Empowering New CBF Clergy to Thrive in Ministry

The CBF Fellows program assists Baptist clergy who are in their "first-call" in making a healthy transition from seminary to congregational ministry. The goal of CBF Fellows is to offer these new Baptist ministers essential resources not just to guard against burnout or isolation, but to empower them to thrive as congregational pastors. A second and equally important goal is for CBF to support and engage each Fellow’s congregation during the two-year cohort, encouraging them as they discern the best way to nurture the minister that God has called to serve in their community.

CBF Fellows seeks to build upon the foundation laid during the crucial training years of seminary/divinity school to help congregational ministers connect the academic to the practical work of the church. As a cohort, CBF Fellows are provided with practical resources through continuing education opportunities. These opportunities consist primarily of five face-to-face gatherings with peer learning & guidance between retreats, individual sessions with a trained coach, and exposure to CBF events to allow for maximum access to CBF staff and resources. To increase the program's reach and effectiveness, congregations commit to providing encouragement for their Fellow and all expenses required for the minister to attend the CBF General Assembly each year of participation.

The Priorities of CBF Fellows Include:

  • Flourishing - CBF believes congregations thrive when their ministers thrive.
  • Collaborating - CBF believes peer learning is a marker of healthy ministry. Collaboration promotes pastoral excellence and congregational capacity.
  • Coaching - CBF believes executive coaching is a vital component to assist young ministers in navigating their own anxiety and stress related to congregational ministry.
  • Wellbeing - CBF believes strong, healthy congregations are the cornerstone of the Fellowship. This includes ministers who are holistically working toward their own wellbeing.

Who are CBF Fellows?

CBF Fellows are clergy who are committed to life-long congregational ministry as their vocational calling. They are Christian clergy who will graduate or have graduated from an accredited seminary or divinity school within the past five years. They are individual members of CBF and/or members of a CBF partner congregation. They are willing to learn from their peers, sharing life together with them as they navigate the joys and sorrows of congregational ministry. CBF Fellows are also part of nurturing communities of faith that understand vocational ministry is a unique calling given by God - both to the person and to the congregation. Laity are essential to the wellbeing of ministers as they offer collaborative feedback and guidance so that both the minister and the congregation thrive in these early years together.

We are excited to announce a new cohort for 2024-25. You can learn more about Fellows in the video below.


How Do I Apply for CBF Fellows?

Recent seminary/divinity school graduates (preferably within the past five years) or soon-to-be graduates who have expressed a clear call to serve vocationally as a minister in a local congregation are invited to apply. Applications are received online through October 16, 2023. The new Cohort will meet on the following dates in 2024 (and similarly-timed dates in 2025). Please do not apply if you cannot make all of these dates your priority:

  • February 25-29 (Atlanta)
  • June 18-21 (General Assembly)
  • October 20-24


  • Must have graduated from an accredited seminary or divinity school within the past five years.
  • Must be an individual member of CBF or member of a church in partnership with and sending contributions to CBF.
  • Submit the online application followed by resume and two (2) letters of recommendation (one personal and one professional) emailed to kadams@cbf.net with subject line “Fellows 2024.”
  • A personal interview (most likely using Zoom) with CBF Fellows Selection Committee member(s) will be arranged with you after all application materials are received.
  • Upon acceptance, churches will be asked to sign a covenant indicating their commitment to providing the financial support for their participating pastor to attend General Assembly.