This past Labor Day weekend marked the beginning of Redeemer’s newest initiative to invest in the next generation of cultural leaders. Twenty-four New Yorkers traveled to a retreat at in Princeton, N.J., to begin the Gotham Fellowship—an intensive nine-month Fellows Program focusing on personal renewal, theological grounding, and worldview development in the context of committed community. The Fellows represent a diverse group of professions and include teachers, dancers, lawyers, talent scouts, architects, Starbucks managers, entrepreneurs, bankers, and actresses, working in both profit and non-profit fields. Despite their various vocational callings, they all share a common passion to see the power of the gospel renew the world in which they live.
The theme for the inaugural retreat was “Covenant Renewal.” In the Old Testament the people of Israel would often assemble before the Lord to renew the covenant they had made with God. Focusing on Joshua 24:1-28, we designed the retreat to focus on three elements of covenant renewal: remembrance, response, and repentance. As they considered God’s faithfulness they meditated on that unilateral command that Joshua posed to the Israelites, “Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve…”
I want to close with a retreat reflection blog from one of our Fellows that summarizes well the struggle that lies before anyone who would seek to live for Christ:
“…my faith tells me entering into this kind relationship with God is the only true thing I can do. If I’m not choosing God, I am choosing something else. But whatever that something is, it’s not entering into a love covenant with me. It’s not choosing to be my friend; it wants me for its slave. And so I shall endeavor to live this out, trusting not in my own determination, but his Grace to enable me. There is much for me to figure out, and that’s where I need “us”. I’m blinded to my own flaws: the fine line between doing my duties for God and doing them to find some identity not rooted in Him; being in relationships to serve me while calling it a ministry... So the question to myself and to us, will we enter into this scary covenant, which demands ours entire selves, body and soul? Will we trust that there is our delight and satisfaction? If you’re reading this and feeling a bit hesitant, like I am: “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame”. He bore a bigger burden to keep this covenant. I’m scared, and I’m in.”
You can learn more about Redeemer’s Gotham Fellows at www.faithandwork.org/fellows