Fellows Farewell

by Matt Kleberg I’m not very good, even after nine months, at describing precisely what the Trinity Fellows Program is.

If I were to explain the Trinity Fellows Program on a professional resume it would probably look something like “a leadership development program coupling marketplace experience, volunteerism, and graduate studies focused on professional and personal development.” But that seems prickly- too impersonal. Describing it to distant cousins in Texas, the Fellows Program might sound like a bizarre combination of going to class, working a job, living with a family, volunteering at the church, and spending nearly every waking moment with twelve other young and restless souls. But that seems random and does no justice to the richness and intention of the program’s many facets.

The difficulty in describing the Fellows Program is that no simple description rightly captures the uniqueness and breadth of the Fellows experience.

So as the 2009 Fellows prepare to move on to whatever comes next, and the 2010 Fellows eagerly await the beginning of their program, I would like to pause and reflect on the year.

As our pastors here at Trinity have walked the church through Hebrews this year, we have come to identify with a picture of pilgrimage. As pilgrims in the wilderness, we find rest in the hope we have in Christ, in the Kingdom that is to come and is, in part, already here.  I am both humbled and emboldened by the notion that God chooses to invite such leaky vessels as myself to partake in the expansion of that Kingdom, and I am grateful to have experienced glimpses of the Kingdom during this Fellows year.  Those glimpses came from our families, classes, jobs, etc.

We discussed in our classes and various seminars the implications faith has on work and vocation. The cultural mandate in Genesis calls man to be fruitful, to multiply, to fill the earth, and to subdue it. From the very beginning scripture instructs people to work and to make culture- to teach, to practice medicine and law, to paint and play the trombone, to build bridges and develop better crops.  For Christians, this call to cultivate the earth makes no distinction between traditionally “secular” jobs and “ministry” jobs. Rather, we declare that the Christian can be a minister of Christ in nearly any work, participating in God’s work of redeeming all things.  What a beautiful image we see in Revelation 21, where every tear is wiped away and the new city of Jerusalem established in earth.

Not only did the Fellows benefit from such discussion in class, but we also had the privilege of putting education into practice in our jobs.  We contemplated the nature of God’s vocational calling on our lives and strived to be disciplined workers in our marketplace settings.

We spent a week in New Orleans joining hands with the local church, in its effort to rebuild a broken community. We heard from brothers and sisters like Amy Sherman and Dr. John Perkins who have devoted their lives to showing mercy and seeking justice for the oppressed. We also spent a week in New York discussing what role art plays in communicating truth and beauty.

Family has been an integral element of the Fellows year. Nine months ago a bunch of recent college graduates parked their cars in front of a bunch of Trinity family homes and unloaded all their belongings. At that moment, whether we realized it or not, we became a member of families who had decided to love and care for us before they even knew us.  These host families welcomed us into their lives, sharing the nice and neat parts along with the nitty and gritty.

Living in a home, spending intimate time with the other Fellows, and involving ourselves in the local church have all shaped an understanding of Christian community that goes beyond an affinity group.  The Kingdom is no affinity group, but rather a gathering of every tribe, every nation, every race.

The Trinity community has blessed the Fellows in innumerable ways-  many of you have invested in the program by mentoring and teaching us, by giving us shelter or jobs, or by sending your kids to youth group.

It truly is a comprehensive experience.

I have come to grasp a fuller understanding of what it means to be stewards of Creation, agents of redemption, and image-bearers of God.

Parable of talents

Worldview, engaging culture, biblical foundation

Now let us love mercy for the needy and justice for the oppressed and let us bear truth and see beauty and let our hearts grow for creation and creating and Christ is in all and Christ is all amen.