Discipleship is a lost love in our culture of “Go Big or Go Home.”
At Praxis Gathering 2016, however, we will gather to recover the act and art of discipleship. 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 AJ Swoboda
A prerequisite for every Praxis presenter is a life that accompanies the instruction and insights she or he shares with us. Great communicators are in abundance, but the best practices and tools come from the bumps and bruises of working them out at the street level.
Pastor, church planter, author, speaker, and social networker/entrepreneur AJ Swoboda and his wife, Quinn, along with their son, Elliot, have been walking humbly with God in Portland, Oregon, doing the placed-based church thing messily, which is to say AJ practices what he teaches.
Faith is Messy (courtesy of theDove TV)
“Conversion takes a second, but salvation takes a lifetime—that the moment of belief and understanding is sort of this momentary, big-bang event, but then you have years and years and years of working that stuff out. Being a Christian is like 12-Step work from that big-bang moment when God creates faith in our hearts.” ~AJ Swoboda
AJ serves as pastor of Theophilus in Portland and served as campus pastor at the University of Oregon prior. In his pastoral role, he has focused on making authentic relationships a centerpiece of the church’s missiology, drawing from the humility that is requisite for all loving relationships.
AJ on the Relational Humility of Being Church
Professor Swoboda received his Doctorate from the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom, where his thesis explored the relationship between the Holy Spirit and ecology. He is also a member of the American Academy of Religion and the Society for Pentecostal Studies. Additionally, Swoboda is the founding director of Blessed Earth Northwest, an organization focusing on creation-care.
Discipleship and Forming a Rhythm of Life
“Sabbath is a moment in our week where we recenter our lives, and we recognize we don’t make money, we receive God’s blessings.” These words from AJ Swoboda illustrate just one of the key reasons we are excited to hear from and work with him as fellow practitioners at this year’s Praxis Gathering, namely, AJ will be working with participants on the topic Discipleship and Forming a Rhythm of Life. As church planters, pastors, church leaders, community leaders, family members, parents, students, mission-minded employees, entrepreneurs, you name it, living this thing called life can easily stretch us to elastic limit. We long for not only the message of rest and restorative rhythms, but also for the micro practices we can participate in while together and build upon post conference.
AJ on One of the Key Rhythms of Life
“When you come to Jesus you’ll find rest, and out of rest you can make all the best decisions.” ~AJ Swoboda
[Tweet “”Obedience rarely is convenient.” @mrajswoboda”]
We think AJ must write books in his sleep. How else can a young man find the time to pastor, teach, be a husband and father, and engage his community at such meaningful levels as does AJ? The problem with our theory, though, is that his books are far too cogent and witty to be the stuff of a mere dreamer; the practicality makes too much sense! Writing on a battery of topics from the vagaries of personal faith to seminary treatises on the role of the Holy Spirit in ecology, AJ proves to be a wonderful, engaging communicator so in love with each of his audiences that a reader’s connection becomes palpable.
The Dusty Ones: Why Wandering Deepens Your Faith
A Glorious Dark: Finding Hope in the Tension between Belief and Experience
Messy: God Likes It That Way
Tongues and Trees: Toward a Pentecostal Ecological Theology
Introducing Evangelical Ecotheology: Foundations in Scripture, Theology, History, and Praxis (coauthor)
Scripting Pentecost: A Study of Pentecostals, Worship and Liturgy (Explorations in Practical, Pastoral and Empirical Theology) (editor)
See You in September
As you’ve seen by now, AJ has a lot to share. Come explore the relationship among discipleship, leadership, and the rhythms of life this September. In the meantime, get to know even more about AJ and his church at these following stops along the info superhighway:
AJ on Twitter
AJ’s website (lot’s of great videos!)
AJ’s church, Theophilus
Theophilus on Facebook
Meet AJ at Praxis Gathering 2016!
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