Launchpad’s Story

The Launch of a Movement…

About a decade ago, pastors and faith leaders around the country were individually experiencing shifts in their theological thinking. As activists for the LGBTQIA community started making progress in their national campaign for the legal right to marry, such cultural shifts were quietly reaching the minds of those leading in conservative, white evangelical churches. Each leader and their community has their own journey and story, some of whom were documented in publications like TIME magazine

In 2014 some of these leaders began meeting in person through the mentorship of Brian McClaren and Doug Paggitt under the name O.P.E.N. (Organizing Progressive Evangelicals Network). O.P.E.N. became a network of pastors, church planters, parents, therapists, artists, and authors who were all connected through their journey of fighting for justice for their LGBTQIA siblings within the church. Some were proud parents of LGBTQIA+ kids or had queer people they loved in their lives who taught them to see their faith differently. Some found themselves fired from their jobs, kicked out of their communities, and starting new churches in their homes because of their shifting beliefs. Some were taking notes as they quietly tried to learn from the misfortunes of other leaders and shift their community’s theology with more nuance and awareness. All were united in trying to forge a new, more just and generous kind of Christianity into the world and were willing to lose friends, family, funding and support in the process of fighting for this more inclusive vision of the Gospel.

Finding A New Way…

Only six years later and many of the founding relationships from O.P.E.N. are still going strong. In 2017, O.P.E.N. rebranded as the W/ Collective. A gathering of pastors and church leaders who once found each other through justice for the LGBTQIA+ community is now evolving in the journey as this same inclusive, progressive theology teaches us to expand our fight for justice to issues of race, immigration, gender, ecology, and more. Most come from a white expression of American evangelicalism and are working to deconstruct the characteristics of white supremacy they inherited from their traditions and culture. 

The Founding of Launchpad…

Launchpad Partners was born from within these evolving and committed relationships.  

In 2017, a group of about 20 faith entrepreneurs from stable and growing communities around the country came together to imagine what it would look like to launch more loving, more inclusive, Gospel-based communities grounded in progressive theology and our shared passions for justice. With time a vision began to take shape and in 2019, under the leadership of Co-Founders Aaron Bailey, Jennifer Fisher and Colby Martin, along with a board of supportive leaders, Launchpad Partners began offering coaching, consulting, and cohort support for faith leaders discerning and actively engaged in launching new communities.

Join Us…

When you become a partner with Launchpad, you join this movement in helping to serve and shape a more generous, inclusive vision of the Gospel message, one where every person is valued and worthy of becoming a leader. By sharing your journey, asking your questions, and exploring your context with us, we all learn more about the expansive love of Christ.