Another Fellows’ year completed...our 7th year. I look back to when we first started in the fall of 2010, and I'm overwhelmed at all the wonderful memories of God’s provision and the hard and beautiful ways He has worked in our Fellows’ lives.
It reminds me of the quote from A Tale of Two Cities: "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times." There were probably times this year that I’m sure the Fellows were thinking the same thing.
But isn’t that how all of life is? Wonderful things happening alongside painful and hard things. But it’s walking through both that grows and strengthens us.
Among other things, the Charlotte Fellows program trains Christian leaders to take up strategic places in the marketplace to do good work for the kingdom. This is an aspect of the Christian life that doesn’t get a lot of attention in the church, and it’s a problem the Fellows program seeks to remedy. But as well-intentioned as it may be, this push can fail in two ways.
When I decided to do the Charlotte Fellows Program, the part I was most anxious about was living with a host family. In college, I was incredibly blessed with a rich community, and for that I am forever thankful. But because of it the transition after college was much harder; the people who I’d done life with for the past four years were scattered across the country. (Things people don’t tell you—leaving college and your people is HARD!!!)
We were told that "Roundtable" was just a weekly dinner where a different person from the Charlotte community would come and share their story of faith. We should have braced ourselves for something more powerful.
This post was written by Elizabeth Hewitt, Former Charlotte Fellow, class of 2014. She currently lives in Birmingham, Alabama with her husband Ben, where she works as a product manager in corporate banking.
2017 is here and it already seems to be flying by! We had a great and very busy first semester and this second half of the year looks to be even busier. The Fellows are all at their chosen churches, plugging in and meeting lots of new friends.
This is the thing: When you hit 28 or 30, everything begins to divide. You can see very clearly two kinds of people. On one side, people who have used their 20s to learn and grow, to find God and themselves and their dreams, people who know what works and what doesn’t, who have pushed through to become real live adults. Then there’s the other kind, who are hanging onto college, or high school even, with all their might. They’ve stayed in jobs they hate, because they’re too scared to get another one. They’ve stayed with men or women who are good but not great, because they don’t want to be lonely. They mean to find a church, they mean to develop intimate friendships, they mean to stop drinking like life is one big frat party. But they don’t do those things, so they live in an extended adolescence, no closer to adulthood than when they graduated.
Danae joins us from the great state of Oregon. She graduated from college in 2014 and has spent the past two years working with junior high and high school students. Wanting more clarity of where Jesus is calling her, she decided to join the Charlotte Fellows program. She is so grateful for a year set apart to learn more of what it looks like to follow Jesus in the context of such a supportive community.
For this Q + A we corresponded with Davis Ridley, Former Charlotte Fellow class of 2012. Davis currently lives in Dallas, TX with his wife, Chelsea, and their newborn child, Bear Samuel Ridley. He works in business development for Encore Live, a full-service event production company. Before spending nine months in the Fellows Program, Davis graduated from Clemson University.
How did you first hear about the Charlotte Fellows Program?
I work in IT Integrations in Washington D.C., which is a fancy way of saying I make new IT projects work for the State Department. It's a big challenge. I work long hours with my team to make our client happy and improve our little corner of the world. I also work in an office with colleagues that do not pray, have never been to church, and actively walk away from Jesus Christ. College does not equip you for that; the Charlotte Fellows Program does.
Welcome to our 7th Fellows year! It’s hard to believe we’re at the six-week mark already.
One of the things we’re already thankful for is the great start we had at our Welcome Retreat. David and Catie Eller hosted the Fellows for a wonderful weekend at Lake James, and we loved every minute of it! It was a wonderful time of getting to know each other and having fun. And with two Tennessee alums in this class, we’re going to see a lot of orange this year.
Dear friends of the Fellows,
The Charlotte Fellows Class of 2016 is done! Many have already moved to other cities, and I’m sad to see them go. Thankfully, several are staying here in Charlotte—so there is still a reason to rejoice. Overall, it was a great year with a great class of Fellows. It was also a year with several unexpected turns. But the biggest highlight has been seeing God’s provision throughout the whole year.
During my time as a Charlotte Fellow, every Monday we gathered at Matt Avery’s house for Fellows Life Together — FLT. From the beginning, it quickly became one of my favorite parts of the program. We would pair off, cook dinner for each other, laugh, and catch up. But we also shared real issues we were facing and prayed for each other.
During my time in the Fellow’s Program, I was amazingly blessed by the programs and relationships that were put into place for me. Both my host family and my mentor were wonderful and played an amazing part in God’s story for my life. Both of these relationships still play an active and important role in my life, and I cannot imagine life without them!
If you are facing some really tough times in your work right now, don’t let the termites of discouragement eat away at your soul. Realize that God wants to use the difficulties you’re facing to forge greater Christlikeness and spiritual maturity in your life. Your work is not an obstacle to your spiritual growth; it’s a God-sized opportunity for you to grow.