Reflections on the Fellows Program

I’m a believer. After a year on staff with the Newbigin Fellows program, I have seen minds transformed, hearts laid bare, the gospel freshly encountered, and surprising friendships bloom. A nine month commitment to carefully curated spiritual practice, relational discipleship, and theological exploration transforms each of the Fellows in ways that God alone can predict.
Christianity is a lifelong journey of formation in relationship—relationship with God and relationship with other people. This past year I watched as the Newbigin Fellows supported each other week by week in the sacred business of wrestling with God and with human attempts at articulating God’s story.
The Fellows engaged a cycle of questions that drew us all in: What if the way God related and revealed to people in the past is different than I assumed? What happens if I try on a spiritual practice that other people have used for centuries to structure their engagements with God? What if the gospel discloses a different sort of God who is asking different sorts of commitments from me than what I grew up hearing?
These are not safe questions. Rarely will they leave us as they found us. But they can be asked and engaged and received and answered in safe spaces, carefully curated to allow the Spirit to work as the Spirit sees fit in each individual. Such a space was the Newbigin Fellowship that I witnessed this last year.
There was no one “product” of this program. People who came in with intellectual queries left with transformations of the heart. People who came in to learn left with intimate friendships. People who didn’t know what to expect had their theological narrative retooled. This was a space carved out for the Spirit to work as the Spirit would. That’s why, after a year of working alongside the Fellows, I’m a believer in the Newbigin Fellows program.

Daniel J. Kirk has been the Pastoral Director for the Newbigin Fellowship since July, 2016.