First Missional Theologian in Residence
As our church family grows in our mission to love the city, we continue to look for ways to partner in ministry and learn from others. How do we respond to need and still preserve the dignity of those we serve? How do we seek out relationships in our community that transform neighborhoods? How do we work with the poor instead of trying to simply react to need?
Already a partner in mission with our FaithServes team, the Polis Institute has helped with efforts to reshape ministry in a missional direction. Now, Polis Institute's founder, and church member, Phil Hissom, has set up office at the church as our Missional Theologian in Residence to contribute to the conversation in helping shape future ministry.
Dr. Case Thorp, Associate Pastor for Mission & Evangelism, sees the relationship as symbiotic. "We need a man of Phil's talents and insights around the halls, in meetings, and conversing with staff and lay leadership. He will undoubtedly help us imagine new missional models, confront institutional idols, and consider how our mission work makes more impact in today's world."
Likewise, Phil will continue to shape his research and curriculum materials based on his longtime work in First Pres' Compassion Corner, and now in deeper ways across the church's family of ministries. This non-compensated role will bring missional advocacy to leadership conversations, as well as further commit our church to meeting significant needs in the city of Orlando in strategic and relevant ways.
Phil is a fourth generation urban missionary. He seeks to dignify the culture of service. He and his wife Jennie relocated to Orlando in 2005 where they both attended Reformed Theological Seminary; they joined the First Pres family in 2011. Phil received the Master of Divinity degree in 2008 and founded the Polis Institute in 2009 to improve the overall health, or shalom, of Greater Orlando and other global cities. With his academic degree and pastoral experience, Phil will begin the ordination process in the Evangelical Presbyterian Church this fall.
What is Polis?
The Polis Institute is charitable organization founded by Phil and others to improve well-being in the city. The work of Polis focuses on two fronts: directly with the most distressed populations of the city and alongside the leadership of non-profit organizations dedicated to addressing poverty. The goal on both fronts is the same: to engage the talents of the poor in initiatives that strengthen the community in measurable ways. Polis is currently active in the Orlando metropolitan area and in South Atlanta.