The Marketplace Institute (MI) is a theological research and design institute located within Regent College in Vancouver, Canada.
Vision & Mission
Our vision is for the gospel to be recognized as public truth again. We want to see Christians owning the gospel in all aspects of their lives, and demonstrating its positive impact at all levels of society—individuals, communities, sectors, and the entire marketplace of ideas.
Our mission is to take the gospel public. Through our research and our grounding in the calibre of theological education found at Regent College, we aim to provide and embody fresh, reliable, and well-informed expressions of the gospel that reveal its truth, necessity, and relevance to all spheres of public life.
The Marketplace Institute was founded in 2003 as an extension of Regent College’s mission to educate the laity. Regent College has long understood that not every individual is able or even called to invest in pursuing a full theological degree. The Marketplace Institute was thus formed as a liaison between Christian scholarship, churches, and communities working in various sectors of the marketplace.
2003: Professor Paul Stevens founds an institute (originally called Vocatio) that would take Regent College’s integrative approach to Christian theology into all areas of life by extending this teaching to people immersed in the workplace.
2005: Paul Williams replaces Paul Stevens as both the David J. Brown Family Associate Professor of Marketplace Theology and Leadership and the Executive Director of the MI. Paul Williams explores new paths for the MI, in addition to engaging in ongoing research, conferences, and speaking to remote learning groups.
2008: The MI undergoes a significant envisioning process that seeks to refine the MI’s focus.
2009: The MI expands its efforts into four distinct program areas: Missional Communities, Leadership Development, Social Enterprise Incubator, Research & Projects.
2011: ReFrame is born. The first live pilot of ReFrame runs from April to June.
2013: Film production begins for the film-based version of ReFrame.
2014: ReFrame is launched as a film-based course.
Our work to bridge the gap between Christian scholarship, the church, and the marketplace is divided into four distinct program areas.
We see knowledge and understanding as powerful tools when used for the good of society. And as a theological research and design institute rooted in the rigorous academic setting of Regent College, we care deeply about the integrity of what we offer. We add repute and reliability to our vision and mission by engaging in thoughtful and critical research. Our research then supports and leverages activities in our other program areas when translated into creative and practical tools and frameworks. Our current research focuses on the areas of business & economy, environment, science, and society & politics.
Communities intentionally built around a shared mission are a uniquely effective means of achieving lasting change. We form and develop communities bound together by the shared desire to see the gospel faithfully lived-out in a particular geographical location or sphere of public life. We seek to foster this shared desire and common narrative by offering a biblical and theological foundations course called ReFrame. The course seeks to encourage missional engagement with the marketplace by integrating the biblical narrative, church history, and Christian doctrine with personal reflection and communal practices.
Visit the ReFrame page to find out what this unique series has to offer your church, friendship, and workplace communities.
Thoughtful, well-formed, and spirit-led leaders are essential to the health of society. Our approach to leadership development is through personal development, with the understanding that people lead out of who they are. In other words, our Leadership Development area focuses on personal formation for public influence. We work with established leaders to strengthen their ability to inspire positive change in their organizations and communities from the basis of a Christian identity. We also identify and develop emerging leaders through our Internship Program, which develops leadership in Regent College students through mentoring, disciplined study, work projects, and living in community.
Are you interested in applying for the Internship Program? Find out how to become an intern by visiting the Internship page.
Social Enterprise Incubator
Social Enterprise is a worldwide movement. Social Enterprises are designed to have a social purpose and cover their costs through the sale of goods or services. We see this movement as a direct reflection of the translation of faith to work. Through our Social Enterprise Incubator, we bring theology to bear on every aspect of designing and operating a business. Our desire is to help “incubate” new social enterprises and support existing ones that are committed to a Christian vision of running an enterprise in the marketplace. We offer courses, training materials, consultancy, and other resources to help entrepreneurs start and sustain profitable enterprises that serve the common good.
