Why aren’t there more pro-queer, pro-feminist, pro-justice and anti-racist churches in the world?
In 2017, it was this question at the heart of what brought a group of about 20 church leaders from around the country together to talk and pray. Most of us were exiles from our non-mainline/evangelical background who had been deconstructing the faith of our upbringing. Some had started churches or organizations like this already. And we knew there was interest, in fact even longing, for these kinds of spaces from more people around the world.
But there were also many obstacles. Intimidating leaps required along the way. No easy map to follow. It could be a very hard journey… especially to go on alone.
Out of those honest and thoughtful conversations, in 2019 Launchpad Partners was born, becoming the only non-mainline church “planting” (and yes, there are all kinds of issues with that word) organization in the country that’s loudly and clearly LGBTQ+ inclusive.
But this isn’t our entire story.
Partnership isn’t just in our name, it’s in our DNA.
Under the direction of co-founders Jen Fisher and Aaron Bailey, Launchpad Partners began by offering coaching, consulting, and cohort support for faith leaders discerning and actively engaged in launching new worshipping communities.
Throughout the pandemic, we’ve expanded to offer our support for those starting other inclusive faith projects – everything from podcasts to entirely online churches – partnering with them to explore what shapes and forms faith and community could take… and really mean… in this new era.
Partnership is key to us. A co-creative God is part of our beliefs. Our approach is non-hierarchical vs. “we have all the answers.” What that means is when you come to us for help and guidance we aren’t secretly trying to fit you into one model. We truly want our relationship to be a mutual partnership in which we learn and grow from each other in beautiful and amazing ways.
A former tech entrepreneur, he left his successful career and become the founding executive pastor of Left Hand Church. Aaron was also one of the founders of W/Collective, a network of people exploring and leading in theologically inclusive spaces. As a gay Christian, Aaron’s deep hope is that through his work with Launchpad he can help bring a more inclusive and generous expression of God to our world.
With a background in the arts and non-profit leadership, Jen was one of the founders of the first fully inclusive and progressive evangelical churches in the country – Forefront Church Brooklyn. Jen’s passion is mentoring women, LGBTQ+ people and anyone else who’s been told they don’t fit, into becoming the leaders they were created to be. After earning her M.Div in 2020, she’s currently launching a church in Cincinnati.