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.