The Fellows Initiative
2018 Review - What a Year!
by John Kyle
Dear Friends of TFI -
Wow – so much has happened in the fellows community in 2018! We are excited about all that God is doing in and through the TFI network of fellows programs, the program leaders, the current class of fellows, and the growing community of alumni. Thank you for your support of this vital ministry. We are honored that you make a personal investment of time, energy and finances so that we, together, might glorify God by inspiring and equipping the rising generation of Christian leaders for the marketplace, church and society. In 2014, Barna released a disturbing study, indicating that 59% of Millennials that grew up in the church are no longer attending church. That sad statistic is part of our motivation at TFI. We see that when leaders in the Millennial generation have the opportunity to do a fellows program, they not only grow personally, but they positively impact the church for many years afterward. They take what they have learned in their fellows year and influence their friends and colleagues. They draw other Millennials in with them. Your support and efforts are making this possible. God has really blessed the work of the fellows network in the last couple of years and I am truly honored to be leading TFI in this season of growth. Please read on to learn more about all that God is doing in and through TFI this year. We’ve also included a brief peek into our plans for 2019. Blessings in Christ, John Kyle Executive Director
2018 Highlights 2018 has been an amazing year for TFI. God has blessed us in so many ways. These are just some of the ways we have seen God work powerfully in our midst:
Program Strength. We entered into the 2018-19 program year with 22 programs in 20 cities, 232 fellows, and at least 1,700 alumni! We hosted a record 285 people at the National Conference in April.
Four New Programs. Four new programs will be joining the TFI network in the fall of 2019. So we will be starting the next program year with 26 programs! We are excited to have each of these programs joining the fellows family. We have also received our first application for a new program to start in 2020! Here are our new programs for fall 2019: First Pres Fellows in Colorado Springs, Muncie Fellows in Muncie, Indiana, Peninsula Fellows in Yorktown, Virginia, VB Fellows in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
Come & See. Each year, we meet with leaders that are thinking about starting new programs in a helpful 2-day training program called Come & See. This year, we increased the number of Come & See events from one to two. In total, we trained more than 30 people. We also launched a New Director Training program this year, a 2-3 day intensive training course for all new directors in the TFI network.
TFI Common Application. As part of a key initiative to reach more college students and to increase the number of applicants across the TFI network, we launched the TFI Common Application this year. So far, the results are beyond our expectations. Our dream is to get 100 applicants for the 2019-20 program year through this new application platform.
Record Sponsorships. Morna Comeau has done an incredible job this year forming partnerships with sponsors for the TFI conferences. So far, we have seven sponsors for the 2018-19 program year. We are hoping for 4-5 more sponsors to join us before the TFI National Fellows Conference in April. Several of these sponsors are offering special benefits to fellows program alumni, such as tuition discounts. These are the 2018-19 sponsors so far: Boosterthon, The Clinton School of Public Service at the University of Arkansas, The Gordon College Master of Science in Financial Analysis Program, Duke Divinity School, Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary, Reformed Theological Seminary, Regent College
New Board Members. Claire Jackson and Norm Snyder joined the TFI Board of Directors earlier this fall. Claire is a former fellow and is currently serving as the Assistant Director of Engagement at the University of Alabama Birmingham. Norm Snyder recently retired from Aronson, a global tax and audit firm, where he was a partner responsible for working with startups and venture-backed companies. Norm and Claire bring a wealth of experience to our board team and we are so glad God has brought them to us! In addition to these two new members, the TFI board consists of Hugh Whelchel (chair), Ken Friday, Rick Kuhlman, Karen Parks, Denny Roberts, Vicki Simmons, and Nancy Skancke.
TFI Fellows Program Locations
We are 26 programs strong with plenty of room for growth. If you are interested in launching a fellows program in your church, please contact us by clicking here.
Looking Forward We are building on the momentum of the last couple of years as we head into 2019. Our mission is to strengthen the fellows programs in the TFI network and increase the number and geographic distribution of programs. These are just a few of the key initiatives we are working on...
40 Programs. We are now planning a major growth initiative. TFI launched in 2006 under the leadership of four fellows programs. In the fall of 2021 (TFI's 15th year), we would like to see 40 programs and 400 fellows. Growing from 26 programs to 40 in three years is an ambitious goal given our small size. Let’s see what God will do!
Significant Growth in Applications. To support a network of 400 fellows, we will need a lot more applicants. The individual programs do their own recruiting locally, but we also want to help them with national outreach. That’s why we launched the TFI Common Application this year. In the coming years, our plan is to use social media and our extensive network of relationships to significantly increase the use of the TFI Common Application so that we can reach as many potential fellows as possible.
Better Communications. We recognize that we need to be doing a better job of keeping you informed of our progress and challenges. We are committed to making this better for you. In 2019, you will see improved communications from us, including blog posts, improved use of social media, and periodic newsletters like this one.
And More. There is so much for us to do. For example, we need to expand and improve the online repository of resources for program directors, we need to make progress on our curriculum project, we need to improve our fundraising initiatives. As a small team, these are all necessary, but a stretch for us. Please stay tuned for news on these and other initiatives as they take shape in 2019.
Please Support TFI
A lot is happening at TFI! God is working in the fellows community in so many ways: We’re growing. We’re impacting individual lives, churches and cities. We’re building for the future. Please join us by making a 2018 donation to TFI. Every donation makes an incredible difference in our ability to inspire and equip the rising generation of Christian leaders for the marketplace, church and society. You can donate online (either one-time or recurring) or by check.
To donate online please click here.
To donate by check: Please send your check made out to The Fellows Initiative to:
The Fellows Initiative 20130 Lakeview Center Plaza, Suite 400 Ashburn, VA 20147
Please note our CHANGE OF ADDRESS. If you are a donor that gives regularly by check, please note this is our new mailing address. We are no longer using the PO box in Arlington Virginia. Thank you!