Our Mission and Vision
The Fellows Initiative is a network of Christian discipleship and leadership development programs for recent college graduates. We seek to inspire and equip the emerging generation of leaders for the marketplace, church, and society.
TFI Fellows programs share a commitment to Jesus Christ, his Word, and his church. We encourage fellows to live lives of servant leadership marked by the seamless integration of faith, work, service and community. We are committed to promoting biblical flourishing in the world.
TFI provides training, best practices, coaching, and support to churches that want to launch and lead fellows programs in their local contexts. Through our work, we have grown to be a coast-to-coast network of programs that not only equip young leaders, but transform churches. TFI has a three-part approach:
Serve and strengthen the network of church-based fellows programs
Expand the network by enfolding new programs in new churches and cities
Create community among fellows, alumni, and staff
The first Fellows program launched in 1994 in the Washington DC area. We have been growing ever since. The founding ideas of the earliest programs have converged into a unique and successful model of discipleship and leadership development for emerging adults.
Once the early concept was shown to work well, the TFI Fellows model of deep discipleship began to spread. The Fellows Initiative was formally launched in 2006 to support existing program leaders and to train new ones. While TFI is an independent nonprofit, our goal is to train, encourage, and support local churches and local Fellows program directors in those churches. We see the local church as the hub of Christian ministry.
Even though the first Fellows program launched in the 1990's, and TFI formed as a nonprofit in 2006, our conceptual roots go back to the 1950's when Francis Schaeffer created a center for Christian study in Switzerland called L'Abri. L'Abri equipped young people for lives of active Christian faith by emphasizing historical biblical teaching, intentional community, and meaningful engagement with culture. While TFI is not affiliated with L'Abri in a formal sense, the modern Fellows program builds on these wonderful traditions while adding the additional emphasis of the importance of active involvement in the local church.
Today, TFI is a thriving, growing, coast-to-coast network of leadership and vocational development programs. TFI equips hundreds of young leaders each year with a holistic understanding of faith in Christ that transforms culture. Each TFI Fellows program operates within and under the authority of one or more local churches.
Our Core Beliefs
The Fellows Initiative is a multi-denominational network that represents a wide range of traditions and styles. We are unified by a core belief in and love for Jesus Christ and his Church. We seek to honor and serve Him in all areas of life - at work, at church, at home, and in society. As a community, we share a high view of Scripture, which we consider to be God's good word for the world. Churches seeking to join the TFI network are required to affirm a set of historic Christian beliefs that reflect a deep and abiding trust in Jesus Christ and the truths of his Gospel.
What is a Fellows Program?
A Fellows Program is an intensely practical 9-10 month spiritual and vocational leadership program that prepares a recent graduate to live a seamless life of faith in Christ. The program includes a professional job in your field of interest (yes, we help you get a job!), graduate coursework and biblical studies, personalized mentoring, service in the church and city, and more. All of this takes place in a coeducational, cohort community.
Fellows programs are equipping emerging leaders to have a thoughtful impact in the world. Fellows discern how their story fits into God's story. They start their post-college years with a strong foundation for a cohesive life of faith in Christ — a full life that seamlessly weaves together career, church life, and personal life. Fellows have the opportunity to address some of life's most important questions: How do you think "Christianly" about work, culture, friendships, and experiences?
TFI Fellows programs are not just about reading and taking classes. They are balanced head + heart + hands programs that involve postgraduate training in the classroom, real work in real jobs, hands-on leadership and service experiences in the church and city, intentional community with a cohort of peers, and personal and individualized mentoring for each fellow.
TFI's unique approach has not only proven itself as an outstanding way for recent graduates to launch their careers. It can also be a key element of a comprehensive strategy to engage and retain young leaders in the local church.