We develop Incarnational Leaders
to do things they never thought possible, transforming vulnerable urban communities into cities of peace for all people.
We train the head, heart, and hands of urban leaders to love their city and seek its peace.
What we value
Our core values are shaped by the life of Jesus Christ. We understand the story of Jesus to be the full unveiling of God’s presence among us, the full expression of God’s saving action for all creation, and the purest revelation of what it means to be human. This story of the incarnation of Jesus calls forth and sustains a people with particular ways of life in the world.
We gather and equip gifted grassroots leaders from diverse backgrounds, giving ample space for those of us who are marginalized misfits and overlooked one-offs. From such delightfully quirky stock we are formed as missional communities profoundly centered and mutually supported in our commitment to serve among those most vulnerable in society.
We see from below. We do theology from below, reading the Bible with the excluded and damned. We practice spirituality from below, together learning to see and celebrate good news in hard places. We share a spirituality of imperfection that delights in the Spirit’s dance among awkwardness and disarray.
Cities are our classroom, parish, and playground. We recognize the global, urban and postmodern forces that shape the cityscapes in which we live and serve. We eagerly lean into the challenges and opportunities we see emerging in our urbanizing world. Our particular calling is to corners of our cities marked by poverty and violence – and neglected possibilities.
We are contemplative activists, and active contemplatives. All of our work is an attentive act of prayer, whether in the bustle of street life or in the quiet inner room of the soul. “Lord, teach us to pray.”
We recognize our own pain and the pain of others as the primary gateway of transformation. We are wounded healers; we recognize that if we do not transform our experience of pain we will transmit it. The way of the cross demands disorientation and loss on the way to renewal and life, both for individuals and communities.
We embrace asset-based approaches to personal growth and social change. We begin with God’s exuberant Yes rather than the world’s dismal No. We are continually amazed by the overlooked and neglected vitality to be tapped in unlikely contexts, and seek to employ emerging tools for unleashing such energy.
We are blessed to be peacemakers, seeking a true center that holds in a fractured, unjust, and violent world. We are committed to unmasking and unplugging from the mechanisms of violence (physical, spiritual, emotional) within ourselves, as well as in those people and places we serve. We explore and model real-world alternatives to violence – “beloved communities” of justice and embrace.
We follow the tradition of St. Francis who said, “Preach the Word always, and only when necessary use words.” Our commitment to the preached word is grounded in our deep trust that true words transform the world when spoken, acted, or even held silently in love. The world, especially the most vulnerable among us, is hungry for daring, holy and humble speech that bears witness to the reality of God’s mercy and grace.
We enjoy lyrical and poetic language as we seek the Word of God among us, retell stories of grace, and express good news. We listen for the music among us and around us. Our taste is more jazz than classical – informal, communal, conversational, coming in and from the margins to influence the center.
Amid the monumental challenges of our contexts, our worst mistake is taking ourselves too seriously. Humor is a staple of our life. We take every opportunity to celebrate. We risk; we fail; we laugh together with God at our fumblings. Wonder and curiosity take us around the next bend of our journey, and joy will carry us home.
HOW STREET PSALMS CREATES CHANGE
You can only act within the world you see.
It Starts with a Gift…
Our work with leaders in vulnerable urban communities over the last three decades has formed in us a gift: the ability to see and celebrate good news in hard places. Our gift frees leaders to see abundance where others see scarcity and joyfully translate that vision into authentic action. This gift is embodied in a suite of training resources and a global community that is calling forth cities of peace for all people.
A Suite of Training Resources
We offer a menu of training tools,
grounded in our theological framework,
including: assessments, intensives,
publications, and fellowships to put our
perspective into practice.
Training and Formation
We form leaders through long term
relationships, coaching, workshops,
courses, conferences and customized
The Urban Training Collaborative
We cultivate a global network of
ministry partners and training hubs
committed to developing
Cities Are Transformed Relationally
When leaders are formed
incarnationally and supported
by a vibrant network, they become
servant leaders who unleash the
power of relationships for good. The
result is tangible Signs of Hope that
create cities of peace for all people.
