, IL. where I teach culture, theology and ethics. I head up the D.Min and M.A. in Missional Church Ministry at Northern.
I occasionally serve the furthering of Christ’s Kingdom by speaking/presenting on the challenges of being Christ’s Body in the new contexts of post Christendom, postmodernity and North American consumerist culture. I seek to encourage the church to faithfulness, encourage pastors to more faithfulness, develop and encourage missional church planters, and help denominations/churches navigate the new terrains of N. American post-Christendom culture(s). From time to time, I spend weekends with churches exploring how to be God’s Mission in their locales, leading churches, pastors, and church boards through the process of understanding context and Mission.
If you’re interested, you can e-mail me (fitchest [at] gmail [dot] com). Blessings all. Thanks for reading,
These pictures can be used as promo photos. Scarry huh?
Current Speaking/Teaching Engagements 2014
Feb 15,16 Aldersgate United Methodist Church, Alexandria VA
Feb 25-27 Ecclesia Network National Gathering Chevy Chase MD
March 24-25 Minister’s Council of American Baptist Churches of Greater Indianapolis, Indiana, and Kentucky. Indianapolis IN
Apr 4-5 Slow Church Conference. Englewood Church Indianapolis.
Apr 28-30 Prairie Pastor’s Conference American Baptist 2014 Omaha NE
May 5-9 Ambrose University College/Seminary Calgary AB.
May 27-29 CRC MinistersAssociation Chicago
June 12-14 CBOQ Assembly (Canadian Baptists Ontario Quebec) Toronto ON
Aug 4-8 Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena CA.
Sept. 18-20. Anabaptist Conference. Pennsylvania.
Oct 24,25 American Baptist Churches of Maine Houghton ME
Nov 15 Anglican Church – Diocese of Niagara – Hamilton Ontario
Current Speaking/Teaching Engagements 2015
January 12-14. North Central Dist. C&MA Pastors Institute Big Sandy Camp
February 9-13 Fuller Theological Seminary
Feb 20-21, 2015 Global Impact Weekend, Metro District C&MA New Jersey
April 26-28 American Baptist Pastors of Michigan Clergy Retreat – Lansing MI
July 27-31 Regent College Vancouver Summer Programs
Cross Section Sampling of Past Speaking Engagements
- Forum for Evangelical Theology at Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary*
Eastern Mennonite University – Lecture Series 2012 The Church’s “Politic of Fullness”: How Ideology and Antagonism Work Against The Bold Witness of the Gospel *
Northeastern Seminary (Public Lectures 2012) The Radical Future of the Church in N America Rochester NY *
- Inhabit (Parish Collective) Conference 2012 Seattle *
Great Rivers American Baptist Ministers Conference 2012, Peoria IL*
- Biblical Seminary Commencement 2012, Hatfield PA*
- SENT-tralized Conference Kansas City MO 2012*
- The Conference on Christianity and Consumerism in Minneapolis
- Resonate Echo Hamilton Ontario*
- C&MA 2006 General Assembly in Edmonton
- Emergent Canada in Edmonton*
- Ekklesiaproject Conference, Chicago – “Preaching that Funds Counter- Imagination”
- Foursquare Great Lakes pastor’s conference in Minneapolis 2006
- Evolving Church Conference. 2007 Oakville, Ontario. “Justice in but not of Capitalism.”
- Grow Center for Biblical Leadership , “Postmodernity as good news for the church.”*
- C&MA Council 2007 in Orlando “Postmodernity as Good News for the Church”
- Faith and War, Three Views Conference Congregational Church of Batavia.*
- Cultivate Gathering in Hamilton Ontario.*
- The Ecclesia National Gathering” – Chevy Chase MD*
- C&MA Midwest District Conference “Church planting and Evangelism in post-Christendom Contexts”*
- C&MA Eastern PA District “Exegeting Culture” Training Seminars*
- 2008 AEF Conference Can Evangelicalism and Capitalism (Not) Get Along?*
- The Christian Theological Research Fellowship at 2008 AAR on “Contesting Evangelicalism”*
- 2009 The Evolving Church Conference Oakville Ont.
- Western Theological Seminary’s Center for Continual Learning JOURNEY*
- Nazarene Theological Seminary: Missional Communities in a Changing Culture (4 sessions)*
- National OutReach Convention San Diego California
- Through the Consuming Fire Gathering:Economic Faithfulness in an Age of Consumerism Indianapolis
- Breakforth 2010 Edmonton Alberta
- Northern Illinois District Conference Lutheran Church Missouri Synod*
- Canadian Church Planting Congress Winnipeg*
- Fresh Expressions Conference East Coast*
- Inhabit Conference 2011 – Seattle*
- Field Forum for International Workers C&MA in Limoges France*
- Ambrose University College Murray Downing Lectures Calgary AB*
- Present-tensions Conference – Toronto*
- Missio Alliance National Gathering 2013, Alexandria Va.*
- In Good Faith: Catholic Theological Union 2013. “On Religious Liberty and the Common Good”* Chicago, IL
- Bethany College Discipleship Week 2013 Saskatoon Sask*. Canada
- Brethren in Christ Pastors Conference 2013 (PA)*
- Church of the Brethren Regional Pastors Conferences (OH-IN)*