Q Commons Austin
Covenant Presbyterian Church hosted Q Commons in October, welcoming three local presenters and many guests. The crowd descended upon the church to be part of a global conversation on hot topics in our world. The conversations were led by Q founder Gabe Lyons, who — along with several nationally-known presenters — joined us via video.
Covenant followed up to this event early this year, with the three local presenters returning to the church for longer, separate discussions. For a refresher of the fall event, see videos of the local presenters and read a recap of the event below. For questions about Q Commons, contact Jon Wasson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Leonard Moore: Stop the Mission Trips: A Challenge to White Evangelicals
Jennifer Carr Allmon: Called Together for the Common Good
Carol Kallendorf: Disrupting the Cycle of Poverty in Austin
Showing Up: Exploring Hot Topics for Community
Delivered at more than 100 locations around the world, Q Commons offered an opportunity for people to come together for one moment. “This world transforms through the power of God. It’s about relationships. We want to engage in our culture, and be the kind of people who show up,” said Q founder Gabe Lyons.
Q, an organization that seeks the renewal of all things in Jesus Christ, together with Covenant hosted the event locally, welcoming more than 150 people to our church in mid-October to discuss hot topics for our community and the world. Local and global leaders, either presenting live or via video, posed difficult questions to participants. The intended outcome: to see how the group might bring hope and leadership to the different communities in Austin.
“This process will be difficult. It will take some courage. It will open some spaces that make us feel uncomfortable,” said Covenant Associate Pastor Jon Wasson. “Every single one of us will be challenged tonight. Everyone will disagree with something – and that’s a good thing.”
The Q format is similar to a Ted Talk. Via video, Lyons said, “We created this space to actually ask questions. Each presenter has nine minutes. Then, we work in time to discuss the topics, to sit with one another and debate, and to talk about how this affects our world.”
In perhaps the most emotive presentation of the night, Dr. Leonard Moore, an American history professor at the University of Texas, addressed racism. He said many groups plan mission trips to Africa, and he asked, “How come nobody is doing a mission trip in Austin? Why is white man’s dream so infatuated with going to Africa? It’s become a staple of the young white Christian experience,” Leonard said.
Leonard called on white people to know the hard teachings of Jesus; to understand the complicated history of the destination country; and to change the terminology from mission trip to global engagement encounter. He called on participants to end spiritual gentrification. “Too many times, white Christians want to go over [on a mission trip] and do something new. We do that at the expense of the folks who are indigenous on the ground. Instead of taking a group of kids to Cape Town, why not send a check to people already doing the work?”
Carol Kallendorf, co-founder of The Dream Come True Foundation, said, “The most underserved group in poverty are the people who most want out of poverty. Most resources are directed toward a need, not an outcome.”
Kallendorf and her husband, foundation co-founder Jack Speers, started Dream Come True to disrupt poverty cycles in Austin by helping those in poverty achieve their dreams. “We would find people stuck in poverty, with tons of talent, resilience, optimism … and a dream that they had already taken huge steps to achieve on their own. We would walk side by side with them to make those dreams come true and cross the bridge from poverty to self-sufficiency.”
Other presenters via video were Christian apologist and best-selling author Dr. Ravi Zacharias, New York Times columnist Ross Doughat, Fox News liberal analyst Kristen Powers and hip-hop artist LeCrae. Locally, Jennifer Carr Allmon, executive director of the Texas Catholic Conference, talked about Payday Loans that discriminate against low-income individuals and the fight to regulate them. This story was the focus of “The Ordinance,” a film screen at Covenant this fall. Watch the film at deidox.org.