An Invitation to Thrive

Photo by: Jehyun Sung on Unsplash


We are living in unprecedented times. We are keenly aware of the radical shifts and upheavals in our own lives, and in the people and systems around us. Initially, change occurred out of necessity, as we reacted to the global health pandemic and racial unrest. While we are trying to reorient our views and lives, we are called to be proactive and thrive. As people of faith, thriving involves growing and adapting to become our most authentic selves in order to engage in the world for God’s purposes.

Reimagining Leadership

We need to move towards something new. People of faith must endeavor to align their unique giftedness with the needs of the world in order to creatively and faithfully address the structures and systems that no longer work today. Many organizations—from business to educational to religious to civic—are not functioning like they used to and, in some cases, are no longer serving the ends to which they were originally established. Opportunities exist for us to reimagine and lead in new ways to move our people, communities, and world toward God’s intentions. Accordingly, the Thrive Center at Fuller Seminary is making radical changes in order to catalyze a movement of human thriving for the greater good.

Given the alignment of Thrive Center’s last two decades of psychological research and the pronounced needs of our time regarding faith, mental health, loneliness and isolation, incoherent ethics and values, and fractured meaning systems, we are translating our research in order to inspire, inform, and equip leaders to enable others to thrive. For such a time as this, the Church and the broader society are called to pursue a reconsidered vision of human purpose. 

All People Can Thrive

A theologically and psychologically grounded understanding of thriving does just that. Thriving is multidimensional—personal, relational, moral, cultural, and spiritual—and it has ends beyond the self. It is both aspirational, offering a purpose towards which we live, and practical, offering a path directing how we get there.

At the Thrive Center, we offer a vision of human thriving for all persons, no matter their race, gender, abilities, or disabilities. Thriving is not a one-size-fits-all model, but deeply embraces individual and cultural distinctions and values. Our approach is unique; our work is based on psychological science, Christian theology, and philosophical wisdom traditions, and devoted to the formation of engaged citizens. We consider how the psychological science of attachment theory, mindfulness, aesthetics, virtue, purpose, spiritual development, and culture inform the future of faith traditions and spiritual practices.

We offer resources for Christian leaders to not only experience their own sense of becoming fully alive in Christ for participation in God’s Kingdom, but to support others by informing, inspiring, and equipping all people to thrive. Whatever community you serve, we believe that all diverse persons can thrive, and we are committed to articulating a broader vision of human thriving.

Change as an Opportunity to Thrive

In the Christian tradition, we believe that the gospel is an invitation to thrive—to find our purpose in God’s ongoing story of redemption and flourishing. Thriving involves a process of becoming ourselves fully alive in Christ for the world. We believe that God’s Spirit is working towards the fulfillment of all creation. Our resources will offer support and guidance towards:

  1. Becoming more attuned and aware to who God is calling each one of us to uniquely become,
  2. Developing capacities that support deep intimate and accountable relationships with others,
  3. Becoming aligned to the love and desires of God so that we may become more like Christ, and
  4. Growing in clarity of our purpose as an active role in God’s ongoing work in this world.

We view this current era of change and transition as an opportunity. At this time, God’s Spirit is working in radical ways to reorder and innovate—not necessarily on our terms, but in terms of God’s desires and vision. We hope the Thrive Center’s resources will enable you and your community to grow and discover God’s purposes for you.

Please join us. Get going. Get growing. Let’s thrive.

About the Author

Pamela Ebstyne King

Pamela Ebstyne King

Pamela Ebstyne King, PhD, is the Peter L. Benson Professor of Applied Developmental Science at the School of Psychology and Marriage and Family Therapy in Fuller Theological Seminary. Her primary academic interests are applied research at the intersection of human thriving and spiritual development. Dr. King's work combines theology, empirical research, and community engagement to further understand what contexts and settings enable all people to thrive.

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