The “unofficial” Todd Hunter Journey

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Todd Hunter has in some “ordinary” and yet “not so ordinary” way been very significant in my own journey as a Christian, a church planter, a pastor, a human … etc. I’ve been following his thoughts, reflections and developments pretty closely from this side of the earth. Todd’s willingness to RISK (I remember John Wimber spelt Faith that way) and not willing to get stuck in a “box” still gets me off my “status quo” seat! (Excerpts of his thoughts and comments on him by others in BOLD)

I was intrigued by his resignation as the National Director of Vineyard USA and the path he sought to pursue.

In stating his reasons for the change, Hunter (age 44) said, “If someone is to be an authentic follower of Jesus and pursue the ‘pearl of great price’, they may be called upon to risk it all. My dream is to be a church planting missionary to postmodern generations.”

Following his blog was always a delight the opportunity for some of us to enter his head and heart explorations. I really felt sad when there was no more blog activity from him.

Of course, that didn’t mean there was nothing going on … through him I got to know Allelon and get a chance to interact with the content there. Again thanks to the internet, miles away from most of the people there. It’s great to get to know Mark Priddy through Todd and Allelon.

the people I most admire and respect in life are not focused on “church” as a place, event or thing. They just quietly participate in non-descript churches and submit themselves to be used by God, to be ambassadors of his Kingdom in those communities of faith…as everywhere else in there their life: no dualisms. That attitude—whole life self-surrender—is rooted in a different kind of life: life from above, eternal life. It is what we must pursue for our selves and those we serve. It will make most models work.

But again this does not mean we abandon our pursuit of better models. It means that models are second; spiritual transformation is first, in community, for the sake of the world.

When he was named the new Alpha president for USA, I was indeed surprised. It was good to have a few email conversations to understand more.

Much of my spiritual history has been rooted in the practice and study of evangelism. My motive for exploring the emerging church scene closely was at least in part an attempt to see if they/we had an alternate answer for what many of us perceive as modernity’s artificial and non human ways of going about it. And, if you could get a bunch of us emerging church types alone and honest, we would have to admit that we ourselves are not doing so well at talking with the lost either.

Thanks to Eric Keck … we get a more insider update on his journey.

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Stephen Shields provides us some links discussing Todd’s acceptance of this appointment, here and there.

Here’s the “official Todd Hunter press release” supplied by Eric.

Accepting this appointment, Rev. Hunter said, “To my knowledge, Alpha is the most holistic approach to evangelization available to the local churches. While exploring sin, the cross, and resurrection, it also introduces seekers to life in the Kingdom and the Spirit — in a way that leads naturally to discipleship to Jesus and love for neighbor. The Alpha course, being communal, relational, and full of dialog, is a great tool for reaching postmodern and post-Christian people.”

Some very kind words from people who’ve also impacted me in some way throught their writings as well as ministry.

Theologian Dallas Willard, commented, “Todd Hunter is a uniquely qualified frontline leader for the kingdom of Christ in the world we now live in and must live in tomorrow. He has the solid substance of mainline creedal Christianity and the character and power of one who moves in the Holy Spirit.”

Bill Hybels, Senior Pastor of Willow Creek Community Church, said, “I’ve known Todd Hunter for over a decade. I can only imagine how many seekers will wind up in the kingdom under his leadership of Alpha.”

Author Richard Foster, founder of Renovare, said, “I am thrilled at the appointment of Mr. Todd Hunter as the national director of Alpha USA. Todd’s deep Christian commitment, vast experience among the emerging churches, and visionary application of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to post-modern culture will serve him well in this new post. Alpha’s highly successful missional work will be extended all the more under his able leadership.”

Author Brian McLaren, founder of Emergent Village, commented: “Todd Hunter is one of the finest Christian leaders I’ve met – sincere in faith, sensitive to the changing culture, honest, approachable, intellectually vigorous, and sensitive as a human being. His appointment is good news for the church at large in the U.S. and for our changing culture.”

Author Leonard Sweet, Professor of Evangelism at Drew University, said, “This is great news for the church. He’s one of the most creative leaders in the church today and one that can build on Alpha’s success and take it to higher and deeper dimensions of service. He’s a next-level thinker.”

Jason Clark now has taken an initiative to set up a “you can question Todd Hunter” interview so we can hear from Todd personally.

The journey has not ended … it’s merely moved to another phase …

thanks for including us in someway to be your companions, Todd. In fact, during a crucial time when you became my companion especially during those “long distance” phone-calls – it really made a difference for me. Have a great adventure with Alpha … and more so being a Catalyst for the work of HIS Kingdom!

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4 Responses to The “unofficial” Todd Hunter Journey

  1. Steve Burnhope says:

    Well, that’s an effectively stated, starry-eyed view, isn’t it? Wholly positive.

  2. Jason Clark says:

    that is a great and comprehensive post Sivin 🙂 Thanks, Jason

  3. Todd Hunter says:

    Sivin,

    Thank you for taking the time to put your post together. I feel amazed and loved that anyone actually cares about my journey. I my pursuit of ordinariness and humility I often forget that there is a public part of me that people “watch”.

    The key thing for me regarding the emerging church scene is that people reaize I have not left it; I have just brought other streams back into my life; so it is an addition, not a subtraction. In this I am following the lead of emerging leaders like Brian, Len and Al Roxborough and others who love and try to serve the whole church.

    But, as I say above, I do hope to be “a spy” on behalf of the emerging church scene to see if we can find some reconstuctive, postivie alternatives to the evangelistic approaches we have rightly rejected. I know some people put Alpha in that catagory, but most–I know there are exceptions–do so without much info, experience or research.

    In fact, Stephen Shields and I are working on putting together some focus groups of emerging leaders to help us think through how Alpha could better help the emerging church scene. We ivite anyone with a open mind–one doesn’t have to be a fan of Alpha, just courious–on the matter to volunteer. We will be getting details out soon.

    Thanks for your love and concern: I SINCERELY appreciate it. Please pass this on to others who would want to know.

    Much love to you all,

    Todd

  4. Steve K. says:

    Thank you so much, Sivin. This post has really been helpful for me to understand Todd’s journey a bit more, as well as your own.

    Shalom!

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