Fellows Year One Description

We hear a lot about discipleship in Christian circles. We know it’s important and something we need to be doing, but what exactly is it? A disciple in Jesus’ day was a follower, someone who was committed to spending time with a respected religious leader. A disciple went where his master went, fully engaged with his teaching, and did what he said to do. The goal was becoming like him by submitting to him.

According to this definition are you a true disciple of Jesus Christ? When you look at your daily life, how would you rate yourself? How satisfied are you?

 

C.S. Lewis wrote in Mere Christianity, “Every Christian is to become a little Christ. The whole purpose of becoming a Christian is simply nothing else.”

 

If this is your goal, please consider the C.S. Lewis Fellows Program, a full year set apart for life-changing learning through reading, listening, discussing, writing, and reflecting in small group community.

 

The resources, or curriculum, for each month focus on a single, fundamental theological theme, but are offered in a variety of ways, including lectures, books, articles, plus audio and video recordings.

 

Meetings and Assignments

The program begins in mid-May with a couple of preliminary assignments, an Orientation meeting, and a lecture. The regular assignments for each month, June through May, are:

 

  • complete the Bible reading, memory verses, and study for the theme of that month
  • read (about 250 pages per month), watch, or listen to all the resources
  • work through the Issues to Ponder and Action Assignment
  • write a Response Paper about what you have learned and what you will do about it
  • attend a lecture and discussion focused on one of the summer monthly themes
  • write two additional papers: The Texture of my World and a Spiritual Autobiography
  • prepare to present your spiritual testimony (10-15 minutes) to your Small Group at the September Retreat.

 

The three-day Fellows Retreat weekend in September adds two more essential components of the Fellows Program, Small Group community and one-to-one mentoring. Getting to know the Fellows and Mentors in your small group is the main purpose since they will be your partners as you all work and learn together through the year. You will choose one of the mentors in your group to meet each month for personal mentoring, and your group will divide into groups of 3 or 4 (Triads or Quads) to meet for prayer and accountability. Following the Retreat you will add these three different required meetings to your calendar every month from October through June:

 

  • All Year One Fellows will meet on the first Saturday of the month (see Year One Calendar for exceptions*) for a lecture on the theme for that month, followed by discussion time in Small Groups. In February, that time will be spent on an urban service project (the Urban Plunge) and you will meet with your small group later in the month.
  • Triads or Quads will meet for about two hours at the time and place you choose
  • You will schedule a 90-minute conversation with your Mentor every month, when and where the two of you decide.


PROGRAM DESCRIPTION

The Fellows Program is an intensive one-year regimen of study, prayer, and meetings that will require 30 to 40 hours each month. Experience shows it is often very difficult to maintain the necessary focus and commitment all year. But you will only accomplish your goal of becoming “a little Christ” by consistently working through every requirement. You must be willing to rearrange your priorities and your schedule to do that. The Fellows Program is a major commitment!

 

In Chapter 14 of his gospel, Luke describes Jesus urging his first followers to count the great cost of becoming his disciple, using a builder before beginning construction and an army general before battle as examples. He warned them, “So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.” (12:33)

 

How will you respond? This is the challenge the Fellows Program is designed to help us learn to meet, day by day, for the rest of our lives. We need the same kind of structured training, fellowship, and accountability as the men and women who originally followed Jesus.

 

If you believe the Fellows Program will help you grow in the likeness of Christ as his disciple now is the time to “count the cost.” You will be asked to sign a pledge to complete 100% of the assignments during the year. What will it cost you to follow through for the next twelve months? The members of your small group, the leaders, and the donors who fund it will be depending on you to meet your commitment to the program by fully engaging at every point.

 

“If you’re thinking of becoming a Christian, I warn you, you’re embarking on something which will take the whole of you.” C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

 

Schedule 

As noted above, after the summer assignments we commence with a weekend retreat, which runs from Friday morning through lunchtime on Sunday. (You cannot participate in the Fellows program unless you attend the retreat, and no exceptions are made to this policy.) Thereafter, Fellows meet as a group one Saturday morning per month (typically 8:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.*) for instruction, group processing and fellowship. Fellows also meet once a month in triplets or quads for prayer and accountability. Please review all dates on the current calendar before applying to be certain you can commit to them.


