• The Fellows Initiative

One Year Could Change Your Life: Introducing the Peninsula Fellows Program

by Ashton Braddock

The Peninsula Fellows program in Yorktown, Virginia is one of four new fellows programs to recently join TFI.  Spearheaded by Mark Shaw and Abby Grimes, the Peninsula Fellows program will begin its first season in the fall of 2019 in the historic Virginia triangle made up of Jamestown, Williamsburg, and Yorktown.

Like other programs in the TFI network, Peninsula Fellows will develop holistically by growing spiritually, culturally, socially, and intellectually. By living with host families from their partner church, Peninsula Community Chapel, and consistently meeting with mentors, fellows will have the opportunity to grow by learning from others who are further along in their Christian journey how to faithfully love and serve in a family, church, and community.

As they seek to connect their faith to the workplace, Peninsula Fellows will have opportunities to work in the professional fields of finance, health care, engineering, and marine sciences, among other industries.  Additionally, fellows will assist in the redevelopment of communities through Serve the City, a community service program bringing together dedicated citizens to improve local neighborhoods.

What Makes the Peninsula Fellows Unique?

In addition to the excellent opportunities for work in the Virginia Peninsula region, the program puts a special emphasis on graduate study.

The Fellows Initiative Network of Leadership and Vocational Development Programs
Mark Shaw, Director of the Peninsula Fellows Program

Fellows will take courses for credit through Reformed Theological Seminary. As an experienced educator with global experience, Mark Shaw, Director of the Peninsula Fellows, brings a distinctive approach to the Peninsula Fellows experience.

“We are committed to guiding the fellow through four graduate-level courses, all designed to make each fellow more relevant to God’s mission in the world,” he says.  The courses include the following:

  • Our Missional God - A survey of God and his mission throughout the Bible.

  • A Missional Lifestyle - An exploration of the topics of work, vocation, calling, time management, and work-life balance.

  • Missional Church - An opportunity to learn about being an agent of renewal and mission in a local church by examining the biblical doctrine of the Church.

  • Missional Engagement - An exploration of the tough intellectual and ethical challenges facing the Christian in the modern world and look at how they can engage creatively and effectively in evangelism, discipleship, and culture and creation care.

In addition to engaging with in-depth coursework, fellows will also complete student-designed learning contracts that will connect their academic assignments with their professional work.

“These learning contracts help the fellows integrate all that they are doing and provide flow and connection to the different parts of the fellows program,” Shaw explains, “Fellows meet with a mentor every other week to look at how the learning contract is progressing. The mentors will offer insight, analysis, and support as the fellows seek to reach their goals.”

The Fellows Initiative Leadership and Vocational Development Program
Abby Grimes, Assistant Director of the