Meet the Innovation Vitality Team!

Rev. Dr. William D. Gibson, Director of Innovation for a New Church | Team Leader
Email | 1-800-755-7710 ext. 334

William Gibson is a culture geek, semiotician, and theological entrepreneur, serving as the Director of Innovation for a New Church and Team Leader for the Innovation Vitality Team of the Greater Northwest Area of The United Methodist Church (UMC), the largest geographic episcopal area in the United States. Focusing on new leadership, new places, and new people, he works with community leaders and United Methodists in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington, as well as small parts of Canada.

Prior to a move to the Northwest, and upon a foundation of ministry with youth and young adults, he served more than 13 years in three appointments, all of which focused on new church development in the Western NC Conference of The UMC. His last church plant, THE WALK, created and advocated space for the LGBTQIA community, worked against poverty and homelessness, helped form Tiny Houses of Greensboro, supported Church Under the Bridge, and fought for justice of marginalized people.

He is passionate about engaging the skeptical, unchurched, disconnected, and frustrated — “Nones” and “Dones” — in ever-shifting culture. Before full time ministry, William spent more than 16 years working in marketing and business startup, where his focus was corporate identity, interactive branding, and his niche of image marketing. He has led and participated collaboratively in a number of new startup businesses, supported by more than 5 million dollars in venture capital and angel investor funding. He is also a former U.S. Marine.

After studying graphic design (ETSU), business (Tusculum College), and biblical & theological studies (Amridge University), he attended graduate school at Duke University where he received his M.Div. William completed his doctorate at Portland Seminary in semiotics and future studies, under his lead mentor Dr. Leonard Sweet. His doctoral research focused on cultural linguistics and the dialogic formation of Christian identity formation. William’s dissertation, Voices of the Imago Consumere: The Dialogic Formation of Christian Identity in American Consumer iCulture, was published in 2012 through Portland Seminary. He is also an active co-creator of Future Church Think Tank, which is convened annually by Dr. Sweet.

He is the author of two forthcoming books:

  • SUSTAINABLE ENGAGEMENT: A How-To for the New Place Startup Process (2018, E-book, GNW)
  • UNHINGED: Why the church is disconnected from a post-Christian America and what we can do about it, (2018, forthcoming).

William also serves in an adjunct role as a dissertation advisor and second reader for doctoral candidates at Portland Seminary. He is an ordained Elder in The United Methodist Church, who believes that everyone is welcome at God's table. William lives in Seattle, WA and has three children.

Rev. Shalom R. Agtarap, Associate Director of Innovation for a New Church
Email | 1-800-755-7710 ext. 336

Shalom is an ordained United Methodist Elder currently supporting the innovative work of church planters. She has facilitated work in churches working to become more multicultural and multiethnic; better representatives of their neighborhoods. Using community organizing as a framework, she offers a more organic, relationship-based way of equipping disciples and transforming neighborhoods.

Shalom’s formation as a Christ follower includes her time with the Upper Room's Two-Year Academy for Spiritual Formation #29 and continues to serve in leadership as Worship Leader with Academy #40 in Danville, California.

She is local to the Seattle area as a graduate of the University of Washington and received her Master of Divinity from Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C..

She drinks deeply from the well of guided meditation and spiritual reading but is usually found listening to a podcast on race and politics or gospel music. Or both.

Kristina Gonzalez, Director of Innovation for an Inclusive Church
Email | 1-800-755-7710 ext. 309

Kristina develops curriculum and offers leadership development opportunities with a specialty in intercultural competency. She works to instill a culture of innovation among lay and clergy for the work of the church in the world.  

Ms. Gonzalez is a Qualified Administrator in the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) and an Associate with the Kaleidoscope Institute for leadership in a diverse changing world. She has served as faculty of the annual school for United Methodist supervising clergy for 15 years and consults and trains ecumenically in the field of intercultural competency.

Ms. Gonzalez has professional experience in the public and non-profit sectors working in the arts and human services.  Her community service work includes 8 years on the Curriculum Committee of Leadership Tomorrow, a community leadership program serving the greater Seattle area, and a term on the Board of Trustees.

She served on the UM Connectional Table, the denomination’s global leadership body from 2004-2008 and chaired the Washington Association of Churches for two terms. She serves on the Boards of Directors for Bayview Retirement Center in Seattle and Project Transformation in Vancouver.

Kristina resides in the Seattle area, where she takes advantage of the breathtaking beauty.

Rev. Dr. Leroy Barber, Director of Innovation for an Engaged Church
Email | 503-802-9204

Leroy Barber has dedicated 30 years to eradicating poverty, confronting homelessness, restoring local neighborhoods, healing racism, and living what Dr. King called “the beloved community.”

Leroy starts projects that shape society; in 1989, burdened by the plight of Philadelphia’s homeless, he and his wife Donna founded Restoration Ministries, to serve homeless families and children living on the streets. In 1994 he became Director of Internship Programs at Cornerstone Christian Academy. Leroy was licensed and ordained at Mt Zion Baptist Church where he served as Youth Director with Donna, and also served as Associate Minister of Evangelism.

In 1997, he joined FCS Urban Ministries, working with Atlanta Youth Project to serve as the founding Executive Director of Atlanta Youth Academies, a private elementary school providing quality Christian education for low-income families in the inner city. Leroy also helped found DOOR Atlanta, Community Life Church, South Atlanta Marketplace, and Community Grounds Coffee shop in Atlanta, as well as Green My Hood and The Voices Project.

Leroy is the Co-Founder of the Voices Project and Adjunct professor at Kilns College and Multnomah University. Rev. Barber is on the boards of, The Simple Way, Missio Alliance, The Evangelical Environmental Network (EEN), and the Former Board Chair of the Christian Community Development Association (CCDA).

He is the author of four books:

  • New Neighbor: An Invitation to Join Beloved Community(2008, Mission Year)
  • Everyday Missions: How Ordinary People Can Change the World(2012, Intervarsity Press)
  • Red, Brown, Yellow, Black and White: Who’s More Precious In His Sight? (with Velma Maia Thomas, 2014, Faith Words/Hachette Book Group)
  • Embrace: God’s Radical Shalom For A Divided World(2016, Intervarsity Press)
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