Dear Friends of the Nashville Fellows, I am writing to give you an update on the Nashville Fellows program and the ongoing activity of which you may or may not be aware. I can honestly say that I have not been this inspired in years. I have just spent two days with over 130 young men and women who are involved in current Fellows programs from around the country. Each program is coming to the end of this year of holistic and intentional living. The energy and passion for these young professionals to seize life to the fullest for God and to go into their careers with purpose and clarity was rejuvenating for those of us who are further down the journey. Hearing from Reverend John Yates about how he stepped out in faith over 19 years ago to create a unique program to equip and empower new college graduates to be equipped as they enter adulthood was a reminder that we are a part of something much bigger than ourselves.
One speaker summarized the year by stating that each of us are called to live a life of commitment now. This commitment is a commitment to:
- community – both people and place as they begin to make decisions.
- serving – in their work and to those around them.
- coherence – living all of life understanding the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.
How quickly I find my own life disjointed and at times fragmented. The charge to these young world changers was a great reminder for all of us to re-center our lives with intentionality to the calling the Lord has given each of us and to see our work, our families, our churches, and our daily activities as part of Christ's effort to restore the world He has redeemed.
A few weeks ago, the three churches (St. George's Episcopal, West End Community, and Christ Presbyterian Church) stepping into this first year of the Nashville Fellows Program met together to give updates on where things stand today. Let me highlight some of the effort, significant milestones, and what I believe are the most meaningful markers of the signs of success for our program as it prepares to launch.
1. Each church has formed a local church Fellows committee to help them prepare for and recruit the first class of Fellows. They have been reviewing over 35 applications of Fellows from around the country, recruiting host families for the Fellows to live with, identifying areas within the church for the Fellows to serve, identifying possible internship opportunities and recruiting mentors not just to mentor the spiritual life of the Fellows but their vocational and career lives.
2. There has been a unified effort to establish a curriculum that the Fellows will be taught. This has involved the senior leaders of these churches agreeing on topics, authors, and how they will collaboratively teach together. The educational efforts will be led by Scotty Smith, but all pastors will be teaching these Fellows throughout the year.
3. There are, as of this time, seven Fellows accepted and committed to entering into our lives here in Nashville this next year already. There are three more we are waiting on official acceptance and a hope to fill two final slots to have 12 Fellows in our first year.
The highlight of this past few months brought me to tears, although I hope I hid them from everyone. In our last board meeting, I watched three sets of church leaders and volunteers who had never set foot in each other's campuses work together, support each other, and serve each other with the common goal of honoring The Lord in this Fellows program. In a world of division and strife, I was humbled to witness the love and comradery they have already built. The Lord smiles with joy at this unity!
Many of you have asked how to get involved and help. First, we would ask you to pray for this effort to not only raise up the next generation of Christ followers but also that our city would be blessed and our churches would be unified.
Please share this information with any you may know who would like to join this journey with us. By emailing firstname.lastname@example.org we will ensure you are kept up to date and notified of opportunities to plug in.
In the coming months please be expecting: -- A request to identify 4-day internships for the Fellows so we can create a database of opportunities to best match each Fellow to a job for them to start when they arrive in August. -- A request to help us do a kickoff event in late August when the first class of Fellows has arrived so we can welcome them and celebrate how our city can be united and blessed in this effort.
Our city is an amazing place and I am so excited to see the Nashville Fellows program coming to bless Nashville.
Chairman The Nashville Fellows Program