Senior Fellow for New Hub Development
Joel Van Dyke
Senior Fellow for Formation
Associate Director of Operations
Director Of Operations and Strategy
Program Metrics and Evaluation Lead
Street Psalms Senior Fellows are leaders who have dedicated their lives to developing incarnational leaders in vulnerable urban communities worldwide. They are the primary way that Street Psalms lives out its mission. Each Senior Fellow brings a particular gift and focus and serves in a context that expands the table of Street Psalms and the networks we serve.
Executive Director of the Catalyst Leadership Foundation
New Delhi, India
Director of Leadership Development at CTM Guatemala
Guatemala City, Guatemala
Founding Director Grand Rapids Center for Community Transformation
Grand Rapids, MI
Founding Director at the Center for Transforming Mission (DR)
Mario Luis Matos
Associate Professor of Theology and Culture Seattle School of Theology and Psychology
Executive Director | The Leadership Center & Director | The Institute for Pastoral and Congregational Thriving at Portland Seminary
Kristy Roberts Farber
Pastor | Mercer Island Presbyterian Church
Treasurer – Board Member
Tax Manager | Deloitte
Secretary – Board Member
Director of Photography
Staff Attorney | Support Center for Child Advocates
Chief Information Officer | Bargreen Ellingson
Executive Director & Co-Founder | YES! Foundation
Founding Director | CTM Dominican Republic
Executive Director | Church @ the Park
Mary Albert Darling
Mary teaches classes in communication and spirituality at Spring Arbor University (Spring Arbor, MI), including a course on spiritual formation and justice that took her to Guatemala for part of six summers. Mary is co-author with Tony Campolo of “The God of Intimacy and Action: Reconnecting Ancient Spiritual Practices, Evangelism, and Justice” and “Connecting Like Jesus: Practices for Healing, Teaching, and Preaching. She is a trained Enneagram instructor and Spiritual Director who has studied spiritual formation under Richard Foster and Dallas Willard.
Ben McBride is a native of San Francisco, spiritual leader and longtime activist for peace and justice. In 2014 Ben launched the Empower Initiative as a consulting group to deliver leadership development to individuals and institutions.
María Isabel Mayorga
Marisa Mayorga is an Industrial engineer, MBA, wife and mother of two. Currently, she serves as the Executive Director at Fundación Gedeón, a Guatemalan non-profit created in 2013 whose mission is to provoke a cultural change in Guatemala by studying and questioning the cultural beliefs that have traditionally guided leaders and held back efforts of development in Guatemala. The special focus of this work is aimed at business and political leaders where in the goal is to examine and challenge the paradigms, beliefs and world-views of those who hold power. Marisa is a Fellow of the Central American Leadership Initiative (CALI), and a member of the global leadership network at the Aspen Institute.
At SPU, Hairston contributes to the educational development of students, faculty, and staff in racial reconciliation, global urban leadership, and Christian community development. He is also an educator and public speaker, lecturing at SPU as well as Fuller Seminary’s Youth Institute. He also leads a profound “interpreting the city” program with Asbury Seminary and others.
In addition to his presidential leadership role, Hillis lends his expertise to LF’s global network as an LF Senior Associate. Dave is an adjunct professor for several higher Ed institutions, is frequently a guest lecturer at urban ministry and leadership seminars. He is also the author of “Cities: Playgrounds or Battlegrounds?” and host of the “City as Playground” podcast.
Dedicated to the transformation of individuals, groups, and communities, Margarita specializes in developing programs and services for those seeking to deepen their spirituality through contemplative practices and experiences. She oversees a spirituality and retreat sacred space that is open to all faith traditions, practices radical hospitality, and offers an exploration of the intersection between spirituality, justice and mercy.
Before serving with Resonate Global Mission, Huyser was a trial attorney in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Joel helped found Nehemiah Center in Nicaragua where he lived from 1996 to 2013. The story of the Nehemiah Center is told in Carol Van Klompenberg’s book, “On Mended Wings: Transforming Lives and Communities in Nicaragua.”