Are you running a social enterprise or thinking of starting one? To connect with other social entrepreneurs with an explicitly Christian vision, contact our Head of Social Enterprise, Michael Hodson, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Through dignified work, BASHA provides a sustainable livelihood for at-risk women and survivors of trafficking. BASHA strives to foster an environment that is radically different from most businesses and establishments in Bangladesh. It strives to live out biblical values, by providing day care and support for school studies as well as daily training for women in topics such as Bangla Literacy, English, financial management, leadership, conflict resolution, and health/hygiene. Through BASHA, women gain job skills and develop into leaders and entrepreneurs in a healthy, healing environment.
BASHA's products are available through a number of distributors including Hand & Cloth, Dignify, and Global Mothers.
Africa Media Online
Africa Media Online is an organization committed to enabling Africans to tell Africa’s story to the world. Over the past decade, Africa Media Online has developed what they call a “digital trade route” to enable Africans to get their collections of media and stories to a local or global audience. This trade route is made up of training, digital consulting services, professional digitization services, digital collection management systems, and representation around the world.
MI Cohort Social Enterprises
When you say “Marketplace,” do you just mean business?
By no means! The “Marketplace” element of our title refers broadly to all public spheres of life. And when we say “public,” we mean all aspects of how our faith engages our daily lives. This means that whether you spend your days in a high-rise of a downtown urban city, or in a classroom forming minds and hearts of all ages, or in the field growing produce and raising livestock, or in a laboratory performing research experiments, you are in a space that falls within our understanding of marketplace. You are in a space where the gospel of Christ can and does make all the difference in how and why you do what you do.
How is the Marketplace Institute related to Regent College?
The Marketplace Institute is fully a part of Regent College. Continuing to pursue the central founding focus of Regent—education of the laity—is very much a part of why the MI came to be. We, however, recognize the limitations of an educational institution to serve and be served by a vast majority of Christians; not everyone can or is called to pursue a theological degree. But this does not mean that Regent cannot still reach a wider audience.
That is where the Marketplace Institute comes in. Through the MI, the wonderful fruit and wisdom Regent has to offer is made more accessible to shape the lives of a wider population, and the fruit and wisdom from lived experience found in the marketplace is made more accessible to speak into the life of Regent.
Does the Marketplace Institute run the Marketplace Theology concentration at Regent College?
We do not. There is, however, much opportunity for interaction between the Marketplace Institute and students interested in a Master of Christian Studies concentrating in Marketplace Theology. MI staff regularly teach Regent courses applicable to the Marketplace Theology concentration. The MI also offers the Internship Program, which has a major focus on the integration of faith with your unique vocation in the marketplace.
The Marketplace Institute focuses a lot of resources on the marketplace. What about the local church?
Our commitment to the marketplace is in no way meant to imply a lack of emphasis on local churches or their fundamental role in sustaining and expanding the Body of Christ. Quite simply, the marketplace is filled with the very Christians who find themselves in local worshiping communities on Sabbath day. Our desire, then, is to provide ways for all manner of communities—whether they are workplace, local church, or friendship communities—to see the power of the gospel transform every sector of public life.
You only focus on four topic areas. How does this reflect your commitment to connect faith with “all of life”?
We place a high emphasis on the quality and reliability of the resources we offer. This means that though we care deeply about all areas of public life, we do not plan to engage in public discourse in certain areas until we feel we are well-equipped enough to do so thoughtfully and with integrity.
The topic areas we have chosen also encompass a wide spectrum of cultural issues applicable to a significant diversity of marketplace sectors. They provide a solid base upon which to build further exploration into other areas.
Is the Marketplace Institute a business?
Regent College is a non-profit organization, and as an Institute fully integrated with the College, the MI is also a not-for-profit. In this way, we depend on the generosity of financial supporters to do what we do. However, as part of our commitment to be good stewards of our resources, we also aim to cover a significant portion of our costs through our various activities and consulting services.