A Fellow Reflects
by Lainey Nix
EDITOR'S NOTE: Welcome back to the TFI Blog! After a summer hiatus, we are back to share stories, news, and insights from the Fellows community. Enjoy!
Bryson Edmonds, Pittsburgh Fellows (2016), credits discovering the importance of spiritual family as the biggest takeaway from his time as a fellow. The Fellows Initiative’s theme of investing in Christian community and deep discipleship no matter where you are or how demanding life gets, continues to be central in his life five years after his experience in Pittsburgh Fellows. Navigating a busy new season of life, including recently proposing to his fiancé, a job promotion at Huntington Bank, and attending a new church in Pittsburgh, he feels God calling him to invest even more deeply in Christian community both at his church and giving back to the Pittsburgh Fellows program. Bryson’s Fellows story is about learning to earnestly pursue serving and investing in the church community and continuing to serve the Pittsburgh Fellows program community as an alumnus.
Bryson was a marketing major at Grove City College. During his time as a Pittsburgh Fellow, he worked in a 4th-generation, family-owned luxury retail company. During his time there, he enjoyed gaining exposure to retail, business operations, accounting, and even luxury watch-making. This work experience solidified his desire to work directly with and help people, and it was not long before Bryson was connected to a mentor through the Pittsburgh Fellows program. This mentor was instrumental in helping identify his skills, desires, and abilities, pointing him to a career in finance. This intergenerational relationship with his mentor provided wisdom from life experience that has remained invaluable to Bryson’s growth in both faith and work. Bryson now works in investments at Huntington Bank and has maintained a close friendship with his mentor, who still walks with him through everything from the hurdles of everyday life to big, life-changing decisions.
In addition to his impactful experience with deep discipleship from a mentor, Bryson’s experience with his fellows community has shaped his idea of a healthy Christian community. This has prompted him to continue seeking out opportunities where he can be a blessing to others and invest in meaningful relationships with them. His fellows class consisted of people from various parts of the U.S. and varying walks of life - but, he notes, they were all connected by “...the common thread that we are all believers.” Inspired by this experience, Bryson seeks to emulate this “common thread” mentality in his current Christian community, and wherever he may be going in the future, by heeding the call to serve his “spiritual family”, regardless of differences like varying values and beliefs on hot-button issues of the day. Even though leading or being involved with the local church may seem like “extra” things you have to get done, Bryson believes investing time and resources in Christian community is life-giving and truly foundational in every season of life.
One of the other ways Bryson feels called to invest in Christian community is through his ongoing involvement with the Pittsburgh Fellows program. He serves as a panelist for a monthly discussion group hosted by Pittsburgh Fellows called “Be The Bridge,” featuring open dialogue between panelists and current fellows about race in the world, the workplace, and the Church. Bryson remembers Pittsburgh Fellows alumni making themselves available to help and form relationships with him and other class members. This, along with the deep discipleship and investment Bryson received from his mentor, is what drives Bryson to mimic this spirit of generosity and willingness to continue serving the Pittsburgh Fellows program and his church community.
Helping young adults plant deep roots in the local church, become servant-leaders, grow in faith and personal maturity, and eventually become mentors themselves, are all central to the mission of The Fellows Initiative. Each year, hundreds of young adults like Bryson in TFI fellows programs across the country are being inspired and equipped to become the next generation of servant-hearted leaders in the Church, the marketplace, and society. Community-building and deep discipleship experience with an aim toward promoting biblical flourishing in the Church and in the world are just some of the ways in which TFI fellows programs are doing this. To learn more about the impactful work of The Fellows Initiative, visit https://www.thefellowsinitiative.org/.
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