by Annie Monson
First Presbyterian Church in Colorado Springs will welcome their first group of fellows this fall. The church sits in downtown Colorado Springs, and has grown up with the city, truly earning its name “First” Pres. The city was founded in 1871; First Pres was founded in 1872.
Seeking the Welfare of Colorado Springs
The church’s history with the city resounds with Jeremiah 29: “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.” The church has long been invested in numerous initiatives with Colorado Springs, allowing the fellows an opportunity to dive in and serve the city to which they’ve been sent.
Not only does First Pres offer unique opportunities to the new fellows, but Colorado Springs as a locale has its own appeal. The First Pres Fellows will have ten-minute access to a 14,000 ft mountain , and all of the activities associated with it: rock climbing, mountain biking, snowshoeing, and more. Wilderness leadership training and team building will even be a part of the program’s curriculum.
Colorado Springs is also home to a distinct variety of industries, offering the fellows excellent internship opportunities. The U.S. Olympic Committee and Training Center, many environmental agencies, institutes, and advocacy groups, three military bases and the Air Force Academy (therefore multiple military consultants and contracting companies), and some of the largest national and global Christian non-profits such as Compassion International, Focus on the Family, Navigators, and Young Life, all call Colorado Springs home.
Floyd Sebald is the program’s director, and recently returned from twenty-two years in Mongolia launching a Campus Crusade ministry. Floyd has an entrepreneurial spirit and is passionate about developing young leaders; in Mongolia he worked with graduates and young professionals, training them to minster in their professions. Now back in the states starting and leading the First Pres Fellows program, these threads of Floyd’s vocation are extending and taking new shape.
Seeking Community - and Those Who Don’t Know Christ
The First Pres Fellows program will have a structure similar to other TFI programs, with a few variations.
The fellows will take theology courses through Denver Seminary, live with host families from the church, serve in youth and children’s ministries at the church, and work as interns in their fields of interest. The fellows will also be mentored, but will have to find their own mentor in the church.
Mission will also be a strong emphasis of the program, both in the philosophy and practice of the program. Mission-thinking will be a common thread throughout the theology courses, Bible study, and discussion through the year. The Fellows will discuss relational approaches to mission, and how community service and their industry vocations are platforms for stepping into non-Christians’ lives.
The practical missional element of the program will take different forms throughout the year. In the fall, the fellows will be building trails with local and state organizations. They will go to different groups in the city who share common and related interests (e.g. hiking groups, environmental organizations) and will be responsible for building relationships, recruiting volunteers, and organizing trail maintenance and trail-building events. This model is part of Floyd’s greater desire for the fellows to be formed into Christians that seek community and draw that community to seek out those who do not believe in Christ.
Think Clearly, Care Deeply, and Act Courageously
Floyd and First Presbyterian’s dream for the fellows is that they, steeped and formed in the love of Christ, would be encouraged, empowered, and compelled to step into the little and big places of life with the wisdom and courage of Christ.
The vision for each of the young leaders arriving this fall is that every aspect of their lives will be transformed and rebuilt on the unshakeable foundation of Christ so that they may, as Floyd says, “think clearly, care deeply, and act courageously,” with kingdom vision, to transform and rebuild the communities, professions, and churches to which they are called.
TFI News and Updates
Looking for 30 more fellows! There will be more than 250 fellows in the TFI network this fall! There are still 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. CLICK HERE to apply.
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