May 16, 2016
By Aaron Weaver
DECATUR, Ga. — Sixteen ministers have been named to participate in the 2016-2018 cohort of the Fellows program of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. Launched in 2012 with financial support from the Lilly Foundation, the CBF Fellows program assists young Baptist clergy in their “first-call” in making a healthy transition from seminary into congregational ministry. CBF Fellows are provided with practical resources within the context of a supportive peer-based cohort.
“The goal of CBF Fellows is to offer these young Baptist ministers essential resources not just to guard against burnout or isolation, but to empower them to thrive as ministers,” said Joshua Speight, CBF’s missional congregations resources manager and director of CBF Fellows. “A second goal, but just as important, is for CBF to support and engage each congregation during the cohort, to encourage them as they discern the best way to nurture the minister that God has called to serve in their community. CBF Fellows prayerfully invests in the lives of these ministers so that they will commit to serving congregations for many years to come.”
CBF makes a two-year commitment to the Fellows and their congregations to support, learn from and encourage them in a variety of ways and settings. The formal program consists of five cohort gatherings that take place in conjunction with Fellowship conferences and retreats such as General Assembly and ChurchWorks. This third CBF Fellows cohort will kick off in August with an orientation retreat at First Baptist Church, Decatur, Ga.
During the course of the two-year cohort, seasoned faculty work with and guide the Fellows through a curriculum developed by CBF and the Center for Congregational Health. Fellows participate in monthly conference calls, a closed social media site for daily support and individual coaching sessions. To increase the reach and effectiveness of the Fellows program, congregations commit to providing a Minister Encouragement Team to offer regular encouragement each Fellow needs to sustain her or him between cohort gatherings. Additionally, congregations provide non-vacation time away for the Fellow to participate in retreats.
The new 2016-2018 cohort marks the third group of ministers named as CBF Fellows. In June at the 2016 CBF General Assembly in Greensboro, N.C., the second cohort of 24 CBF Fellows will conclude their two-year journey together.
The individuals listed below will journey together as the 2016-2018 CBF Fellows cohort:
- Ben Brown, First Baptist Church, Waynesboro, Va.
- Aaron Coyle-Carr, New Bessemer Baptist Church, McLeansville, N.C.
- Lacey Davis, First Baptist Church, Laurinburg, N.C.
- Melissa Kessler, Grandin Court Baptist Church, Roanoke, Va.
- Meg Lacey, Emerywood Baptist Church, High Point, N.C.
- Amy McClure, First Baptist Church on Fifth, Winston-Salem, N.C.
- Sarah Gordon Mears, Hayes Barton Baptist Church, Raleigh, N.C.
- Joshua Owens, First Baptist Church, Monroe, N.C.
- Tiffany Brown Seaford, First Baptist Church, Mocksville, N.C.
- Sarah Rogers Greenfield, First Baptist Church, Abilene, Texas
- Robin Priddy, First Baptist Church, Waco, Texas
- Emily Holladay, Broadway Baptist Church, Louisville, Ky.
- Curt Lowndes, First Baptist Church, Morehead, Ky.
- Amanda Standiford, Lexington Avenue Baptist Church, Danville, Ky.
- Daniel Potter, First Baptist Church, Columbus, Ga.
- Karen Zimmerman, Peachtree Baptist Church, Atlanta, Ga.
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.