By Aaron Weaver
DECATUR, Ga. — To further its commitment to forming healthy congregations and nurturing young Baptists, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship has named sixteen ministers in their “first-call” as CBF Fellows for 2018-2020.
These 16 ministers are part of the fourth cohort of the CBF Fellows program, an initiative launched in 2012 with support from the Lilly Foundation to assist young clergy in their “first call” in making a healthy transition from seminary into congregational ministry. Through Fellows, CBF makes a two-year commitment to each minister and their congregation to support, learn from and inspire each of them so that they may thrive as ministers.
CBF Fellows aims to build upon the foundation laid during the critical training years of seminary and divinity school to assist congregational ministers in connecting the academic to the practical work of the local church. As a two-year cohort, CBF Fellows are provided with resources including six face-to-face gatherings, peer learning and guidance, mentoring, one-on-one coaching and learning experiences designed around CBF events to ensure maximum exposure to the missions, ministries and resources of the Fellowship.
The local church plays a vital role during a CBF Fellow’s cohort experience. In addition to providing the time off for learning experiences, congregations provide a Minister Encouragement Team for their Fellow. This team offers regular encouragement and stability to the young minister. The congregation also enters into a covenant with the Fellow and CBF to regularly pray for their minister during the two-year program.
“I am so proud that CBF continues to invest in both ministers and our congregations to help in these early years of ministry,” said Joshua Speight, CBF’s manager of leadership development and director of CBF Fellows. “Discovering that you have a network of peers, mentors and encouragers inside and outside of your congregation as a young minister is vital to the success of thriving ministry. It can also be a predictor to whether a minister will be sustained in their congregational calling for the long-term. This is the prayer for all of us who invest in the work of the church to serve the world in the name of Christ.”
The 2018-2020 cohort marks the fourth group of ministers named as CBF Fellows, bringing the total number of Fellows to 83. At the CBF General Assembly in Dallas, June 11-15, the third cohort of CBF Fellows will meet and conclude their time together.
The individuals listed below begin in August as the 2018-2020 CBF Fellows cohort:
- Laurel Cluthe, Holmeswood Baptist Church, Kansas City, Mo.
- Nick Dawson, Bayshore Baptist Church, Tampa, Fla.
- JD Granade, Roxboro Baptist Church, Roxboro, N.C.
- Anna Holladay, Holmeswood Baptist Church, Kansas City, Mo.
- Kristen Koger, First Baptist Church, Decatur, Ga.
- Lauren McDuffie, First Baptist Church, Morehead, Ky.
- Michael Mills, Agape Baptist Church, Fort Worth, Texas
- Abbi Mullens, The Memorial Baptist Church, Greenville, N.C.
- Marty Pike, Pulaski Heights Baptist Church, Little Rock, Ark.
- Kristen Pope, First Baptist Church, Rome, Ga.
- Chase Robinson, Sandy Plains Baptist Church, Shelby, N.C.
- Justin Sizemore, Calvary Baptist Church, Lexington, Ky.
- Meagan Smith, First Baptist Church, Lexington, N.C.
- Allan Smith, Greystone Baptist Church, Raleigh, N.C.
- Courtney Stamey, Northside Baptist Church, Clinton, Miss.
- Tyler Tankersley, First Baptist Church, Cape Girardeau, Mo.
Learn more about CBF Fellows at www.cbf.net/fellows.