Chris LaTondresse leverages his talents as a communicator, connector, and strategist to help world-changing organizations—from Minnesota to the Mississippi Delta, from East Africa to Eastern Europe to the Middle East—connect the dots between youth culture, faith-inspired activism, and advancing the common good.
LaTondresse currently serves as senior advisor at USAID’s Center for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, and is the founder of Recovering Evangelical, a movement of Millennial-generation Christians (book forthcoming from Thomas Nelson Publishers in 2013). Before this, he served as the special assistant to Jim Wallis, CEO of Sojourners, followed by a tenure as the U.S. director of Questscope—based in Amman, Jordan—working alongside thousands of Arab youth across the Middle East at a time of massive social upheaval and political unrest.
Raised in the former Soviet Union as the son of American missionary parents, LaTondresse spent his college years working in politics for a Democratic member of Congress and for a Republican governor—providing him with a global outlook and a commitment to the idea that God is not a Republican or a Democrat.
LaTondresse has been interviewed by CNN, ABC, and Fox News. He frequently blogs at Huffington Post, CNN Belief Blog, and the God’s Politics blog, and his work has also appeared in RELEVANT magazine.
Articles By This Author
Faith, Hunger, Politics, Chicken & Waffles: A Conversation Between Chris LaTondresse and Adam Phillips
Adam Nicholas Phillips: Chris, tell us a little bit about yourself.
Christopher LaTondresse: As the son of American evangelical missionary parents, I spent several formative years living in the former Soviet Union — Novosibirsk, Russia to be exact — smack dab in the middle of Siberia. My family is originally from Minnesota, so I was convinced that they were trying to find the one place on the planet colder than our home state to do missions work.
Growing up as a missionary kid, my parents taught me to take my faith seriously, to take Jesus seriously, no matter what the cost. Their example — leaving the trappings of an American middle-class lifestyle behind to pursue something they believed in — sticks with me to this day. The major lesson: There are things in this life worth making exceptional sacrifices for, especially things close to the heart of God.
I guess this is really what informs who I am, and animates my work today. True, I’m not a full-time missionary, but I’ve tried to devote my life to playing a role, however small, in what God is doing in the world. For my parents this was about planting churches and, to use the language of the Navigators (the missions organization that sent them) “making disciples”. For me it’s about taking Jesus seriously when he said, “What you do unto the least of least, you do for me.”