May 9, 2023 / Missio Alliance

The Sights & Sounds of Awakenings 2023

Dear Awakenings 2023 Family,

You’ve been home, rooting and resting within your context for 10 days now. The sights and sounds of Awakenings 2023, ‘Disruption in the Life of the Church,’ are now stored in your memory bank. Your notes and pictures are scattered all over your phone, Bible, and journal. Perhaps you have cracked open a new book purchase and are underlining away. More crucially, we hope that you have sent a text or FaceTimed a new friend, colleague, or ministry connection that you made in Evanston in during our 48 hours together.

As our small Missio team slowly recovers from the joy (and exhaustion!) of facilitating a brave space where difficult and courageous conversations could take place in the warmth of a compassionate, safe, hospitable Kingdom community, we wanted to remind you of the following:

 God was, is, and will be at work through the short window of time where we shared a common space as a Kingdom ‘familia.’

What the Spirit of God cracked open within your spirit will come to pass.

How the Spirit of God was moving among us, in both inspiration, challenge, and conviction, will bear fruit in the season to come.

Where the Spirit of God is inviting us to press in to the cultural disruptions in our midst will be made clear.

When the Spirit of God is asking us to speak up as a prophetic voice of formation, justice, and mission for our neighbors who have been marginalized and forgotten, will be known.

What is our encouragement to you?

May you continue to walk forward in this season of disruption, believing that the Spirit of God makes all things new. 

May these sights and sounds, and words and images, take you back to our gathering, for the purpose of moving forward in the things you are called to carry.

We believe in you, and are grateful to journey with you in these days.

Tu familia en el Reino de Dios,

Missio Alliance Awakenings 2023 Team

 Soong-Chan Rah

    • “Lament is the appropriate liturgical, ecclesial, spiritual, theological response to the reality of pain, suffering, and crisis in the world.” (SCR)
    • “We need to confront evil in its proper geography. Lament provides a counter-narrative to the broken narratives within our cities.” (SCR)



Miriam Swanson

    • “The gift of new life – adding people to a family – comes with profound disruption. You can’t have all of the benefit but none of the cost. Additions to the family change the whole family. Gen Z will fundamentally change your church with their very presence. Are we prepared for this disruption in our churches?” (MS)
    • “Reaching new people and seeing new lives come in to the Kingdom will cost us dearly in the Church, as well as gift us. Are we ready to embrace this disruption in our churches?” (MS)
    • “Gen Z needs to be in the room with us. We don’t want to talk about Gen Z, but with them. Shoulder to shoulder as we sit together in the seats.” (MS)

Alan Hirsch

    • “We live in an era of multiple intersecting crises – crises of fear that are spiritual, missiological, theological, and ecclesiological in nature. But the most significant crisis we are experiencing in the Church is Christological – who is Jesus and how is he central in our midst?” (AH)
    • “We are experiencing a Christ-less Christianity. We then must ask – is what we are experiencing the Church? What we need is not gospel centrality nor Biblical centrality, but a return to Christological centrality.” (AH)
    • “Metanoia – repentance – is a reboot of your entire system. Repentance resets the ecclesiastical system to the basic systems we see in the New Testament church. This repentance is a gift to the church.” (AH)

MaryKate Morse

    • “Integrity is not fundamentally about being a good person. Integrity is about our signs matching our behaviors – our embodied behaviors in every area of our life, public and private.” (MKM)
    • “Integrity is not something we have, it is something we pursue. It is about unconscious, daily choice making. It is expressed in the body. Our body instinctively makes choices that express our loyalty, either to Christ or our own personal preferences.” (MKM)

David Swanson

    • “White supremacy provides the justifying power of a false narrative which has allowed entire  societies to be built on transgressing the 8th commandment — “Thou shall not steal.” White supremacy is a story of racial superiority constructed to justify exploitation and extraction.” (DS)
    • “Priestly disruption requires far more than what our typical racial reconciliation efforts require. To be formed as a priest of creation is to cast our lots with those who inhabit these zones of extraction. Our churches must become communities for whom exploitation is a virus that is quickly expelled by grace of love.” (DS)

Ruth Padilla DeBorst

    • “Praying for discomfort goes against the dominant values of global consumerism We should pray for discomfort because inaction is not neutral; we are complicit.” (RPD) 
    • “The good news of the gospel calls us to love people and use things, not use people and love things.” (RPD)

Carolyn Custis James

    • “God’s reputation is on the line in how we live. We are divine participants in revelation. What’s going on in God’s world is our business, and God wants us to act on God’s behalf. When someone abuses another human being, they are assaulting the very image of God within us.” (CCJ)
    • “Patriarchy is not the Bible’s message. It is the fallen cultural backdrop that sets off in the strongest relief the radical nature and potency of the Bible’s gospel message.” (CCJ)

Ted Kim

    • “Beauty needs to be attendant language that is reframing in a season of disruption.” (TK)
    • “David’s one thing instinct — to ‘gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple (Ps. 27:4) – is a profound clue as to how we are live with integrity in a deep season of chaotic disruption. Beauty is the possibility of every moment. Why? Because each of us are temples — little tents — that carry the beautiful presence of God.” (TK)

Dennis Edwards

    • “When I’m thinking of disruption, I think of opposing unhealthy and evil practices and values, whether they emerge from within the church or come from the outside.” (DE)
    • “A restful soul is disruptive to a violent, competitive, stratified world.” (DE)

Natasha Sistrunk Robinson

    • “Awakening means to arouse from slumber, becoming suddenly aware of something. The evangelical church – especially the white evangelical church – has been asleep for a long time. God wants to wake people up.” (NSR)
    • “What I learned in the black church was that discipleship and worship practices involved my whole person, my whole body in dedication and devotion to the Lord. For those in communities that have consistently experienced violence in our physical bodies, we need an embodied worship experience.” (NSR)

Lisa Rodriguez-Watson

    • “Sometimes it’s only through disruption that new life can arise.” (LRW)
    • “Rarely, if ever, does the church engage in its most faithful mission and best theological reflection in seasons of comfort, and convenience, or while occupying seats of power and dominance. Rather, the richest gifts are most often from the church occupying the disruptive places of the world and living through disorienting cultural moments.” (LRW)
    • “Our gospel proclamation must include our whole lives – our words and our deeds. Our evangelism – our bearing witness – is not just a testimony to God’s acts in Christ, but a participation in those acts. It is why we preach and protest, it is why we admonish with hymns, psalms, and spiritual songs even as we advocate for justice. Word and deed.” (LRW)