Find Your Place in a Fellows Program!
Launch Your Career with a Strong Foundation
The college years are amazing…full of new ideas and friendships, new learning and opportunities. And yet, the transition from college life to post-college life can be hard. Sometimes it seems easier, even normal, to heed the call of the world and lose sight of God’s call to serve, love, and promote flourishing.
A TFI Fellows program will help you start well, which means entering this next phase of life with Jesus as your focus. He is the one through whom all things were made, who sustains all things, and who is making all things new…including you. By joining a TFI Fellows program, you can launch your career with a strong foundation: rooted in Christ, settled in a church community and cohort of fellows, and growing in your faith.
What is a Fellows Program?
A TFI Fellows program is a 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.
For decades and for thousands of alumni, TFI's unique approach has proven to be an outstanding way for recent graduates to successfully launch their careers, establish Christian community in a new city, and form spiritual habits that lead to flourishing.
Fellows programs equip emerging leaders to have a thoughtful impact in the world. Through the various elements of the program, fellows explore how their story fits into God's story and confront some of life's most important questions like: How do you think "Christianly" about work, culture, friendships, and the other real experiences of life? How do you wrestle with hard questions about the Bible? How do you fight temptations to chase after idols? How do you tell your life story through the lens of grace?
Although they involve these and other thoughtful components, TFI Fellows programs are not just about reading and listening to lectures. They are designed to be balanced head + heart + hands programs that involve real work in real jobs, hands-on leadership and service experiences in the church and city, intimate community with a cohort of peers, and personalized mentoring. Diving deep into the fellows year enables a recent graduate to start their post-college life with a strong foundation for a cohesive life of faith in Christ.
The Core Elements of a Fellows Program
A TFI Fellows program is a comprehensive and multi-faceted personal, professional, and spiritual growth experience. Under the leadership of the local program leaders and faculty, you will have the opportunity to grow in many areas and establish patterns for the rest of your life.
Work - Fellows grow as professionals by spending 3-4 days per week working in a paid job in their field of vocational interest.
Service - Fellows cultivate rhythms and habits by consistently serving in the church and city.
Learning - Fellows develop a spiritual foundation by taking graduate level leadership and theology courses.
Worship - Fellows explore how to be more than just a consumer of church by connecting deeply with a local church body.
Community - Fellows form intentional relationships with peers and mentors to create a model of post-college Christian community.
About the Job
Fellows work in a wide variety of jobs — in law, education, medicine, banking, the arts, journalism, engineering, entrepreneurship, ministry, etc. All positions offer opportunities to learn and grow, to gain transferable skills, to build a network of contacts, and to serve as Christ would.
We desire to prepare and equip the emerging generation of leaders to engage God's world in all expressions of God-given work. So, members of the local church use their personal and professional networks to place fellows in jobs that are aligned with their vocational interests.
While most fellows work in the marketplace, some fellows programs also offer jobs in the local church. Depending on the church, these roles may be in youth ministry, worship arts, missions, or other areas. These unique positions offer a fellow who is discerning a call to vocational ministry an excellent opportunity to experience work in the church context .
Regardless of the type of job, every fellow has the unique opportunity to learn how to participate in God's redemptive plan while launching their career.
There are two housing options in TFI Fellows programs. In most Fellows programs, fellows live with host families from the local church or churches. A few programs offer community housing instead.
Both options are great. Living in a host home gives you the opportunity to be loved and enfolded by a family in the church. Room and board are provided by the host family. Community housing gives you the opportunity to explore close Christian community under one roof. Details of community housing vary by program, so please check the the individual programs for details.
Who Are Fellows?
Fellows are recent college graduates, typically 21-25 that want to go deep in their walk with God. When building each fellows class, we look for young leaders that want to explore God's callings and purposes for their lives and that have a heart for serving others.
