I first met Ruth Padilla DeBorst in the Fall of 2010. I was fortunate to be a participant in an historic congress of global Christian leaders convened by Lausanne in Cape Town, South Africa, and Ruth was one of the Bible expositors for the week. I’ll never forget the unique insight and passion she brought as she unpacked Ephesians 2 for the more than 4,000 church leaders in attendance (you should check it out for yourself!). Having been profoundly shaped by the writing of Ruth’s father, Rene Padilla, – who has also played a role of unique significance in Lausanne’s history – hearing, learning from, and meeting Ruth was one of my favorite things about that gathering.
In the years since, I’ve had the good fortune to get to know Ruth as a theological-practitioner and as a friend, even having had the opportunity to receive her invitation to spend some time at Casa Adobe, the intentional community she and her husband James help to lead in Costa Rica. Ruth was a keynote speaker for one of our Once & Future Mission gatherings that focused on the gifts of the Reformed tradition as well as our most recent North American gathering, Awakenings: The Mission of the Spirit as the Life of the Church. Her talks at those events are among some of the most important I have ever heard. I encourage you to download them.
“Every Square Inch & Mission from the Bottom Up” (From the Young, Wrestling, and Always Reforming gathering of the Once & Future Mission Series).
“Dismembered Trinity: Truncated Gospel Living” (From the Awakenings gathering).
Along the way, Ruth introduced me to INFEMIT, an International Fellowship of Mission as Transformation, that describes themselves this way…
Called and equipped by the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we are a Gospel-centered fellowship of mission theologian-practitioners that serves local churches and other Christian communities so we together embody the Kingdom of God through transformational engagement, both locally and globally.
With regional fellowships throughout all the major regions of the world, INFEMIT represents one of the best resources in existence for connecting those who would seek to have a global perspective on theology, the Church, and God’s mission in the world.
For all these reasons, I am thrilled to announce that Ruth is joining Missio Alliance as our newest Leading Voice and that she and others connected to INFEMIT will anchor a new Writing Collective, “Global Chuch.” All articles published in the Global Church Collective will be cross-published to one our other four: Culture, Formation, Theology, or Witness.
Here’s what Ruth had to say about forging this new partnership…
‘Can anything good come out of Nazareth?’ Nathanael’s incredulity in the opening of John’s gospel is not surprising. It reveals the common human presumption that value is directly related to power, that worthwhile things emanate from places of economic, military and even religious might. Yes, as Christendom, a religious-political marriage built on these presumptions, cracks in the North Atlantic, ears are more ready to hear perspectives from the so-called margins.
As an international fellowship of theologian-practitioners from Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, the Caribbean and Latin America, INFEMIT is grateful for the opportunity to engage in conversation, through Missio Alliance, with sisters and brothers in North America. We trust that exchange will help followers of Jesus from North and South, East and West to live into the already of the rule of God in the midst of the tugs and pulls of our globalized world.
Missio’s very existence is predicated on the realities that Ruth names here – that as Christendom erodes here in the West, there is a divine opportunity for church leaders to reconsider some of our long-held assumptions about God, the nature of the Church, and faithfulness to his mission. Within this, we suggest that our most profound help will come by paying better attention to the voices and perspectives of our sisters and brothers in other parts of the world. It is to this end that we are so very excited to welcome Ruth Padilla DeBorst to our writing team and to launch the Global Church Writing Collective!Ruth Padilla Deborst is the newest @missioalliance Leading Voice! @INFEMIT to anchor Global Church Collective. Click To Tweet