• The Fellows Initiative

The Fellows Director: Celebrating this Unique and Influential Role

Updated: Jul 13, 2019

by Greg Ayers

Earlier this month, fellows program directors from around the country gathered for a week of sharing and growing together. The annual TFI Director’s Summit is a special and important time for program leaders to encourage one another in this unique ministry.

Although the program directors come from many churches and cities, they share a passion for equipping and inspiring the rising generation of Christian leaders for the workplace, church, and society. They also share a passion for the broader mission of equipping the church to impact the world around us.

The occasion of this year’s TFI Director’s Summit gives us the opportunity to reflect on the strategic importance of this role.

The Strategic Role of the Fellows Director

Leading a fellows program is a unique role in Christian ministry. Building, launching, and leading each class of fellows is a rewarding yet challenging effort that can have a significant and lasting impact on the church and city.

At first glance, a fellows program may appear to be a small ministry that only benefits 12-15 recent college graduates each year. In reality, it has a large footprint that can be a catalyst for transformation of the entire church and city.

Fellows directors play a vital, strategic role in helping an entire church – not just a cohort of fellows – grow in Christ.

A group of fellows program directors at the 6th Annual TFI Director's Summit
A group of fellows program directors at the 6th Annual TFI Director's Summit

Under the leadership of the program directors, fellows learn in classes, retreats, and weekly gatherings. This knowledge quickly spreads into the congregation, since fellows are deeply connected to host families, mentors, youth, and others. As the fellows learn and grow, the church learns and grows along with them.

What do they learn? They learn that Jesus is the central figure of our lives and the one that gives meaning to all we think and do. He cares deeply about every aspect of our lives – at work, at church, in the home, and in society. In all of these areas, we are called to be like Him: creative, intentional, sacrificial, servant-minded.

In addition to these critically important lessons, the program director is also ensuring the fellows receive practical training in vocational discernment and professional development. To accomplish this, the typical fellows program director manages a massive network beyond the walls of the church - employers, service partners, civic leaders, and community service partners.

So, while each class only has 12-15 fellows, the fellows director is in a key strategic position of influence within and beyond the church.

“I have so much respect for the fellows directors. Their programs are bigger on the inside than they appear to be on the outside,” said John Kyle, executive director of The Fellows Initiative. “They are incredible teachers and shepherds of intimate-sized cohorts. They also manage and influence massive networks within and beyond the church.”

About the TFI Director’s Summit