A Unique Opportunity: Life as a Fellow in Virginia Beach
by Martha Roszak
“I see people really come alive at the beach.”
So says Virginia Beach Fellows Director Jay McCabe. 2019-2020 marks the inaugural year of the Virginia Beach Fellows program, one dreamt up by several friends from multiple churches in the Tidewater region only a few years ago.
Virginia Beach is a historic, vibrant community with approximately half a million residents. The region is supported by a strong military presence as well as many small businesses still owned and operated by the same individuals or families who started them - a fact that continues to draw many entrepreneurial-minded young adults to the area each year.
The main attraction to the area for the majority of young people, however, continues to be the latter half of what it’s named for: the beach.
Life near the Beach
For many new residents, living by the beach means learning about and embracing coastal culture and all that it has to offer. Those who adopt hobbies such as surfing often discover a “love for it that transcends [other] ‘normal’ hobbies,” McCabe remarks.
For this reason, McCabe and Part-time Director Ross Byrd (a proud surfing aficionado and local surf camp owner himself) felt that an essential component of the new Virginia Beach-based program should include allowing fellows the opportunity to live at the beach. This year’s thirteen Fellows will live in adjacent houses on Virginia Beach's shoreline, pictured below.
“Our greatest hope is that each of the Virginia Beach Fellows would have a deeper sense of who they are in the Lord,” McCabe says. To that end, spiritual formation will be a central focus for Virginia Beach Fellows. Each one will have the opportunity to better engage their own story and develop spiritual practices through the program’s coursework as they grow in their faith.
What Makes Virginia Beach Fellows Unique?
Another distinct aspect of the Virginia Beach Fellows program is that fellows will be allowed to choose where they feel called to worship. “Just as people are unique, we each connect uniquely with God,” McCabe explains. Fellows will visit different churches in the area together during their first month in the program and eventually commit to attending one of these churches for the rest of the program. McCabe hopes this design will not only teach fellows about what to consider when choosing a church home, but will also model how churches can partner together to help fellows thrive.
Every Fellows program is unique in the ways it strives to serve the unique needs of their city. Fellows in Virginia Beach will be invited to serve with two local nonprofits: one which exists to combat homelessness and housing in the region called “People in Need,” and the other, “Friends for Life” which cares for individuals in the community with special needs.
Ultimately, Virginia Beach Fellows will be invited to submit all their time, gifts, energy and opportunities to the Lord as they better learn to live seamless lives of faith. It is TFI's prayer that this year’s first ever class of Virginia Beach Fellows will be able to do just that.
TFI Day of Prayer: August 22nd
We are hoping to start a new tradition in the TFI community: a day of prayer to get our program year started well. We are asking all directors, TFI staff and board members, local steering committee, volunteers, and alumni to spend 30 minutes at some point during the day on August 22nd, praying for the coming fellows year, the incoming class, the program staff, the many volunteers, and so on.
We have created a simple prayer guide for the TFI Day of Prayer - please share this with those around you that have been involved with a fellows program. The prayer guide available on this webpage and as a downloadable PDF, which you can get from the page.
TFI News and Updates
More than 250 incoming fellows - a new record! Across the country, more than 250 fellows will be participating in 27 fellows programs this year. As the network of fellows programs continues to grow, please join us in thanking God for his abundant blessings on the churches, cities and fellows involved.
Interested in starting a new fellows program in your church? TFI hosts a 2-day training program for prospective program leaders. The next one will be September 19-20, 2019 in McLean, Virginia. Please join us to learn how a fellows program can impact your church and city. CLICK HERE to register.
Stay Connected with TFI. Follow TFI on LinkedIn! If you want to follow TFI's news and announcements, follow the TFI company page on LinkedIn. If you're a TFI fellows program alumni, join the growing community in the TFI Alumni Group on LinkedIn.
TFI's New Fiscal Year - We Need Your Partnership!
The TFI fellows network continues to grow. You can be part of this important movement to inspire and equip the rising generation of leaders for the workplace, church, and society. In the coming year, we have a new fundraising goal of $76,300.
Please consider making a recurring donation or a one-time gift. CLICK HERE to donate online. To give by check, please mail it to The Fellows Initiative / 20130 Lakeview Center Plaza, Suite 400 / Ashburn, Virginia 20147. Thank you! TFI is a donor supported 501c3 nonprofit.
Amazon Smile - An Easy Way to Support TFI
A very easy way to support TFI is through Amazon Smile. Through this program, Amazon will give up to 0.5% of the proceeds of your purchases to TFI. It's very easy to sign up. All prices and services are the same on Amazon Smile as the regular Amazon. Please click here to learn more.