General CBF

CBF Fellows: What I’ve Learned (Part 1)

By Karen Harwell and Terry Hamrick

Most would agree that no one can learn it all in seminary. In fact, many skills and tools for ministry are impossible to teach in a pure classroom setting. Most recent graduates ask a completely new set of questions once they begin to practice congregational ministry full-time. Habits of excellence are learned in community with others, but the built-in peer learning group of the seminary classroom is now missing.

Just as apprenticeships and on-the-job training occur in many professional fields and new chaplains experience clinical pastoral education, new ministers need support and training during their crucial first years of ministry.

The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF) recognizes that the first years of ministry are critically important for the establishment of practices and rhythms that sustain a life of excellent and faithful ministry. So, with a generous grant from the Lilly Endowment, the CBF has established a program for new ministers in their first full-time ministry position after seminary.

In celebration of the program, three Fellows from the program’s inaugural cohort share stories from their experiences in the program.  Enjoy upcoming stories this week from:

  •  Brittany Riddle, Minister to Adults at Vinton Baptist Church in Vinton, Virginia;
  • Matthew Richard, Pastor, Eastwood Baptist Church in Gatesville, Texas; and
  • Carol McEntyre, Pastor, First Baptist Church, Columbia, Missouri.


The CBF Fellows program is designed to help new ministers get started well.  Through retreats, coaching, support teams and peer community, ministers in the Fellows program will be supported, encouraged and guided.

This initiative is open to congregational ministers who are serving in a CBF supporting church and/or who are graduates of a CBF partner theological school. The program is designed for ministers within the first two years of their first full-time position.

The deadline for applying is March 17, 2014. Complete program details and a link to the online application can be found at

For additional information and questions, contact program director Terry Hamrick at

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