General CBF

CBF expands scholarship opportunities for graduate students


February 2, 2016

By Carrie McGuffin and Aaron Weaver

DECATUR, Ga. — The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship is expanding its scholarship opportunities for students pursuing theological education to include doctoral candidates and master’s degree students studying at non-partner schools.

Since CBF’s founding nearly 25 years ago, the Fellowship has offered scholarships to women and men preparing for vocational ministry. CBF presently invests in current and future ministry leaders by awarding up to 70 annual Leadership Scholarships to Baptist students attending one of the Fellowship’s 14 partner theological schools. These Leadership Scholars receive $4,000 in tuition assistance and a travel stipend of up to $1,000 to attend CBF General Assembly. Scholars are also afforded additional opportunities to build community, network and further develop their leadership skills as they invest the mission and ministry of CBF.

Over the next three years, CBF will be redirecting scholarship funds to an additional pool of newly-eligible Baptist students, including graduate students pursuing a master’s degree at non-partner institutions and doctoral students at both partner and non-partner schools. The inclusion of scholarship opportunities for this previously ineligible pool of students is part of the Fellowship’s continuing efforts to support and nurture young Baptists throughout their educational journey.

CBF will continue to name up to two Baptist students enrolled at one of the 14 schools of the CBF Consortium of Theological Schools as CBF Vestal Scholars. This is the Fellowship’s most prestigious scholarship award, valued at $11,000 plus up to $1,500 to attend CBF events. Vestal Scholars are committed to the highest level of scholarship and show the greatest potential for leadership in ministry within the life of CBF.

Devita Parnell, manager of the CBF Young Baptist Ecosystem, expressed her excitement about these expanded scholarship opportunities.

“From the beginnings of our history, CBF has invested tremendously in theological education in general, but most directly and personally in one student at a time through scholarships,” Parnell said. “CBF’s Leadership Scholarship program has grown and adapted over the years as new seminaries and divinity schools began seeking partnership with the Fellowship. The program has also been shaped by a generation of students who claim CBF as their Baptist home.

“As CBF’s presence within Baptist life has solidified and expanded into new regions, we are presented with greater opportunities to invest in students not only studying within our network of theological schools but also in those studying outside of our traditional reach. It is with great excitement that we announce this new development that will allow more students to have the opportunity to apply for and engage in CBF life through the scholarship.”

With the recent announcement of a $1 million grant to address economic challenges facing pastoral leaders, the expansion of the Leadership Scholarship further signals the Fellowship’s commitment to confronting the financial challenges faced by many ministry leaders. CBF state and regional organizations will also play a key role in the recruitment and recommendation process, strengthening relationships and deepening the network of individuals that benefit through the scholarship process.

For additional information about the Leadership Scholarships program and the application process, visit The deadline to apply for the new pool of At-Large Leadership Scholarships for the 2016-17 academic year is April 15. Recipients will be introduced June 24 at the CBF General Assembly in Greensboro, N.C.


CBF is a Christian Network that helps people put their faith to practice through ministry eff­orts, global missions and a broad community of support.The Fellowship’s mission is to serve Christians and churches as they discover and fulfill their God-given mission.


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