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What is a Credo House “Fellow”?

The Credo House “Fellow” is the concept we have envisioned to describe the ministry leaders of future Credo Houses. Each Credo House will be run by 1) a “Fellow” and 2) a coffee house/book store manager called the Credo House “Monk” (since monks invented coffee!). In a sense, the Fellow is like the pastor of the Credo House, carrying many of the unique gifts which such a job would demand. But, as the Credo House is not a church, we have to be careful with this.

It might help to provide you a list of what the Credo House Fellow will do.

Teaching and Events

The Fellow will be responsible for all theological and biblical education which happens at his Credo House. This would include his regular teaching but also include scheduling of seminars, special events (like open houses), and scholars appearing as special guest teachers, seminars, special events (like open houses), as well as approval of regular bible studies, book studies, etc. He would also give tours of the Credo House and make a Luther Latte from time to time!

Local Church/Ministry Networking

As well, he would be in charge of networking with local churches and providing pastors with fellowships and continuing education. In this, he would be heavily involved with local church leadership, facilitating church colloquies for those intent on reaching their community with the Gospel. While discussions are ongoing right now about exactly what this looks like, our desire is for local churches to have “ownership” in the Credo House; therefore, we hope to have church liaisons who form a local Credo House board and aid the Fellow in the ministry and direction of the local Credo Houses.

For Credo Houses planted in college towns, networking responsibilities will also include making the Credo House known and available to college ministries such as Young Life, Campus Crusade for Christ, Baptist Student Union, etc.

Contributing to the Fellowship

The designation of “Fellow” represents not only the local leader’s status at his Credo House, but his relationship among other Credo House fellows. We will have a Fellowship of Fellows whose work is representative of the larger Credo House Network, which together contributes to scholarship intent on reaching our communities with the truth of Jesus Christ. Involved in this will be contributions to the main Credo House Ministries site, providing articles, blogs, and podcasts, as well as contributions to the Credo House Magazine (more someday!), etc. We will hold an annual meeting of Credo House Fellows (and “Associate Fellows” – more below) where we will fellowship, pray together, hug, and discuss relevant topics of theology. These meeting will rotate yearly from town to town with Credo House representation.

Expansion of the Fellowship

Certain Credo Houses will serve as training grounds for future Fellows. While in training, they will be called “Associate Fellows.” Not only will their theology, passion, and teaching be under the watchful shaping eye of the Fellow but, just as important, their attitude and disposition in dealing with controversial theological issues will be studied as well. Once the Associate Fellow has successfully finished his “residency,” he will be a prime candidate to become a Fellow at the next Credo House.

Fundraising

Finally, the Fellow would be responsible for raising awareness of his local Credo House’s financial support needs. This amounts to fundraising for the continued sustainability of the local Credo Houses. While we expect the Coffee, books, and (fun) merchandise to provide support for the Monks (and under-monks!) as well as the building, lights, and store, every Credo House will be under the umbrella of Credo House Ministries’ 501(c)3 not-for-profit status (FYI: while we understand the strength of this idea, we have no desire to turn this into a for-profit business or franchise this idea – too many problems to speak of for our ministry vision). Therefore, funding for all the local events, well-being of the Fellow, as well as the planting of future Credo Houses will need to be raised. Fundraising will often be as simple as letting people know after a lesson or special event that the Credo House needs support to exist. But it will also include special “Getting to Know Your Credo House” events and lunches with interested parties.

Who is the Next Fellow?

My desire is that many of the first ten to twenty Fellows will be among those who are already well known in the Evangelical community, have written extensively, and/or are already established because of their scholarship and grace. I have some in mind, but I ain’t tellin’ you now!

The qualifications of a Fellow:

1. Evangelical in confession: contrary to what some may believe, this will not be an issue of Reformed/Arminian, Dispensational/Covenant, Cessationist/Continuationist, Young Earth/Old Earth, etc. In fact, the more diversity we can get in these areas, the more I feel we will represent our evangelistic mission of majoring in the majors. The person and work of Jesus Christ, salvation by faith alone, and the final authority of the Scriptures will be nonnegotiable.

2. ThM or better from a qualified seminary: I realize there are a lot of people who don’t have their Th.M. who might be qualified, but this is going to be a standard.

3. Well-established and highly regarded for his ability to communicate. It is not simply about how much you know, but how well you communicate it.

