The Western Church is in crisis, particularly among the next generation. Among the many Christian streams facing their own versions of this crisis, decades of politicization have led to a situation where many Americans inside and outside the evangelical community identify evangelical faith more with a political platform than with a commitment to doing justice, loving mercy, and walking humbly with God. Secular skepticism has been understandably fueled by scandals of money, sex, and power that seem no different from the world’s—in fact worse because of their apparent religious hypocrisy. Due to these and other factors, The Great Opportunity report suggests that over 40 million young people raised in Christian homes could walk away from a life with Jesus by 2050.
We see myriad possibilities for innovation, including cross-cultural economic and civic engagement in local communities, rebalancing the economics of church planting and seminary training, developing measurement and evaluation for discipleship and spiritual growth, youth and academic formation, and continued advancement in redemptive applications of sound faith and work theology. One especially fruitful opportunity is building technology that meets the next generation where they “are”—in the digital and virtual maelstrom—and ushers them into meaningful, embodied Christian community.
In today’s commercially-driven world people are more likely to be seen and referred to as 'consumers' than anything else. Instead of being met with resistance, this shift has often meant that individuals have formed their identity through a composite of brands, and product purchasing can be guided more by the desire to make a statement about one’s identity and values than strict utility. As a result, the lines between social movement, capitalism, and community are increasingly blurry (see: Nike, Whole Foods, and Patagonia).
Given this reality (which is with us for both better and worse), we’d like to support entrepreneurs with a vision for building brands with a counter-culturally virtuous and optimistic view of the world, spreading hope and beauty, eliminating stigma, and most fundamentally, redirecting our identity away from materialistic consumption and toward lasting contentment.