Mark Scandrette actually takes Jesus seriously. He believes that Christ’s words are meant to be lived out in the everyday experiences of life. As such, he is a perfect fit for Praxis Gathering 2016: Shaping Disciples for Movement.
At Praxis Gathering 2016 we are gathering to recover the act and art of discipleship, and we want you to join us.
This unique annual church planting experience combines real-time practice with rich theology and deep reflection. Participants of all backgrounds, denominations and ecclesial styles will join together to plummet deep into the hands-on work of shaping disciples in their neighborhoods and networks. Join the V3 Movement, leading missiologists and hundreds of passionate practitioners like yourself this September to be equipped, nourished and renewed for a life of intentional, place-based discipleship.
Meet Mark Scandrette
Mark’s term The Jesus Dojo made its way into the wider Christian conversation, inspiring people to think about what it means to go beyond “doing church” to becoming communities of disciple, who practice the way of Jesus. Actually “practice.”
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Mark has long been a champion of shifting Christianity from the head to the hands. At the same time, he has valued the academic aspect of faith, serving as adjunct faculty at both Fuller Theological Seminary and Pittsburgh Theological seminary, so his practical approach has been neither a baseless emotionalism nor a thin, passion-fueled advocacy. Instead, Mark brings grounded, practical theology and missiology to bear; this has made a huge difference not only in San Francisco’s Mission District where Mark serves, but also in the greater conversation that is being had by leading movemental practitioners.
An in-demand speaker, Mark presents at churches, universities, conferences and missional organizations around the world, including places such as Canada, Mexico, South America and across the pond in Europe. His public speaking often includes such key topics as “the gospel of Jesus, kingdom theology, social justice, holistic spiritual formation, personal integration, simplicity, creativity, family spirituality and cross-cultural engagement” (courtesy of the official Mark Scandrette webpage).
Scandrette also designs and facilitates retreats that better help participants align the work of the church with the words of its Christ. His mixture of teaching and activism fleshes out what the book of James says about the nature of true faith. His formal studies in applied psychology while at Bemidji State University have combined with his postgraduate studies in theology at Bethel Seminary, leading to a keen understanding of how social dynamics and social structures can inhibit human flourishing in society. Furthermore, his extensive history of training church planters and leaders—Scandrette currently serves on the Board of Emerging Ministries, a non-profit that relationally develops and resources leaders—has given him the experience to see how lived theology can be a critical part of the restoration of families, neighborhoods and the very structures that form societies.
Mark has a record of working across numerous faith traditions to foster a consensus of shared, place-based concerns—he even “organized a series of National conferences and events for faith leaders navigating emerging cultural shifts” and has “consulted leaders from various groups including The Mennonite Church U.S.A., The Church of Christ, The Episcopal Village, Y.W.A.M., Campus Crusade for Christ, Intervarsity and churches including Menlo Park Presbyterian” (official Mark Scandrette webpage).
A shining example of Scandrette’s living theology is San Francisco’s ReIMAGINE: A Center for Life Integration, of which Mark is the founding director.
“We’re a group of people asking one another, ‘What does it mean to live life in the way of Jesus in a complex, urban environment?’” says Scandrette.
Imagine what life and our world might look like if we could learn to love our enemies, forgive those who have hurt us, stop worrying and sold our possessions to give to the poor. Jesus Christ lived and taught a revolutionary way of love, a whole new way of being, that we can embrace by learning to put his teachings into practice. Jesus called this the reality of the kingdom of God and invited his followers into a renewed sense of identity, purpose, security, community and peace. Anger, fear, worry, anxiety, striving, compulsive behavior and difficulties in relationships are each signs that we have not yet fully come to experience the greater wholeness of life under God’s care. We are challenged to find a way to close the gap between how we want to live, and how we actually live. Transformation comes to us as a grace and gift from our Creator. Yet there are practical steps we can take to cooperate with the healing work that God desires for our lives and for our world. In the Christian tradition, spiritual disciplines and shared spiritual formation practices have provided a reliable path to experiencing the transformation that makes us fully alive to the way of love.
From the Inkwell
Courtesy of Marc’s website
Scandrette’s first book, SOUL GRAFFITI (Jossey-Bass 2007), received critical praise. Religion analyst and compiler Phyllis Tickle wrote, “Soul Graffiti is not so much a book as it is an encounter–a deadly serious encounter–with a Christianity that is urban, American, un-institutionalized, and now. If you truly like your own Christian walk just the way it is, you definitely should not read this book.” Tony Campolo, professor of sociology, Eastern University said, “Mark Scandrette guides us in this beautifully written and brilliantly illustrated book along a path towards actualized spirituality in a postmodern world. The book provides new avenues to ancient truths.”
Scandrette’s second book, Practicing the Way of Jesus (Intervarsity Press 2011), is an intensely practical guide for group spiritual formation and argues for the importance of shared spiritual practices and the signifiance of risk-taking action and creativity in the life of discipleship. Of this book, James Bryan Smith wrote, “In an age when we talk more about spirituality than we practice it, this book provides something we urgently need: a practice based approach to Spiritual Formation.” And Shane Claiborne provided this endorsement, “I am convinced that God’s good news spreads best, not through force, but through fascination. Mark Scandrette is fascinating. He lives with imagination and beauty. He is a poet and artist. But he is not just about creative thinking; he is about creative living. This book is an invitation to love creatively and recklessly, so that we might do something to interrupt the status quo, surprise the world with God’s goodness and fascinate the world with grace.”
Mark played a part in the creation of CONSP!RE Magazine. In addition, he has written for such publications as Leadership Journal and Conversations Journal, and you may have come across his work in The Shaping of Things to Come by Alan Hirsch and Michael Frost, Emerging Churches by Eddie Gibbs and Ryan Bolger, in Relevant Media’s I.AM.RELEVANT or Tom Sine’s The New Conspirators.
Don’t Miss Mark Scandrette
We are extremely privileged and excited to have Mark share insights about discipleship dynamics in family life and in personal transformation this year. You won’t want to miss Mark. You won’t want to miss Praxis.
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