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Learn more about the Missio Madison cohort experience.


Interested in the 2022-23 cohort? Apply or contact us via the buttons below.


Find out about who is leading this experience.

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Missio Madison is a cohort training experience for local missional practitioners. We exist to provide a community in which followers of Jesus can collaboratively exegete our place--Madison--and discern God's call into fresh forms of Christian community and mission.  Our vision is to cultivate a community of local ecumenical kinship, discernment and collaboration. 


The 2021-2022 Missio Madison cohort will gather monthly on the third Friday (noon-4pm) from September to April for training and conversation. Participants will also meet monthly with a team coach and other fellows to share stories and discern the Spirit's invitations. Altogether, including reading a book and regular experiments, fellows will invest 10-15 hours per month into this experience. In October and March, regular gatherings will be replaced by overnight retreats for community-building and discernment (10/25-26 and 3/14-15).


Missio Madison fellows:

  • cultivate sustaining friendships among peers in local ministry and mission

  • build relationships with coaches and context experts

  • discover fresh practices of prayer and dwelling in scripture

  • form habits of deep engagement in and reflection on Madison as a mission context

  • identify and develop skills for leading new missional initiatives

  • foster an ecclesial environment of ecumenical friendship and collaboration

Since Spring 2020, twenty-seven missional practioners--pastors, ministry directors, elders, interns, and non-profit leaders--have participated in Missio Madison from nearly as many different local churches. Fellow's churches reflect the wide range of Christian traditions in Greater Madison including non-denominational, United Methodist, Assemblies of God, United Church of Christ, Evangelical Lutheran, Independent Christian, Presbyterian Church (USA), Evangelical Free, Episcopal and Mennonite. 


Applications will open in Summer 2022 for the Fall 2022-Spring 2023 cohort.

Missio Madison is an initiative of University of Dubuque Theological Seminary and is made possible by the generous support of the Lilly Endowment.


The American church is in the midst of a period of great contextual change, and through the eyes of faith, believers affirm that God is in the midst, actively engaged with human history and by the Spirit is inviting the church to join the "new thing" that God is doing.

Christopher James

Church Planting in Post-Christian Soil


Adam Clausen

Adam is Senior Leader of Life Center--which has been called the most diverse church in Madison. He co-founded and co-leads a grassroots community organizing effort called the Southeast Community Network that consists of over 30 member agencies that serve some of the most vulnerable neighborhoods in southeast Madison.

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Sr. Lynne Smith

Sr. Lynne Smith, OSB is a member of the Benedictine Women of Holy Wisdom Monastery, whom she serves as the director of monastic ritual & formation team.

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Pastor Charles Yu

Pastor Yu is pastor of multicultural ministry and theology at Blackhawk Church and holds a Ph.D. in Hebrew and Semitics from UW-Madison.

What our Fellows are saying

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I developed more comfort with taking risks around discovering what God's already doing in our community. And I am more confident of my call to join God in the neighborhood. I'm also encouraged by the movement of the Spirit so clearly evident amongst those in our cohort from diverse denominations.

My missio experience helped me grow beyond my stereotypes about my  siblings in Christ of other traditions. Building real relationships with others is a powerful tool for bridging differences.

It's given me more confidence to reach out to staff and lay leaders at my church to invite, question and challenge things when I feel a nudge from the Spirit. Specifically, my coaching team really helped me to feel more bold in my role as a ministry leader at my church as well as in my community.

Our Team


Christopher James

Executive Director

Chris is the author of Church Planting in Post-Christian Soil (Oxford University Press, 2017), a study of church plants in Seattle, WA - one of the most progressive, technological & post-Christian cities in the nation. He is associate professor of evangelism and missional Christianity at University of Dubuque Theological Seminary and holds degrees from Boston University, Fuller Seminary & Wheaton College. Chris is the Learning Community Curator for Awaken Dane and directs the Dane Churches Project, a study underway with international partners in other post-Christian Western cities. He is an ordained Minister of Word and Sacrament in the Presbyterian Church (USA). He and his wife, Lindsay, share the joy of raising two zesty kids. 


