The Newbigin Fellowship
A nine-month intensive training program that seeks to provide a theological, spiritual, personal, and relational framework for wise integration of faith, work, and life…
The Newbigin Fellowship is designed to train men and women for meaningful engagement with the intellectual, social, and spiritual needs of urban centers like San Francisco. We want to see wise urban Christians at the leading edge of culture, in every arena – the sciences, media, technology, the arts, finance, politics, education, and more.
The Fellowship is designed for individuals who hunger to be equipped through:
- Biblical and Theological Formation: The program is designed to foster wise theological and biblical thinking. Through a combination of readings, podcasts, social networking, and group conversations, Newbigin Fellows will be equipped to engage the diverse and complex culture of the Bay Area.
- Spirituality and Practice: The program will introduce the fellow to both ancient and contemporary means of spiritual formation and renewal, through a combination of readings and experiential elements. The focus is not only on personal spirituality, but communal spirituality – the embodiment of Christ within the Fellowship, and for the sake of the City.
- Relational Connection:The program recognizes the paralysis of loneliness in our city despite the many modern means of connectedness. We meet this need by fostering community within the Fellowship, and by providing mentoring and peer support along the way. The relationships developed here will be lasting ones. The Newbigin Fellowship is a nine-month program for individuals who have at least two years experience in the workforce.
The Newbigin Fellowship involves a nine-month commitment from September to May. During the nine-month period, the Newbigin Fellows will be invited into an intensive exploration of Christian worldview, spirituality, and community:
- Weekly: Fellows are assigned to a cohort of 6-8 people with 2-3 Newbigin Fellowship alumni leaders. Cohorts meet weekly to discuss weekly readings and/or videos and podcasts.
- Monthly: Six Saturday events, which may include city excursions, in-depth personal engagement through personality inventories and spiritually formative experiences, interaction with a noted thinker/writer, and more. All Saturday events last from 9:00am to 3:00pm unless otherwise noted. Below is the 2016-2017 Schedule. We are currently booking our speakers for 2017-2018 and will provide an updated list when finalized.
- October 15, The Enneagram with Kirsten Oates (10:00am-3:00pm)
- November 5, The Bible as Narrative with Dr. Pete Enns
- December 3 or 10, Faith + Work with Dave Evans
- February 11, Relationships & Sexuality with Dr. Liz Lin
- March 11, Social Justice with Rev. Ben McBride
- April 22, Faith & Science with Dr. Jeffrey Schloss
3. Retreats: Three retreats devoted to a specific topic or spiritual discipline.
- September 10-11, 2016 in Marshall, CA (Saturday through Sunday at noon)
- January 20-22, 2017 in Burlingame, CA (Friday evening through Sunday at noon)
- May 19-21, 2017 in South Lake Tahoe, CA (Friday evening through Sunday at noon)
Social Events: Each year we organize a few social events. These are not part of the curriculum, but a great way to continue building relationships. A major event is the annual holiday party with both current and alumni Newbigin Fellows.
Cost: Tuition is $2000 for the year, with limited scholarships available. We welcome donors who are willing to provide scholarships and to support the Fellowship in its important work. If you would like to provide a scholarship, please click here.
At the conclusion of your Fellowship, you will be equipped to live more fully and wisely in your faith, vocation, and relationships. Your perspective on life, culture, and the ideas that shape us will have grown immeasurably, with a deeper understanding of how the narrative of Scripture meets the narrative of postmodernity. You will inherit a community of fellow travelers who know you and who have challenged you (…and will continue to challenge you). You will have been shaped by spiritual practices which have benefited Christians for centuries, and which add vibrancy and texture to your spirituality. You will benefit from a more honest assessment of yourself – your brokenness as well as your gifts. And will be able to engage more wisely and faithfully as a public Christian in your sphere of influence.
“One pleasant surprise this year was the amazing sense of community I felt from the people in the Fellowship. I had the privilege of going on a 9-month journey surrounded by caring, engaging individuals, who have invited me to learn and grow alongside them while examining current events and timely topics from a Christian perspective. The members of the Fellowship pushed me outside my comfort zone and made me reexamine why I believed what I believe.”
