Hello, I'm Christopher Marlin-Warfield

I’m a pastor, an author, and nonprofit development and communications professional. My passion, my mission, and my calling is bringing people together to do good, with a particular focus on serving people who are experiencing poverty and other forms of marginalization.

I became the pastor of First Congregational United Church of Christ (DeWitt, Iowa) in 2018. Prior to my life as a pastor, I served as a professional fundraiser with Back Bay Mission, Northeast Ohio Medical University, and Chicago Theological Seminary. I have also served as a fundraising consultant for a variety of churches and small nonprofit organizations.

I hold my M.Div. from Chicago Theological Seminary and my B.A. (Philosophy) from Knox College. I have also completed substantial continuing education at the Fundraising School at the Lilly School of Philanthropy at Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis; the Nollau Institute of the Council for Health and Human Services Ministries of the United Church of Christ; and the Association of Fundraising Professionals

What I'm About

Radical Charity

Charity is love in action. I believe in charity’s power to both provide concrete help to people experiencing poverty and help others grow closer to God through their love of others. “Faith, hope, and charity abide,” writes Paul, “and the greatest of these is charity.”

Extravagant Hospitality

The church is called to welcome all people. That means more than being open to strangers. It means enthusiastically embracing people in all of their brokenness. No matter who you are, or where you are in life’s journey, you are welcome.

Christian Community

All Christians are ministers by virtue of our baptism, and all of us have both the privilege and responsibility to serve our neighbors according to our gifts. All of us have a role to play in making this a world of greater justice and mercy.

The bread you are holding back is for the hungry, the clothes you keep put away are for the naked, the shoes that are rotting away with disuse are for those who have none, the silver you keep buried in the earth is for the needy.

Radical Charity (The Book)

Right now, there is a movement in churches and nonprofits arguing that charity is toxic, that helping hurts, and that the entire nonprofit sector needs to be reformed to truly lift people out of poverty. These charity skeptics are telling Christians that traditional charity deepens dependency, fosters a sense of entitlement, and erodes the work ethic of people who receive it. Charity skepticism is increasingly popular; and it is almost certainly wrong.

Available from Wipf and Stock’s Cascade Books imprint, Radical Charity: How Generosity Can Save the World (And the Church) weaves together research and scholarship on topics as diverse as biblical scholarship, Christian history, economics, and behavioral psychology to tell a different story. In this story, charity is the heart of Christianity and one of the most effective ways that we can help people who are living in poverty. Charity—giving to people experiencing poverty without any expectation of return or reformation—can save the world and help make God’s vision for the church a reality.

Advance Praise for Radical Charity

At its best, the church is a little piece of the kingdom of God here in a broken world; a place and a community where people can see what the world could be like. That sets it apart from everything else. That makes it different. And that gives the church an amazing opportunity to be more than a reflection of the world as it is. It gives the church the chance to be, however imperfectly, the world as God wants it to be. And that world is one that is full of agape, of caritas, of love, of charity.

Latest Sermons and Posts

Payne's table resonates because it's the sociological equivalent of cold reading.
Being a Christian is like joining the Peace Corps. It gives so much. And it asks a lot: all of our hearts and all of our souls and all of our might.
We are called to be reckless in our welcome. We are called to be extravagant in our celebration. We are called to be warm in our embrace.

But what if someone uses the money for, say, a glass of wine? (A perfectly Milanese question.) His answer: If “a glass of wine is the only happiness he has in life, that’s O.K. Instead, ask yourself, what do you do on the sly? What ‘happiness’ do you seek in secret?” Another way to look at it, he said, is to recognize how you are the “luckier” one, with a home, a spouse and children, and then ask why your responsibility to help should be pushed onto someone else.

The New York Times Editorial Board (Describing Statements by Pope Francis) Tweet This