By Bo Prosser
What started out as a cohort of 25 first time ministers has blossomed into an important teaching tool. Yes, the Fellows are catching a vision for leadership, deepening their formation, and engaging in purposeful ministry. And, yes, these colleagues are bonding in a depth of fellowship that will carry them well into their ministries. And, yes, the congregational support teams are learning how to give care and encouragement to their specific Fellow. So, the basic premise of the program is working.
And, the Fellows are teaching as well. They are teaching their congregations how to care for one another. They are teaching their congregations that Seminary is not the end of learning but perhaps only the beginning. They are teaching their congregations that a depth of fellowship and self-care are just as important as ministry skills. They are teaching one another to stay on the journey and to utilize coaches and to keep learning from one another.
And, this whole process is a teaching laboratory for all leaders. There is no harder job on the planet than leading a Baptist Congregation. There is no more lonely place than being in leadership in a Baptist Congregation. The Fellows are teaching all of us that deep friendships matter, that peer relationships make a difference. The Fellows are also teaching us that they are skilled and caring ministers who have a deep love for Christ’s Church and their local churches.
We haven’t gotten everything right in this initial journey. There are some aspects of this program that we will strengthen as we go forward. But in the midst of this learning community, we are learning to listen to one another, to grow together. We are learning how to learn together. The stories you’ve read this week are testimony that this is a meaningful and challenging experience. So we will keep learning from one another and with one another.
Applications are now being accepted for the second cohort of the CBF Fellows. Applications consist of the completion of an online application (including a short essay) and a covenant with the minister, the church, and CBF. The complete application and covenant letter is due March 17, 2014.
Bo Prosser is Ministries Coordinator for Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.