A Look Inside the Macon Fellows Program
by Alex Eberhart
For more than ten years, the Macon Fellows Program has focused on the development of the next generation of Christ-centered leaders. The program’s vision is to equip young people with the necessary tools to live out their faith and to engage with their communities.
From September to May, the Macon Fellows explore what it looks like to be a committed and contributing member in the workplace, city and church. The verse at the center of the program’s mission is Jeremiah 29:7:
But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.
Rachel Pontier, the director of the Macon Fellows Program, has been leading the charge since 2017. A native midwesterner, Pontier felt the undeniable call to make a big move to the southeast after hearing about the mission of The Fellows Initiative.
As director, Pontier actively ministers and pours into the group while seeking ways for the program to positively impact the city of Macon. She also works as the Assistant Director of Young Adults at Macon’s First Presbyterian Church, which allows for an active partnership between the fellows program and the church.
Vocational and spiritual growth
During the week, the fellows work in local jobs. These workplace partnerships include jobs in ministry, non-profit, medical, and other industries. The fellows also participate in a class through Reformed Theology Seminary in Atlanta. This mixture of vocational and spiritual formation is something that recent graduates would be hard-pressed to find elsewhere.
At First Presbyterian Church, the fellows are active in the young adult ministry. Their involvement includes weekly Bible study, small group events, and several retreats throughout the year.
Macon is a city where the people are bought in
Pontier describes Macon as an up-and-coming city where recent efforts have created a revitalized downtown area that continues to grow.
“It’s a small, lively town where there is always something to do” Pontier said. “The people here have a desire to do whatever is best for Macon and want to see their hometown prosper.”
The strong sense of community is what initially put the Macon Fellows Program on the radar for Austin Simpson. During his senior year at Georgia College and State University, Simpson began to search for a meaningful next step. One of Simpson’s main priorities was getting plugged into a community. The Macon Fellows was a natural fit.
“The young adult community is really strong,” Simpson said. “Our community is not just made up of our class of fellows, but rather a larger group of people all striving to learn and grow together in this city.”
Simpson would encourage recent graduates to seek out the Macon program because of the intentional investment the program makes in each person. As a fellow, he has developed a deeper understanding of the importance of being involved in both church and community. This year has also allowed him to discern what his career calling is, and upon completion of the program in May he will enroll at Reformed Theological Seminary in Charlotte with plans to become a pastor.
Director Rachel Pontier encourages the fellows to continually ask themselves, “what can I give?” and “how can I serve?” As they finish the last few months of the program and transition to life post-fellows, they will undoubtedly take the connections, lessons and skills they have developed and serve wherever they are called next.
TFI News and Updates
There will be more than 240 fellows in the TFI network this fall! There are still 60+ slots available in programs across the country. Know a college senior that should be in a fellows program for the 2019-20 program year? Please let them know about these amazing opportunities. Applications remain open for fellows programs across the country! CLICK HERE to apply
TFI is growing! There are 27 programs, with more preparing to launch in the future. If you're interested in joining this incredible movement by starting a new fellows program in your church and city, please join us at our semi-annual Come & See training event on April 4-5. CLICK HERE to learn more.
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With 27 fellows programs, 230 current fellows, and more than 1,700 alumni, The Fellows Initiative network is growing and impacting churches, cities, and young leaders across the United States. Please consider joining TFI in this important effort to inspire and equip the next generation of Christian leaders for the workplace, church, and society.
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