Where are we?

Learn more about the Missio Madison cohort experience.


Interested in the 2021-22 cohort? Apply or contact us via the buttons below.


Find out about who is leading this experience.

MM Logo white transp.png


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, eighteen missional practioners--pastors, ministry directors, elders, interns, and non-profit leaders--have participated in Missio Madison from 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, Evangelical Lutheran, Independent Christian, Presbyterian Church (USA), Evangelical Free, Episcopal and Mennonite. 


Applications are now open for the Fall 2021-Spring 2022 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

What our Fellows are saying

Woman with Tattoos

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

Our 2020-21 Guest Faculty

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

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.

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.

Rev. Kerri Parker

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

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. 

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.


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.

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 at Benedictine University and  formerly taught in Edgewood College's Graduate program in Social Innovation & Sustainability Leadership.

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.

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.

Our 2020-21 Fellows


Carter Baldwin

After growing up across the country and the denominational landscape, Carter settled down in Madison with his wife Suzy in 2013. Seven years and three kids later, Carter serves as the Director of Youth Ministry at Christ Presbyterian Church. He spent the previous decade in various youth and music ministry roles in several denominations. He is passionate about his family, above average coffee, the Enneagram, and Marvel Cinematic Universe theories.

“We’re living through perhaps the biggest cultural shift in more than two hundred years. Missio Madison is precisely the kind of high-octane fuel the local church needs to adapt and thrive in this brave new world. I am honored to be a part of this unique group of people.”


Myunghoon Han

Han has a passion for listening to and telling the story of God. He grew up in South Korea, crossed the Pacific Ocean in 2010, and has been serving as the church planter for the Korean UMC of Madison since 2014. Now he also leads Wellspring UMC. He and his wife Young have two children, Olivia and Wesley.

justina lange.jpg

Justina Lange

Justina is the Director of Worship & Outreach at Gateway Community Church. She loves to spend time making music, reading, and watching Marvel movies with her husband Noah and dog Penny.


"Through Missio Madison, I am excited to work with others across a wide range of denominations and backgrounds to gain a broader vision of how to live missionally and care for God's people in Madison."

val sho.jpg

Valarie Showalter

Valarie is the pastor at Madison Mennonite Church. 


"A recent transplant to Madison, I’m delighted to join this year’s Missio Madison cohort to discover how God is at work in our community, to collaborate with fellow missional practitioners, and to discover where my gifts meet our community’s needs." 

melesa skoglund.jpg

Melesa Skoglund

Melesa is the Associate Rector at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, and prior to ordination worked in Milwaukee's nonprofit sector. A Texan by birth, Coloradan by upbringing, and Midwesterner by accent, she has called Wisconsin home for nearly 10 years.

"What excites me most about Missio Madison is the opportunity to learn and grow alongside other local leaders as we discern how we might join and take part in God's mission here in Madison." 


Beth Schultz Byrnes

Beth is pastor of Hope Lutheran Church in McFarland, WI. She recently led her congregation through a renewal process, and she is excited to see where the Holy Spirit is leading them in their next chapter together.

“I am excited to get outside my Lutheran bubble and learn from this wonderful cohort, and I look forward to discovering what God is up in our community.”


Adam Clausen

Adam serves as the Senior Leader of Life Center Madison, a non-denominational, multicultural church. He and his wife Rachel have two bi-racial children, Eden and Zion, ages 8 and 6.

"I am looking forward to learning from a diverse cohort and exploring how we can individually and collectively better engage and serve our local community, especially given the new epoch we are in."

doug hunt.jpg

Doug Hunt

Doug is a lay leader at Faith Community Bible Church which is located at the corner of Park and Regent Streets in Madison.  He helps to connect that church family with their neighbors, including UW Madison students and those who live in the Triangle community in the historic Greenbush district of Madison.   He also works full time at the Dane County Department of Human Services as a program specialist in the area of employment and disability. 


"I am eager to engage with the Missio Madison team and cohort as I learn more about being faithfully present to God and to our wonderfully diverse and gifted neighbors."

Screen Shot 2020-08-17 at 9.54.09 AM.png

Abigail Sawczak

After studying Pastoral Studies, Bible, and Theology at North Central University in Minneapolis, MN, Abbie moved to Madison in Fall of 2016 to launch Chi Alpha at UW - Madison. Shortly after she moved to Madison, the dreams of planting a church began. As the Lead pastor and church planter of New Culture Church and campus director of Chi Alpha at UW Madison and Edgewood college, serving both the University campus and the downtown community.


"I am hoping to learn from other leaders in our community and build deeper relationships."

adam tomlinson.jpg

Adam Tomlinson

Adam grew up in Kenosha, WI but spent the last 5 years in New Hampshire serving in a multi-site church as a Campus Pastor. Adam moved back to Wisconsin with his wife and two sons after seeing Madison, Wisconsin rise to #11 on Barna's list of post-christian cities.


"Through Missio Madison I hope to learn more about how to engage with the needs of Madison while building encouraging relationships with peers."