The Boston Fellows program helps churches equip their emerging lay leaders to serve God and neighbor in the working world. We have very specific approaches to their spiritual formation, their thinking, their development as a community encouraging one another—all with a focus on their secular workplace as their place of service.
Most of the Fellows are young men and women in the professional world, though we are delighted to have people from any craft or trade. Here are some highlights from their year-end evaluations of how they benefited.
“The program has encouraged me to think of ways in which I can best serve God through the daily work that I do, but even more importantly it has reminded me that what ultimately matters is my love for God and willingness to honor him.”
“This year, the program helped me to rediscover the importance of the spiritual disciplines for hearing God’s voice and being daily reminded of and strengthened by the truth of the Gospel.”
“The spiritual life is intertwined with daily and work life, and it is the duty of the Christian to engage with the good-but-fallen world around to prepare it for the ultimate restoration in Christ.”
“[The program] has also encouraged me by providing hope for why parts of my job that no one sees it’s still seen and recognized by God (e.g., caring for a dying person with no one else around to see). Mostly, I think our discussions about the inherent goodness of work has laid a foundation for me to pursue excellence.”
“The program has challenged me to question the ways in which I idolize work or expect too much from my work, and to instead consider how I can deny myself and glorify God in my work. It’s led me to consider ways that I can love my colleagues and reflect the Gospel in a workplace that’s far from perfect – how to interact charitably and effectively with those who are very different from me (but still made in God’s image!), how to create order in a chaotic institution (instead of shutting down or becoming self-protective), how to speak truth and be humble for the benefit of my team and company, and how to set boundaries on work in order to be faithful to other callings in my life (even when this might not make sense to work-addicted colleagues).”
“[Boston Fellows program] has provided a much welcome broadening of how to think about and behave as a Christian (social) worker. How? It involves much more than telling a coworker about Jesus over coffee or something. It’s the “yes AND” idea that I love – yes, talk about your faith when given opportunity, AND the work itself matters to the church and to God!”
“… helped me to more genuinely and deeply care about the spiritual well-being of my coworkers.”
“The depth of the material was fantastic, including Kelly’s understanding of the Biblical story and how the matter of work fits into it. The conversations provoked were very stimulating.”
“It has made me think more intentionally about my place at work in the context of God’s meta-narrative. I have also prayed for my workplace, my place in it, and those I work with, more than ever before. I have been equipped better to see God at work in jobs that I don’t feel stimulated by, or particularly called to. At the same time I feel like my sense of what is wrong with the workplace is sharpened. It makes me long for a vocational arrangement (for the world, not just for me!) that uses people’s gifts well, places people where they ought to be, and where work and vocation more closely reflect God’s intention for it.”
“The program has introduced me to a group of Christians who truly love and are concerned about serving him. They have encouraged me and been a blessing and community as I seek to Live out the Christian life.”
“I think the BF program had done an amazing job of guiding me to seek God more methodically while demonstrating how to walk with God through our day-to-day activities…. I am deeply grateful for a supportive and wise group of people with whom I share openly about my professional challenges and discuss how I can turn to God for help and guidance. Moreover, I am thankful for the opportunity to hear, learn and closely observe how [other Fellows] pray and tackle their individual challenges.”
“The Boston fellows program has contributed greatly to my walk with God and spiritual growth. It has provided his social context in which I can try to support others in their Christian life journey and they can help guide me as well. I found that this happens well through our weekly cohort meetings in which we debrief to others about how our walk with God throughout the week has been, and we break off into prayer groups in order to pray for each other and provide encouragement to one another.”
The Fellows themselves have helped us understand how to improve the program: We need to keep our objectives and formational plan in front of them more, vary our approach, and the voices represented, rework the mentoring program, and tweak some activities. Lots of room for growth! But once again this year, the evaluations were overwhelmingly positive!
Friends, all this is possible because God has used you to give and pray and participate in many other ways. Please pray for us as we complete admission of next year’s cohort of young leaders learning to serve God and neighbor in the working world.
~ Kelly Alvin Madden, Ph.D., M.Div.
Director, Boston Fellows
Help the Boston Fellows, and me, and all your children today, Father, to live a life worthy of you — to seek to bear fruit in every good work, to grow in the knowledge of God, to be strengthened with all power, to have great endurance and patience, and in all things to give thanks to you; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.