4. A passion for truth in the areas of Biblical studies, theology, apologetics, and Christian philosophy. The Fellow does not need to be an expert in ALL of these, just well-grounded and informed and able to keep up and look back at the same time!

5. Pastoral. The Fellow must be patient, understanding, gentle, and have a passion for people (i.e. not just truth), desiring their faith to grow deeper everyday. A Fellow on his knees says so much.

6. Irenic. He cannot have a reputation for misrepresenting or belittling the faith of others, but through his calm, kind, understanding, and informed demeanor, he represents the truth of the Gospel with a peaceable and unflustered spirit. Think 007 of Theology. Okay, maybe that is not the best, but you get the picture. Irenic, not polemic.

7. All of the qualifications outlined in 1 Tim and Titus. Kaboom. That covers a lot.

There you have it: The Credo House Fellow in a nutshell. I may have missed a thing or two, but this is only the second draft to be written down.

I get so excited writing this I can hardly stand it!

27 Responses to “What is a Credo House “Fellow”?”

  1. Wow! It is so exciting.

  2. If we feel we meet this qualifications or are growing into them, what’s the next step?

    I just graduated from DTS (#1) with my Th.M (#2) and before that was in management at Starbucks (and still have an automated espresso machine). I received the apologetics award for my thesis, so I think that covers characteristics #3 and #4. It would be up to others to assess #5, #6, and #7, but I think I fit them well.

    I live in Orlando now and am part of an Acts 29 church in the area whose main campus shares a property with Campus Crusade for Christ. I am intrigued by your idea, and went to seminary in hopes of being apart of something like this one day (which is why I got the job at Starbucks first).

    I think I might be a good fit, but I’d love more info.

  3. Must have [be a male]?

    (edited by moderator)

  4. Boz,

    Yes, while we seek to be broadly Evangelical, there are certain commitments such as our complementarian stand that will necessarily be evidenced in the planting of Credo Houses. We don’t seek to make a dividing statement by this and understand that there are many good evangelicals who are egalitarians, but the choice has to be made. If we were to be “open” to having women as Credo House Fellows, that would be taking a definite stand in the other direction. Therefore, you can’t really be neutral in this area, if you know what I mean.

    But, once again, this decision is not meant to reflect the fact that we do see the complementarian issue as a secondary issue. We always do our best to reflect this in our ministries, even if neutrality is impossible.

  5. thanks for clarifying

  6. Given that you want representatives on both sides of many debates among believers, I find it somewhat strange that you want to only allow males to be leaders, esp. since this effort is not a church.

  7. Don, again, if we went in the other direction and said we were going to have women Fellows, a complementarian could come in and say the exact same thing! Can’t really win here. :)

  8. Yes, but you say you want a spectrum of different views on Creation, Spiritual Gifts, etc. Why not a spectrum on the gender debate? Why single this one (of many debates) out for special non-spectrum treatment?

    Why is something seen as good thing to do in terms other debates not seen in the same way on the gender debate?

  9. You want to claim to be “broadly evangelical” and yet are choosing to exclude some evangelicals? I do not get the logic.

  10. Especially since this is not a church, it really shouldn’t matter that a Credo Fellow has to be a male. It’s an organizational decision based on their theological positions. I get the impression that that particular Fellow could hold a egalitarian position and still be a fellow, just like he could hold a old earth creation view and still be a fellow. This doesn’t seem to be excluding anyone from participating in and supporting a Credo House in their area.

  11. Yes, that is right Nate. The fellow could be egalitarian. I would certainly have not problem with this.

    But, again, there are certain things that the stand must be taken one way or the other when the rubber meets the road in establishing something like this. If we allowed to have women, for better or worse, we would be percieved as taking an egalitarian stand. If we don’t allow for women, then we are percieved as taking a complementarian stand. Either way, the perception of a stand is there no matter what. Therefore, since I am a complementarian (as are most of the board members), this is the side we have to fall on.

    I understand that we will never escape all perceptions. Nor do I aspire to. It is impossible. However, whether the Fellow is egal or comp, arminian or calvinistic, they will be those who are able to lay these secondary issues aside for the sake of what we are trying to accomplish. This does not mean that the cannot have a strong opinion, just that it comes…

  12. Well, then do not claim to be broadly evangelical, claim to be comp.

  13. Must the Credo House “Monk” also be male? And under what justification? And if the answer is “no,” what will you call a female “Monk”?