Kayla March

Team Coach

Kayla has been leading in ministry contexts across denominational lines for the past ten years. She has a Master of Divinity from Denver Seminary and most recently served as the Associate Pastor of Spiritual Formation at Blackhawk Church in Madison. Kayla is passionate about the synergistic work of spiritual transformation—in the lives of individuals and in the institutional life of the church. With training in sociology and theology, Kayla is particularly interested in partnering with local church leaders as we ask questions of organizational health, culture-creation, collaboration, and mission. She and her husband, Jeremy, love Madison (even when it's freezing!).     


Christina Roberts

Team Coach

Christina is a church planter and co-lead pastor of foundry414 in Madison, started in 2009.  She is also a spiritual director and oblate of Holy Wisdom Monastery as well as a coach for Awaken Dane. As a certified spiritual coach, Christina has worked with multiple cohorts of church planters and church leaders across the US and Europe.  In addition to spiritual coaching, Christina leads contemplative retreats, offers spiritual direction & co-hosts the Blue Ocean World podcast.  She and her husband, Chris, live on the Northside of Madison with their three kids who keep life fun and lively. 

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Marcio Sierra

Team Coach

Marcio is Senior Pastor of Lighthouse Church. He co-leads the bi-lingual congregation with his wife, Tia. Marcio has a passion to help the Madison community prosper and for such passion, he was selected by Madison365 as one of the 48 most powerful Latinos in Wisconsin in 2014, and was awarded the recognition as the Hispanic Entrepreneur of the year in 2018. He holds an Master of Divinity, is ordained through the Apostolic Network of Global Awakening and has been commissioned as an Apostle by Global Spheres, Inc.. Marcio serves on the Boards of Collaboration Project, Care Net, and the Wisconsin Latino Chamber of Commerce. He and his wife Tia have two children.

Our 2021-22 Guest Faculty

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Rev. Dr. Alex Gee

Dr. Gee is Lead Pastor of Fountain of Life Church, president and founder of the Nehemiah Center for Urban Leadership Development and its renowned initiative, Justified Anger.. Dr. Gee has started five successful companies and initiatives and his podcast --Black Like Me--was awarded as Wisconsin's favorite podcast for 2020.

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Phil Haslinger

Phil was a journalist for The Capital Times for 26-years , serving as a reporter, city editor, editorial page editor and managing editor. He was recently inducted into the Wisconsin Journalism Hall of Fame. He retired from a second act as a UCC minister in Fitchburg but he remains very active in the community through non-profit boards and initiatives.


Rev. Kerri Parker

Rev. Parker is executive director of the Wisconsin Council of Churches and an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ.

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Jon Anderson

Jon is the Executive Director of Collaboration Project, which celebrates and accelerates collaboration between churches for the flourishing of Dane County. Prior to launching CoPro in 2019, Jon served in two large Madison churches over a period of twenty years, during which time he co-founded the Kingdom Justice Summit.


Adam Clausen

Adam is Senior Leader of Life Center - which some have called the most diverse church in Dane County. He is also the co-founder of a grassroots community organizing effort called the Southeast Community Network (SECN) that consists of over 30 member agencies that serve some of the most vulnerable neighborhoods in southeast Madison.

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Sr. Lynne Smith

Sr. Lynne is a member of the Benedictine Women at Holy Wisdom Monastery and serves the community as director of monastic ritual & formation team coordinator. Prior to joining, she served congregations for 15 years as an ordained minister in the PC(USA).

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Rev. Dr. Marcus Allen

Rev. Dr. Allen is senior pastor of Mt. Zion Baptist Church and the President of the African American Council of Churches in Madison. He holds a Doctor of Ministry and is the author of I Got Next: Ten Essential Lessons for an Effective Pastoral Transition

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Abbie Sawczak

Abbie is pastor of New Culture Church and Director of Chi Alpha Madison on the campus of UW-Madison.

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Byron Bishop

Bryon is Head of the Equal Opportunities Division of the Civil Rights Department of the City of Madison and, with his wife Cindie, cofounder of The Well Ministries.

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Stephen Feith

Stephen is Pastor of Madison Church and leader of Activate Madison. He is also author of Uprising: The Epistle of Jude.