Newbigin Fellowship Alumni 2011-12
“The experience taught me how the Gospel sheds light on the grandest and the most intimate parts of life. Reading Lesslie Newbigin made me seriously reassess the assumptions behind my own faith, and grapple with what it means for the church to be in mission amidst our culture.
Other authors taught me to envision the role that faith can play in social justice, and how to think productively about the relationship between faith and science. Ultimately though, I grew the most from what I learnt about myself amidst a community of intentional believers who were willing to be vulnerable and love each other as Jesus commanded. It taught me how the Gospel redeems my own brokenness, and how I can love people better given what Jesus has done for me.”
Newbigin Fellowship Alumni 2011-12
“My wife Shiying and I joined the Newbigin Fellowship together this past year and it was a great experience! Taking this journey as a couple, we now have a common vocabulary for talking about and understanding our Christian story, we have practices and frameworks for wrestling with our sins and discovering our true selves, and we have a revitalized vision of the good news of the gospel for the world we live in.”
Newbigin Fellowship Alumni 2013-14
I came into the Newbigin Fellowship thinking I had a pretty good theological foundation for getting through life as a Christian in Bay Area, but was proven wrong when I read the texts, listened to the speakers, and engaged with my cohort members. Throughout the past nine months we have wrestled with our own stories, the story of God in the Bible, and the story of the church in the world. In engaging the material throughout the fellowship alongside my cohort, I realized that we all are so very different, spiritually, academically, professionally, etc. This difference used to bother me, but it has proven to be a blessing as I have learned as much from my fellow cohort members as I have from Leslie Newbigin, James Smith, and other authors we have read. Truly, the Holy Spirit was present in our group!
Newbigin Fellowship Alumni 2013-14
“Newbigin has changed the way I think about the Bible, how I relate to the church’s liturgies, how I view and deal with my own shortcomings, how I see my role at work and in daily activities, and so much more. This is one of the most valuable things I’ve ever done.”
Newbigin Fellowship Alumni 2014-15
“And through this year I’ve learned that, miraculously and with infinite grace, Christ is mercifully calling me to a new starting place. It is a place where I can be hidden with Him. Here, I am not subject to my own ‘starting places’–the mental and emotional baggage I have accumulated over the years–but can have a fresh start as His beloved child and daughter. Here, when the world renders me homeless, I can be at home with Him, because indeed, Lord, in the words of St. Augustine, ‘my heart is restless until it finds its rest in Thee.’”
More than a decade ago, a group of urban Christians pondered what it would mean to prepare individuals for wise and relevant Christian engagement in the city of San Francisco, as well as other strategic urban centers across the world. Today, that vision is a reality in The Newbigin Fellowship.
The name of this fellowship is inspired by the British missionary-theologian Lesslie Newbigin, whose work in India and influential writing on the Gospel and culture spurred a movement of men and women motivated to see the West as a mission field. Newbigin believed that lay people in the local congregation would be the driving force behind societal change. Newbigin writes, “If the gospel is to challenge the public life of our society…it will only be by movements that begin with the local congregation in which the reality of the new creation is present, known, and experienced, and from which men and women will go into every sector of public life to claim it for Christ, to unmask the illusions which have remained hidden and to expose all areas of public life to the illumination of the gospel. But that will only happen as and when local congregations renounce an introverted concern for their own life, and recognize that they exist for the sake of those who are not members, as sign, instrument and foretaste of God’s redeeming grace for the whole life of society.” (from The Gospel in a Pluralist Society)
The program is also influenced by the vision of William Wilberforce and his circle of friends, “the Clapham group,” who promoted social reform and, most notably, the abolition of slavery in late 18th, early 19th century England. Within this fellowship were men and women of influence in business, politics, and the arts who longed to see the justice and mercy of Christ meet the injustices of slavery, poor work conditions, inadequate child labor laws, and poverty. Their efforts impacted education and orphanages, hospitals and prisons. In recent years, followers of Jesus have spearheaded reforms such as the Civil Rights Movement and fostered help for people in need through initiatives geared towards addressing poverty, sex trafficking, sustainable living, and much more.