Danley’s work has spanned three decades with a newly developed 8 acre campus in the heart of downtown Phoenix. The Neighborhood Center is a hub where relationships with children, their families, and city-wide partners join together to make a difference for hundreds throughout the community. Neighborhood Ministries has been featured in magazines like “World,” “Christian Century,” and “Christianity Today.”
Sherman oversees the Newbigin Fellowship, a nine-month intensive training program that seeks to provide a framework for wise integration of faith, work, and life, and hosts the speaker series Conversations For the Common Good. He is currently working on his first book, an exploration of the ideas of the French philosopher and social theorist René Girard.
He has studied, lived and worked in Mexico, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Spain and the United States as well as his native England. He is a Fellow of Imitatio and author of many books including The Joy of Being Wrong, on being liked and Jesus The Forgiving Victim. He is also the co-editor of The Palgrave Handbook of Mimetic Theory and Religion. His principal claim to fame is his effort to bring the work of the French thinker, Rene Girard to the wider public.
Father Greg Boyle
Homeboy Industries is the largest gang intervention, rehabilitation, and re-entry program in the world. They employs and train former gang members in a range of social enterprises, as well as provide critical services to 15,000 men and women who walk through its doors every year seeking a better life. Father Boyle is the author of the New York Times-bestseller Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion.
Smith is a board member of the World Evangelical Alliance, Leader Formation International, and board chairman of visionSynergy. He served as a legislative assistant to two U.S. Senators in areas of foreign relations and agriculture and was on the founding team of the Center for Christian Leadership at Dallas Seminary in 1986, where he spent seven years developing spiritual formation and leadership programs.
Richard Beck (PhD) is Professor and Chair of the Department of Psychology at Abilene Christian University. During his teaching career, Richard has been honored twice as ACU Teacher of the Year. Richard has also been recognized as Honors Teacher of the Year and has won the College of Arts and Sciences Classroom Teaching award and Faith Integration award.
Outside of the classroom, Richard travels the world as a sought after speaker and an award-winning blogger and author.
Michael A. Mata
With Koreatown in Los Angeles as his base Michael for nearly four decades has designed and administered community and faith-based urban programs in both domestic and international contexts. He has integrated these experiences into his training, consulting and teaching, primarily in the areas of community transformation, leadership and community youth development.
The Street Psalms Community is a dispersed communion of Christ-centered leaders who see and celebrate good news in hard places. Enlivened by this gift, we are ordained to develop incarnational leaders according to the shape of our particular call and context. We do so as urban peacemakers and participants of Street Psalm’s mission.
We are called to nurture life-giving perspectives and practices guided by SP’s Incarnational Framework that sustains those who live and breathe good news in hard places. As witnesses of the Incarnation of Jesus, we seek peace and the underlying unity of all things – within the rich and sometimes challenging diversity of our own Community, as well as the diversity of our urban contexts. We are urban peacemakers who form and shape urban peacemakers in the power of the Incarnation. The Community is made up broadly of a network of friendships among women and men who profess to the way of life of Street Psalms:
Guatemala City, Guatemala
Guatemala City, Guatemala
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Camden, New Jersey
Montréal, Quebec, Canada
White Center, Washington
Joel Van Dyke
Montréal, Quebec, Canada
These hubs are the primary partners with whom Street Psalms collaborates to develop incarnational leaders in vulnerable urban communities. All UTC hubs are locally owned and led (with a dedicated hub director) and take a variety of forms. For example, some hubs are stand alone training organizations and other hubs are training departments embedded in a community based or city serving organization.
Each hub shares a common commitment to the Incarnational Training Framework that informs and shapes local, contextual training.
Together, training hubs form a global network of mutual support, co-creating formational opportunities for underserved grassroots leaders in vulnerable urban communities worldwide.
Street Psalms is the managing partner of the global Urban Training Collaborative (UTC), in partnership with Leadership Foundations, Resonate Global Missions, and other organizations worldwide.