The Tampa Bay Fellows program is a nine-month (September through May) intensive program for young professionals who desire to foster a God-centered view of the world in all areas of work and life. Such learning is best done in the context of the Church through purposeful interaction with the Scriptures and with one another. This program emphasizes learning in the covenant community as fellows engage with one another and with church members who will host weekly meetings in their homes and serve as mentors. Such interactions provide fellows with the opportunity to see how the Gospel uniquely expresses itself in different individuals and families. Through these relationships, along with the theological training and seminars with Christian scholars and community leaders, participants will learn how to live full-orbed Christian lives.
Week in the Life:
Fellows will meet together once a week for dinner and class (3 hours total). Throughout the week, fellows will complete assigned reading and other assignments and meet with their mentors at least once a month. Fellows will have the opportunity each month to hear from Christian scholars and community leaders who will speak on various topics relating to the intersection between faith and life. Additionally, fellows will be immersed in the life of the local church as they seek to understand the local church as the context for the life and growth of the Christian. (Read more on this below.)
The course of study for Tampa Bay Fellows is designed around three vital principles. First, we believe that the revelation of the Triune God in the Scriptures is our most basic starting point for thinking and living in God’s world. Second, we believe that all study of the Scriptures is to be conducted in a fundamental posture of devotional receptivity to the Spirit who speaks in the Word. Like little children we are always receiving what our Father gives (Matt. 11:25-30). And third, we believe that the church community is the proper context in which we are called to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18).
In light of these commitments we must begin our course with sustained reflection on the teaching of Scripture. In order to make sense of God, ourselves and the world around us we need a systematic understanding of God, human beings, the effects of the fall, the plan and power of redemption, our place in God’s purposes, and where it is all headed in the future. The first segment of the curriculum will focus on this basic profile of Christian doctrine.
It is only with the corrective lenses of the Scriptures firmly in place that we can then look out on our lives and the world with clarity of vision (See Calvin, Institutes I.6.1). In the second segment of this study we will seek to apply our basic Christian position to a variety of different dimensions of God’s world. Work, family, art, entertainment, science and technology can and must be seen as given by God and therefore to be engaged under God and offered back to the glory of God.
The context in which we live as those united to God in Christ is the church. That is why we require Fellows to be engaged in meaningful ways in worship and service in a local church. We also assign mentors with whom the Fellows can discuss how all of this works out in the workplace day to day. All our studies are grounded in life lived in connection with those who are also united to Christ and from one another we learn to live well what we profess to believe.
True Christian theology is never merely speculative; it is the “doctrine or teaching of living to God” (William Aimes, The Marrow of Theology). This means that our curriculum is designed to challenge us to study and reflect deeply on the teaching of the Scriptures, to do so in a disposition of worship and in conversation with others who can sharpen us “as iron sharpens iron” (Prov. 27:17).
We believe that healthy Christian living assumes meaningful involvement in the local church. Tampa Bay Fellows started within a church and exists for the Church. As we come to understand Christ’s lordship over all of life, we come more fully to understand that we grow in spiritual maturity as we sit (week-after-week) under the preaching and teaching of God’s Word, as we are nurtured and built up in the body of Christ, and as we grow together in grace and the knowledge of Christ by the means the God has appointed: Word, Sacrament, Prayer and Fellowship. These means of grace are ministered to us principally in the context of the local church. In light of this commitment, Fellows must exhibit commitment to their local church even as they engage in the program. The demands of the program should never supplant or diminish a fellow's current service to the local church.
Please note that Tampa Bay Fellows adheres to Holy Trinity Presbyterian Church's theology and practice as described by the Westminster Confession of Faith and PCA Book of Church Order (see www.holytrinitypca.org for more details).
Program at a Glance:
- Fall Kickoff Retreat
- May - End of the year banquet (TBD)
- Weekly Roundtables: Mondays, 6-9 PM
- Monthly Seminars: Saturdays, 9 AM-12 PM