Time Commitment

The C.S. Lewis Fellows program requires a high level of commitment. Fellows continue in their careers while participating in this year-long program, and requirements are designed to be achievable even for busy professionals with families. Fellows are expected to complete all assignments and attend all regularly scheduled meetings. The time commitment is as follows:

  • Monthly Bible Study and Scripture Memory
  • Monthly reading: Fellows engage with selected books, audio and video resources, and brief articles; personal reflection time is essential for the reading to make its impact (approximately 250 pages of reading per month)
  • Discipleship group fellowship: Fellows meet monthly in triplets or quads for prayer and accountability (2 hours). This, too, is an essential part of the transformation process.
  • One-on-one mentoring: Each Fellow meets privately once a month with a mentor for discussion and spiritual guidance (75-90 minutes). The mentor meeting enables you to develop a relationship with an older and more mature believer, in which you can discuss what you are learning, or other issues raised through your studies.
  • In February, Fellows participate in an urban service project ("Urban Plunge"), which requires all day Saturday.
  • Please note that due to the nature and dynamics of this program you are expected to complete all assignments on time. If you are unable to keep up with the assignments in the program you may be asked to defer to another year when you have the time to adequately commit to the program. This is due to the fact that you will not only be growing yourself in the program but also the others in your small group.

 

Admission Requirements

Please see the Fellows Program Application and the Year One Information Calendar*. To complete your application you will need two recommendations, one of which must be from your Pastor. Please read through the Year One Information Calendar to be certain you will be able to attend the events listed there. The next step will be a one-hour interview with a Senior Mentor. You will be notified after a final review by the City Director. The following are important characteristics of the applicant for the Fellows Program:

1.  A strong desire to know and love God more deeply and to live out the gospel more faithfully.

2.  A strong desire to actively serve Christ upon completion of the program, evidenced by a commitment and tentative plan of disciplemaking.

3.  A strong desire to share the gospel of Christ with others and to help them grow as His disciples.

4.  A commitment to engage with the program in terms of attendance, reading, group participation, and being mentored in discipleship.

5.  A willingness to be open about his or her intellectual, spiritual, and personal life, along with a desire to receive godly insight and guidance from a spiritual mentor.

6.  A geographic proximity to program venue and ability to attend all meetings.

7.  An active participant in a local church with a recommendation from a pastor.

8.  Support of the applicant's spouse, if married.

9.  The Institute staff's reasonable expectation that the applicant will benefit from the program and become a stronger, more credible and effective disciple of Jesus Christ in his or her sphere of influence.

10.  Availability of space in the group; compatibility with the group is also taken into consideration.

11. Applicant must be 24 years of age or older by August 31, 2022.

 

After completing Year One, participants may opt to continue with more in-depth study in Year Two, which is offered based on demand in any given location.

 

Year One Fellows Program Content

The program focuses on a different biblical theme each month, including:

  • The Fatherhood of God
  • Receiving God's Grace
  • Understanding True Conversion
  • Following Jesus Christ
  • Walking in the Holy Spirit
  • Being Transformed by Scripture
  • Living a Life of Love and Obedience
  • Walking in Humility
  • Growing in Prayer and Faith
  • Pursuing God's Call on Your Life
  • Defending the Faith -- Cultural Apologetics
  • Commending the Faith -- Conversational Apologetics
  • Our Mission -- Making Disciples

 

Structure

All Fellows groups are organized by gender and age:

  • Young Professionals (ages 24-34)
  • Mid-Career Professionals (ages 35-55)
  • Senior Professionals (ages 56 +)

 

Cost

The Institute incurs substantial expense in offering the program. Similar programs cost $2,500-$3,000. We ask Fellows to make the Institute one of the ministries (after the church) that he or she supports on a regular basis.

All Fellows must cover the cost of their participation in the weekend retreat and an urban service project day ("Urban Plunge). Fellows must also pay for the books and materials required for the program, which will cost approximately $325 for the year (if purchased new).

 

*Please contact the city director for your location to request copy of a sample calendar.

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