hack the ministry

peers . mentors . sages . redeeming the "M” word

(206) 383-9078

There's ministry, and there's The Ministry. We always knew that. 

Now we're learning it again....

October 12, 2017—a Thursday—a network of peers, mentors and sages gather to tell stories, ask questions, and connect with others who are redeeming, reclaiming, and reframing the M word.

Breaking Up :: Lovers in a Dangerous Time

Dr. Matthew A Sutton, with his old pal, John Birch (photo by Daniel Silliman)

Dr. Matthew A Sutton, with his old pal, John Birch (photo by Daniel Silliman)

UPDATE: This event is now free, thanks to the kindness of visionary sponsors!

I don't need to tell you these are dangerous times. Our Union may not face physical peril — we all hope — but as a nation, we are in a profound relational crisis.

Americans have entered into a trial separation. Could we be heading for divorce?

We've had break ups before… every generation’s got it’s own disease, and I guess the 60s is mine — civil rights, Viet Nam, Watergate, Richard Nixon’s resignation and unconditional pardon… none of that ever completely healed… I mean, we haven’t completely healed from the Great Breakup of the 1860s have we…. The nation moved back in together, but we never really patched up our differences. These things leave a mark.


Now, once again, we're in danger. Something  has died at a fundamentally personal level. Where, once, we sent our ideological champions to fight it out in the newspapers and legislatures, now we’re screaming directly at each other on social media and actively otherizing fellow citizens and neighbors.

We can hardly remember being close enough to lean on each other, as we did for about a minute following the 9/11 attacks. What was that just 17 years ago?

Now, like rabid sports fans we proudly flaunt our stereotypes – wear them like flags — Red State / Blue State; Pro Choice / Pro Life; Gay / Straight;  Black Lives Matter / All Lives Matter…. 

These days, all we have to do is identify our home team, and the conversation is essentially over — we bellow our own fight songs at top volume and pretend the other side doesn’t even belong on the field.

The satirical magazine The Onion summed it up: “Stereotypes are a real time-saver.” 

What does this have to do with Hack the Ministry?
There came a moment when my old friend Todd Hunter and I chose very different paths. I stopped attending church and Todd became an Anglican Bishop. End of story, right?

Not right. Regardless of our differences, we've continued crossing lines and working with people both inside and outside traditional church settings and, perhaps more importantly, we're both passionate about helping young followers of Jesus avoid some of the mistakes we made — what we playfully refer to as, "saving them 10 years of stupidity."

This is why Todd and I organized a Hack The Ministry Pop-Up event for the end of the week after Easter. 

Recently, we became aware of a young history professor at Washington State University, Dr. Matthew Avery Sutton — Todd found him through a book called American Apocalypse: A History of Modern Evangelicalism. 

Matthew has spent years researching and writing about the outsized role evangelical/apocalyptic teaching has played in our national politics for the past 150 years. You read that right - not just the 50 years since the rise of the Moral Majority but the past 150 years.

Todd and I think Matthew's insight into how this history of political engagement contributes to where we are in this moment is very important — important for old-timers like us, and for helping young leaders get clarity on what kind of followers-of-Jesus they want to be, what kind of leaders they want to be in the kingdom of God, and what kind of Americans they want to be as they live all that out. So we asked Matthew to come to Seattle to think together for a couple of days.

That’s why  I hope you'll make time to be part of of this event, and bring some of the young people who trust you for direction, guidance and mentoring.


Jim Henderson

p.s.  I borrowed the phrase, "lovers in a dangerous time" from the songwriter, Bruce Cockburn. He ends "Lovers" with this:

     When you're lovers in a dangerous time
     Sometimes you're made to feel as if your love's a crime
     Nothing worth having comes without some kind of fight
     Got to kick at the darkness 'til it bleeds daylight

That's what hacking the ministry is about … loving God and our neighbors enough to keep kicking the darkness ’til it bleeds daylight. People who show up in Hack the Ministry conversations and gatherings are inventing the future by hacking the best of what was with the best of what is — and we aren’t waiting for permission. 

If that sounds inviting, include yourself in.


A Hack the Ministry Pop-Up Event Feat. Dr. Matthew Avery Sutton + Bishop Todd Hunter

April 6/7, 2018 at Ballard Homestead . Seattle