Blue Ridge Fellows live in rich community. Everything we do is modeled after the fact that God himself is a community: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit have spent all of eternity loving, serving and enjoying each other. It is because we were made by that God and in his image that we too long for community.
Knowing that, everything we do in the Blue Ridge Fellows is done to build, deepen, and delight in relationships with one another, and those God calls us to love and serve. Whether it’s sharing meals, discussing deep issues, studying theology, or water-skiing at Smith Mountain Lake, Blue Ridge Fellows develop deep bonds and lifelong friendships.
Pursuing a vocation is one of the ways we bear God’s image. God works, so we work and in so doing, we fulfill his creation mandate to fill the earth and subdue it, establishing his dominion. Blue Ridge Fellows are assisted in finding a three to four day-a-week paid internship in their chosen field where they can serve their employer, develop their skills, and practice seamless faith.
There are numerous industries represented in Roanoke in which Fellows can live out their calling, including: Norfolk Southern, Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital, Synchrony, Corvesta, Kroger, Allstate, Yokohama, General Electric, Virginia Tech, Meridian Bank.
The home base for each Blue Ridge Fellow is, well, a home. Fellows receive far more than a room with a bed: They get a home with a family. Psalm 68:6 says, "God sets the lonely in families." We do too. Some families are empty nesters with extra bedrooms they'd love to fill. Others have children who would be blessed by an older godly "sister," or a big "brother" to model what it looks like to walk with Christ. But each family will provide a warm place to live, sleep, eat, laugh, grow and mature.
Jesus Christ gathers his church in every time and space so that we, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ. Blue Ridge Fellows live this out in the rich community of the Church of the Holy Spirit, a thriving 1,200 member Anglican church in Roanoke, Virginia.
The Church of the Holy Spirit serves the Blue Ridge Fellows, and the Fellows serve the church. Fellows volunteer in either the youth program (middle school and high school), or the children's ministry (K-5) to help these young image bearers flourish in Christ. Over nine months each Blue Ridge Fellow sets a pattern and a trajectory for lifelong, vital engagement in a local body of believers where God builds his people, and manifests his glory to the world.
There is something soul-satisfying about rich discussion and shared fellowship over a delicious meal. This combination is enjoyed every week as the Blue Ridge Fellows gather for meal fellowship in the home of the Blue Ridge Fellows directors.
Every Tuesday we imitate the format made famous by Francis Schaeffer at L’Abri as we gather to discuss the beauty of Christ and how he brings purpose and meaning to every area of life. Jesus makes the lovely things sweeter and the miseries more bearable; he defines masculinity and femininity; he is just, and the one who justifies the wicked; he reconciles people to God and races to one another. All of which and more the Blue Ridge Fellows discuss and ponder while enjoying a meal together with the director’s family.
The Bible is telling one story. It’s a story about Jesus and our need for Him. This story runs throughout the Old and New Testament narratives, and it is reinforced in the law, poetry, prophecy, and epistles. Every passage in some way draws our attention to our fallenness and Christ’s solution to it.
In fact, the Bible is not primarily a book about what we must do; it is about what Jesus has done and will do for us. When properly understood, all of Scripture calls us to find life in Jesus. Every story whispers his name.
Unfortunately our instincts often compel us to read the bible moralistically, driven by the assumption that if there is a story, we are the hero of it. Each week the Blue Ridge Fellows gather to unlearn these instincts and to develop new skills to read the scriptures Christocentrically, so that our hearts might burn within us, as Christ is revealed.
God calls us to love him with our minds. To do so we need to develop the ability to think rigorously and biblically about the world around us. As C.S. Lewis observed, “Good philosophy must exist, if for no other reason, because bad philosophy needs to be answered.” One day a week Blue Ridge Fellows take a class together through Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Fellows attend a lecture together, discuss the reading and complete written assignments. Enrichment classes cover a broad introduction to theology. Fellows can pay an extra fee to receive graduate credit for the courses.
God developed Joshua through his mentor Moses. He developed Ruth through her mentor Naomi. He developed Elisha through his mentor Elijah. We all need older, more experienced guides to come along side us and model the Christian life.
Therefore, Blue Ridge Fellows are also connected with godly, mature, engaging mentors from the congregation of Church of the Holy Spirit. Fellows meet regularly with their mentors to process all that they are learning and to receive guidance for the next steps in life as they work out what it means to live a seamless faith in Christ.