Past Guest Faculty


Dr. Kurt Paulsen

Dr. Paulsen is professor of urban planning in the Department of Planning and Landscape Architecture at UW–Madison. In addition to academic articles, he has authored two Dane County housing needs assessments.

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Pastor Charles Yu

Pastor Yu is pastor of multicultural ministry and theology at Blackhawk Church and holds a Ph.D. in Hebrew and Semitics from UW-Madison.

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Dr. Ruben Anthony

Dr. Anthony is President and CEO at Urban League of Greater Madison and a Deacon at Mt. Zion Baptist Church. He holds a Ph.D. in urban development from UW-Milwaukee.

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Jon Dahl

Jon Dahl a senior member of the campus staff at InterVarsity where he has worked with Graduate Student and Faculty ministry for 25+ years. He is also a board member at Upper House.


Carrie Sanders

Carrie Sanders is CEO and founder of Hope Community Capital, focused on developing sustainable, equitable and thriving communities. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Values-driven Leadership  and formerly taught in Edgewood College's Graduate program in Social Innovation & Sustainability Leadership.

Our 2021-22 Fellows

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Nii Abrahams

Nii serves as the associate director of campus ministry at Pres House, a PC(USA) campus church and residential community at the University of Wisconsin - Madison.


"I moved to Madison in the middle of the pandemic, so I still don't know my new home as well as I'd like to. I'm looking forward to meeting other folks who are engaged in exciting work in the city and learning more about what God is doing here.."

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Laura Crow

Laura has worked as a molecular biologist, school board member, faith formation director, and, for the last five years, as an intentional interim pastor in five congregations in the greater Madison area spanning two different denominations. She is a member of Middleton Community United Church of Christ and has a passion for lay leadership and intergenerational ministry. 


"I am excited to learn and grow with others and to take full advantage of this liminal space with so many possibilities and choices opening up for creating partnerships and reimagining Christ’s call for the church."

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Andrew Henderson

Andrew serves as an Associate Pastor at City Church. He oversees Life Structure and Recovery ministries, helping those in the City Church family who need counseling and support. He also seeks ways that City Church can serve the community and peoples of Madison. Andrew lives in Madison with his wife Lisa and they have two children               


Sarah Karlen

Sarah is the Arts & Communications Pastor at City Church in Madison as well as the drama director/teacher at Abundant Life Christian School and the vice-chair of the Overture Center for the Performing Arts' Community Advisory Board.  Sarah has lived in the Madison area her entire life and works and ministers throughout the Madison theatre and arts community. 


"I am looking forward to learning and growing through Missio Madison in order to partner with other ministry leaders in Madison and better serve the community of Madison."

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Stephanie Avila

Stephanie serves as associate pastor at Lighthouse Church.

“Through Missio Madison, I hope to connect with other leaders who desire to be agents of change, have thoughtful conversations that lead to action within ourselves and our community, and develop meaningful relationships..”


Shannon Colwin

Shannon serves as Lead Pastor of Damascus Road Church. In the past year the church has decentralized to become a network of neighborhood-based gatherings. He and his wife Leslie have three children - Alena (15), Luci (12), and Micah (8).


"The question, “What is God doing, and how will we respond?” has become a core question for me and my community. I’m eager to join a diverse group of believers intent on asking that question together. I think God is stirring great things in the Madison area!"

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Dara Schuller-Hanson

Dara is an Associate Pastor at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church - Madison & Verona. She works in the areas of Adult Faith Formation and Verona Campus Renewal. She leads her church’s food pantry garden ministry and helps with the church’s Holy COW Food Truck. She is passionate about sharing God’s love through the connection between food and faith. She and her husband, Bjorn, have 2 children, Thor and

"As my church community looks for new ways to bring God's Word to people in our mission field, I am excited to have partners talk about this with and support from a coach as I grow in this area."


Rachel M

Rachel collaborates with mission-driven leaders to build effective and sustainable organizations through Paper Cranes Consulting. She is passionate about caring for the marginalized and serving as a catalyst for growth in churches and nonprofits. She loves to spend time with her husband Heath, two teenagers, and puppy dog Cooper. 

“Through Missio Madison, I am eager to connect with other Christ-followers across denominations and engage in conversations that give curiosity to God at work in Madison.”