Growing in Christ - Fellows are eager to pursue seamless lives of Christian faith. A seamless life in Christ is one marked by an overt commitment to Christ in all areas of life - work, home, church, society. In so many ways, we're apt to live "double lives" with a Christian part and worldly part. Fellows are eager to stitch this together into a single fabric of faith.
Diverse Backgrounds - Fellows come from many cultural and geographic backgrounds, with varied educational and vocational interests, passions, and traditions. Some are life-long followers of Christ, some are new Christians. Some attended public colleges, some private. Fellows are interested in all sorts of career paths: business, medicine, law, politics, technology, science, education, and more.
Community-minded - Fellows programs operate on a cohort models. A fellow is not just doing a job and taking classes on their own. They are part of an authentic learning community that encourages and challenges one another. They serve together in the church and city, growing together through rich conversations and mutual care.
Eager to Dive-in - Fellows are committed to being teachable, humble, and service-minded. We encourage fellows to come with questions, curiosity, and a willingness to take some risks. We look for fellows that are excited to step into leadership. Across the TFI network of fellows programs, we encourage fellows to step deeply into the responsibilities of adulthood with a willingness to grow in grace as they learn.
About The Fellows Initiative
The Fellows Initiative is the original network of church-based, postgraduate Christian fellowship programs. As a network, we have been working together to inspire and equip the rising generation of leaders for the marketplace, church, and society for three decades.
TFI has been developing and applying our proven model of vocational discipleship and leadership development in churches and cities across the country. Hundreds of recent graduates join fellows programs each year. The TFI network includes thousands of alumni living, working, and serving around the world.
Every program in the TFI network shares the same core elements listed above - and yet, every program is unique – different locations and church communities, leaders, and program structures make each program specially equipped to make an impact on young adults.
Cost of a Fellows Program
Program fees vary across the network of TFI Fellows programs, from $4,500 to $7,500. Fellows are encouraged to fundraise to help with the costs of the program and many programs have scholarships available. Please check with the individual fellows programs to learn more about costs, fundraising, scholarships.
How to Choose a Fellows Program
There are many Fellows programs from which to choose - in large cities and small towns, near the beach and near the mountains. The TFI Common Application allows you to apply to up to three programs at once. Here are some tips for choosing your top three programs:
Get to know the programs. We have a summary of every Fellows program here on the TFI website. You will also find links to the individual program websites where you can learn more. Spend time researching each program so that you know what makes it unique.
Get to know the city. Whether or not you plan to stay there after your Fellows program, you will want to know something about the city the program is in. Do some research about the size of the city, opportunities for employment, housing, fun things to do and recreation, etc.
Be open-minded. A Fellows year is many things, including the opportunity to explore. Avoid the trap of thinking you have to have the “perfect” or “brag-worthy” first job or to live in a “cool” or “brag-worthy” location. Instead, think about how your Fellows year might be a season to more deeply understand God’s callings upon your life - at work, in the church, and in the community.
Attend a webinar. Every two weeks or so, TFI hosts webinars for people that are thinking about joining a Fellows program. We would love to hove you join us! Here’s the list of dates and times.
Ask for more information. We have a helpful page that allows you to request more information from up to five Fellows programs. Just fill out the form and they’ll be in touch. A great feature of this form is that it gives you the chance to ask questions. It's also a great way to get to know the program leaders. Click here to request more information.
Apply as early as you can. Many Fellows programs fill up very early. We strongly suggest that you apply as early as you can. Fellows programs prayerfully consider every admissions decision. Even so, the process only takes 3-4 weeks. So, once you apply, you will know your status within a month. Here is a link to the TFI Common Application.
Apply to Be a Fellow
The process of becoming a fellow is simple - just fill out the TFI Common Application. There are no application fees and you can apply to three programs at once. We accept applications from September through July. All programs start in August or September. We strongly encourage you to APPLY EARLY because many of the programs fill up quickly.
Early Deadline - November 30th
Winter Deadline - January 15th
Spring Deadline - March 15th
Rolling Admissions after March 15th