Composting Religion with Jen Bailey, Locke Innovative Leader Award Winner


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Co-hosts Lisa Greenwood and Casper ter Kuile talk with Rev. Jen Bailey, 2021 Locke Innovative Leader Award Winner, about her womanist-led Faith Matters Network, whose mission is to catalyze personal and social change by equipping community organizers, faith leaders, and activists with resources for connection, spiritual sustainability, and accompaniment. Jen, founder and executive director, discusses how the organization has focused on “healing the healers” of transformative social movements through a variety of programs.

Jen discusses the role partnerships play in innovation. She also explains the term “composting religion” as taking the best of the old to create something new that meets the needs of today. This conversation is rich with insight about leading a start-up organization whose work at the intersection of spiritual tradition, social healing and social justice requires continual discernment and collaboration.


  • “I think what unites us is the sense that what we’re doing is a continuation of a story, not a brand new story we’re starting ourselves.” -Jen Bailey [23:08]
  • “But the reality is we exist in a space that is right there in the inbetween. My worldview is inherently influenced by what I would call the spiritual, even as I’m operating in ‘secular’ spaces. And I think what is also true for me is that I am most impactful in some of those non-explicitly religious spaces when I’m authentic to who I am.” -Jen Bailey [29:26]


  • [00:00] Intro
  • [01:35] Meet Jen Bailey
  • [03:54] Significant moments that has shaped Jen
  • [11:47] Her work with Faith Matters Network
  • [15:57] People’s Supper
  • [22:27] The continuation of a story
  • [27:16] When sacred and secular intersect
  • [32:45] Three rapid fire questions
  • [36:29] A blessing
  • [37:31] Outro


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For information about our co-host Casper ter Kuile, visit his website: and check out the work of Sacred Design Lab at

For information about Faith Matters Network, where Jen Bailey serves as Executive Director, click here.

Find Faith Matters Network on Instagram and Facebook @faithmattersnetwork or follow them on Twitter @faithmattersnet

Follow Jen Bailey on Instagram and Twitter @revjenbailey

This season features Wesleyan Investive’s 2021 Tom Locke Innovative Award winners. The award honors spiritual entrepreneurs who have envisioned a broader mission field and have taken risks to make their God-sized dreams a reality. For more information about the award and the recipients, visit

“God Has Work for Us To Do” music and lyrics by Mark Miller. Visit Mark’s website at or find him on YouTube at

This podcast is brought to you by the Leadership Ministry team at TMF and Wesleyan Investive. Leadership Ministry connects diverse, high capacity leaders in conversations and environments that create a network of courage, learning, and innovation in order to help the church lean into its God-appointed mission. For more information and to support Leadership Ministry, visit

39 episodes