The Adese Fellowship Curriculum
Through three three-day retreats, augmented by videoconferencing, site visits and small group work in between, participants move through three stages — discern, design and disciple — gaining clarity about themselves and their venture, prototyping and testing their concept, and building a team. Fellows draw upon the experience of mentors and peers while identifying and maximizing the resources of their communities.
The program is organized around three pillars: theology, practice and community.
Theology. The progressive church has much to say about the prophetic work of critique or speaking truth to power. Yet little is said about the creative dimension of prophetic faith — the building, organizing and enterprising toward a more just world. Outside the church and beyond its conventional critique of business is a growing movement that believes business can be a force for justice. Adese Fellows want to comprehend and catch up with this movement of the Spirit. So they engage in theological reflection, drawing upon a variety of materials, including scripture, tradition and history as well as narratives of people who enterprise on the margins.
Practice. Entrepreneurship begins with a different way of seeing: noticing possibility instead of just problems; paying attention to resources already present; recognizing what’s already moving in the direction we want to go. This perspective takes practice. It requires the cultivation of habits that change sight from the dominant way of seeing, which is a totalizing and dehumanizing worldview of deficits, scarcity and competition, into a vision of God’s economy, where there is plenty for all. Adese Fellows engage in spiritual practices, including meditation, discernment and testimony; they also learn organizational practices, including appreciative inquiry, asset mapping, and strength-based leadership and culture formation.
Community. The entrepreneurial journey is difficult – because it’s hard to see this alternative way and because one often travels without maps, mentors or institutional money. So the journey can be lonely, and depressing. Research says one out of three entrepreneurs suffers from depression. For this reason, entrepreneurs need community to remind them they are not alone. Adese Fellows recognize how vital community is to grounding them in the countercultural theology, calling them to practice, and holding them accountable. Community, then, is the program's mode of learning; it is also the model for whatever enterprise each participant pursues.
The Adese Fellowship Faculty & Staff
The Adese faculty is made up of entrepreneurs, theologians and executive coaches as well as leaders skilled in the legal, financial and HR issues of startups.