August 30, 2012 | 10:39 a.m.
By Samantha Allgood '12
Bethel Seminary graduate Adam Rao ’11 was selected as one of eight awardees to receive a $10,000 Beatitudes Fellowship from The Beatitudes Society, recognized as an entrepreneurial faith leader. Focused on building progressive Christian congregations, the yearlong fellowship will provide resources and relationships to support Rao’s individual project for a new church model and the pursuit of social justice.
Rao, pastor of teaching and strategic leadership at SafeHouse Church in Minneapolis, Minn., designed the church plant to offer “a refreshing look at how God and life interact.” He explains that “faced with the choice between a church that sounds like your playlist, but holds rigid and judgmental beliefs, and a church that is inclusive of all, but is stylistically stuck in the past, people are choosing neither. Combining progressive theology, attractional methodology, a zeal for missional living, and an attitude of always being in process, SafeHouse Church is a community uniquely designed to reach 21st century outcasts and outsiders with the hope of the gospel.”
Throughout the year, Rao will join the other fellowship recipients for four leadership training workshops in Berkeley, Calif., for evaluation and strategic planning. “Both personally and professionally, I’m hopeful that my fellowship experience will provide me with new spiritual practices and tools that I can integrate into my own life and share with others,” he says.