By Joshua Speight
Sixteen ministers gathered in Decatur, Ga. August 22-25 to begin their two-year cohort as CBF Fellows, a program for young clergy in their “first-call.” This first session focused on orienting the group to the program and to each other. For four days these ministers shared about their calling their to congregational ministry, their family, their church context and their hopes — all while building community with colleagues in the CBF family.
We understand 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. In 2012, CBF established the Fellows program, which assists young Baptist clergy in their “first-call” in making a healthy transition from seminary into congregational ministry. Through Fellows, CBF makes a two-year commitment to each minister and their congregation to support, learn from and inspire each of them so that they may thrive as ministers. The cohort consists of five face-to-face gatherings, peer guidance, mentoring, and individual coaching sessions.
CBF Fellows is designed to help these ministers find answers to questions they didn’t even know to ask until they began the practice of ministry. Four key areas of leadership are examined throughout the cohort discussed and discovered in a learning community. These four key areas are: stance (the systems that shape you including family of origin, stresses in ministry and modes of interaction with others), style (how you operate day to day in ministry), setting (the community in which your ministry is located), and strategy (look at your ministry and leadership by developing your capacity for strategic thinking).
Supporting the entire curriculum and program of CBF Fellows is a discernment process based on Dawnings – Welcoming a New Day in Your Church’s Missional Journey. Dawnings is CBF’s process that offers to help congregations and individuals see the world and their ministries within it with fresh clarity and purpose. Dawnings invites participants to ask, “God, what would you have me to do?” and “God, what would you have me to be?” as they participate in the three processes of forming, engaging and visioning.
The second session of the cohort will meet next in February 2017 in Jacksonville, Florida at ChurchWorks.
These 16 CBF Fellows and their Faculty welcome your prayers for this cohort:
2016-2018 CBF Fellows Cohort
- Ben Brown (Virginia)
- Aaron Coyle-Carr (North Carolina)
- Lacey Davis (North Carolina)
- Sarah Greenfield (Texas)
- Emily Holladay (Kentucky)
- Melissa Kessler (Virginia)
- Meg Lacy (North Carolina)
- Curt Lowndes (Kentucky)
- Amy McClure (North Carolina)
- Sarah Mears (North Carolina)
- Josh Owens (North Carolina)
- Daniel Potter (Georgia)
- Robin Priddy (Texas)
- Tiffany Seaford (North Carolina)
- Amanda Standiford (Kentucky)
- Karen Zimmerman (Georgia)
CBF Fellows Faculty
- Ka’thy Chappell (CBF North Carolina)
- Brian Foreman (Campbell University)
- Chris Gambill (Center for Congregational Health)
- Beth Kennett (Center for Congregational Health)
- Bo Prosser (CBF), Harry Rowland (CBF)
- Joshua Speight (CBF)
To read a wonderful first-person reflection from our first session by one of the 2016-2018 Fellows, go to CBF Fellows: The Beginning, written by Emily Holladay.
Joshua Speight serves as the Missional Congregations Resources Manager and Director of the CBF Fellows program for the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.