At Launchpad, we have five core values that reflect who we are and who we want to partner with in the world: love, belonging, inclusion, collaboration, and heritage. All of these values reflect the Launchpad story and our ongoing awakening to our calling as progressive leaders.
When we say we value inclusion, we mean… “We believe that all people are loved children of God, inherently worthy, and belong to God’s Family just as they are. We humbly recognize the damage that has been done by the church toward people on the margins (including but not limited to women, people of color, and LGBTQ+ individuals.) In every space we create, we will advocate for, partner with, elevate, and learn from all voices.”
In other words, Black lives matter to us because they matter to God. We are committed to working with faith leaders and communities who share this value. We are committed to walking alongside them with resources, coaching, and models that will help them live into an anti-racist theology as they learn to lead their community into actions of justice and peace making.
We recognize we are a majority white organization coming from a mostly white evangelical heritage with a deeply problematic American history of being rooted and tied to racist policies and beliefs. We humbly submit ourselves as white leaders who are eager to learn from BIPOC. As we lead and grow this organization, we are open to being corrected in the moment and are willing to admit our mistakes and failures as we work to awaken to our own inherent racism. We are committed to the fight for racial justice within ourselves, our churches, and our society.
Our mission is to impact the world through launching and supporting new, inclusive faith communities. We’re proud of our partner churches, our board members, current and former coaching clients, and friends, who are boldly calling for justice within their individual communities. We exist to uplift their voices. So we encourage you to check out and learn from Launchpad’s partners and friends as they navigate how to lead their people through this challenging and important moment in history.
I realized that until we began to imagine a new way to be — until we really engaged our own creative genesis to develop a different way of being in the world — racism will always plague our country and our world. White people have experienced a failure of imagination regarding our own being, and that’s why even good people cling to pseudo-supremacy — we don’t know what to be without it, and trying to imagine it feels like self-annihilation (as Andre Henry once posted on social media).
For me, this is the faith walk. This is the part where I throw my hands up in surrender and say, “I dunno, God, but I trust I will be shown the way.” I’m not saying I know what the answer is. I’m saying that we need more white people — smarter ones than me — to be asking the question. This is the work of our hands — to release our grasp on the false construct of white supremacy, and open our hands to receive a better way of being. This is existential work, and as such, we are the only ones who can do it. The BIPOC community can lead us, guide us, teach us. But ultimately, the labor is ours, and so is the responsibility.Kerry Connelly, Launchpad Coaching Director, Author of Good* White Racist
It’s made clear to us that what defines our Christian faith is what we do (or don’t do) with our bodies – and the gaps we put them in for those treated unfairly & robbed of justice. The gaps that cause extortion, that oppress the poor and mistreat the immigrant, that oppress and withhold equal justice for all. It is these gaps where we put the full weight of our individual and collective bodies, and in this work, we find our faith. But make no mistake: IT.IS.ACTIVE.WORK. Our practices shape our faith – not our good vibes or good intentions; not our thoughts nor our inside voices. No – it is our practices. The apostle Paul knew this when writing to James. The prophet Ezekiel knew this. Martin Luther King knew this. Rabbi Heschel knew this. Frederick Douglass knew this. Rosa Parks knew this. And now a moment such as this is before us too.Check out this powerful blog post from Church Launcher and current Launchpad client, Chris Romine
You have heard it said, “Love the sinner, hate the sin.”
As a progressive church, we declare: “Love the sinner, hate the system.”
By that we mean that we recognize that the majority of injustices are not committed by “bad apples,” but by decent people, created in the image of God, who are caught up in “bad systems.”
We recognize that the main issue is not whether cops are bad. Instead we ask, “Why have we as a country decided to ask our criminal justice system to solve all our social problems of poverty, mental health, and lack of affordable housing? Why do we continue to increase budgets of police departments while cutting social services?”Sarah Ngu, Executive Director of Forefront NYC. Learn from a Launchpad partner church committed to asking good questions rather than having “right” answers.
“For more than ten years, Highlands Church has sought to answer the call to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with God. We will continue to take care of those who are harmed by unjust systems. We will insist on fairness for all people. We will remain loyal to those who have no voice. We will oppose authority when those in charge abuse their power. We will hold sacred the bodies of black and brown women and men. We will work for justice until there is true liberty for all.
This is an essential part of our work as followers of the One who came and suffered in solidarity with the oppressed and marginalized, and who gave as the most important of all the commands: to love God, love our neighbors, and love ourselves.”Rachael McClair, Co-Pastor, Highlands Church North Denver (Proud partners, supporters, and board members of Launchpad Partners and W/ Collective)
Back in March when COVID-19 hit Charlotte, we pivoted from our in person gatherings, to virtual church.
This past Sunday, we pivoted again, but this time in terms of our topics of conversation. We have touched on the topic of racial justice in our interviews with Austin Channing Brown, Andre Henry, and Ray McKinnon, but we have decided to be intentional about having more of these conversations in light of current events.
We have postponed our interviews that were scheduled for June, and are spending the next few weeks talking to people on Sunday mornings from our Watershed community, our city, and our country who are in the throes of activism and the racial justice movement. We will hear from Robyn Henderson-Espinoza, Greg and Helms Jarrell, and our own Tommy Allgood.
We feel that this work is important not only for individuals, but for us to do as a church. Jesus stood up for the oppressed and called out injustices, so should we.Watershed Charlotte, excerpt from their weekly newsletter. Check out these interviews and additional events on Watershed’s Facebook page. Many are hosted by Launchpad Board Member David Roberts.
White Power is power OVER.
White power is oppressive and dependent on control and fear.
White power is IGNORANCE and DEADLY.
Black Power, however, is power WITH!
Black power is JUSTICE.
Black power is synergetic power, revolutionary power, inclusive power, abundant power, celebratory power, and dependent on LOVE!
Thank you to all the powerful Black Voices who speak with power and conviction and call us to either GIVE UP our power or LEAN INTO our power, and ultimately acknowledge our power and to take loving action. We #ShareTheMicNow to lift up the voices of Black Power to lead us.
Bryan Stevenson, when speaking at Northern Arizona University, was asked the difference between Black Power and White Power. His response inspired this conversation.Shaleen Kendrick & Holland Fields, Co-Founders of Desert Voices: Spiritual Conversations (current coaching and consulting client with Launchpad)
“In the fifth installment of the series, I again go off script in the wake of this national moment of reckoning to talk about the ways those of us (de/re) constructing must consider the role of white supremacist culture in our faith formation and reformation.”Listen to a six-minute sermon from Church Launcher and Pastor, Tonetta Landis-Aina of Resurrection City DC, a new LGBTQ+ affirming, interdenominational, intercultural church in Washington DC (and a former Launchpad client)