    Also, if the answer is, “No, the ‘monk’ can be male or female,” will you still tacitly discourage female “monks” through use of unstated but real barriers? Will the monk be a man but the ones who serve the coffee be women?

  14. I am comp, but the ministry is not.

    The best analogy that I can hand you is like when you start a church. Let’s say that the church does not necessarily take a stand on the practice of tongues for today in doctrine. However, during the service, the decision has to be made one way or the other whether or not you are going to allow tongues. You may not have a stand doctrinally as a church, but you are going to have to take as stand practically.

    If you allow tongues, then you have taken a practical stand. If you don’t allow tongues, you are taking a practical stand. You can’t just say “Whatever happens, happens”.

    We are a teaching organization that is broadly Evangelical in our representative teaching and staff. However, when decisions must be made, for the most part, my commitments will be necessarily evident.

    So, Credo House Fellows will be Fellas :)

  15. Kristen,

    No. Monks can be gals. In fact, our current Monk is a gal. Any suggestions on how to feminize “Monk”?

  16. Michael, I don’t know. Maybe it would be best to just let “monk” be a gender-inclusive term for your purposes.

    Another question: what if you appointed an egal male as a “fellow” and he invited a woman guest teacher, or appointed a woman to teach some of the regular classes? Would you give the egal Fellow broad scope in the running of his own House? Or would he be prohibited from exercising his own conscience in this matter? And if he would be so prohibited, would not your allowance of the egalitarian position be untenable in practice, existing in theory only?

  17. But you are not claiming to be a church. As far as I know, comp doctrine has 2 main claims, only males for SOME church leaders and the husband is leader in the home, neither of which apply in this case. And there are comp churches that allow women to teach in some cases.

    So you are appearing to go beyond comp teaching to me. And because you are concerned how it might appear? It seems like an easy explanation for any that might be concerned.

    You get to create whatever type of organization you want, just do not think it is something it is not, such as broadly evangelical.

  18. Yes, the Fellow who is an egal can lead his Credo according to his convictions so long as they don’t become the focus of his ministry. Same thing with a comp Fellow.

  19. Don, it is not a church, you are right. And this does make this a little sticky. However, my statement about perception not withstanding, the Credo House will still be seen as an (somewhat) authoritative arm in the teaching of the local church. Therefore, the Fellow will carry a lot of the functionality of a pastor in the discharge of theology.

    This is the best place to go to to see where I come from.

    http://www.reclaimingthemind.org/blog/2010/02/why-women-cannot-be-head-pastors/

    Agree or not, it might help you to get into my head a bit.

    And you are right. In the end, I must make these type of decisions. And you must decide whether you believe we are broadly Evangelical. If not, it is your right to carry that perception and I don’t seek to argue with you about it.

  20. Hey Michael,

    I thought I submitted a response last night but I don’t see it. If for some reason you see two of my posts, just disregard one of them, either the former or latter since they will be almost identical.

    I love the idea of expanding your ministry but most likely in rural Maine the demographics and population base (or lack thereof) would not lend to an optimal outlet. When you speak of needing a ThM are you meaning that an MA or MDiv are not quite what you are seeking? My understanding is that the only higher degrees would be a ThD or a DMin, is that correct. Anyway, thanks for your ministry and the positive impact your material has had at our church. Blessings.

    Don

  21. One point about someone speaking-in-tongue. I believe it would harm any meeting of your sort, simply because it has to be everyone’s in-closet behavior (for edifying oneself ;-< ).

    For my self, I would not look for any meeting whatsoever where this kind thing is not clear. (cf. Paul's writing on those against eating meat, which was usually obtained after handled by pagan priests.) Sorry, it may be my own problem – abhorring charisma-maniacs /-freaks /-connoisseurs who dwell on such frivolous and shallow behavior, as if highly prized.

  22. I wish I had my ThM… :-/

  23. Richard Lubbers March 15, 2012 at 5:16 am

    And just who is it you’re worried about offending if you let women be Fellows? This is a very dividing stand. I didn’t know the war on women was part of Jesus’ message.

    While I am very interested in an internet based community of faith, I will stay away from this group. I am a male, graduated from seminary in 1980. But I don’t think you will be interested in any more of my input.

    RichardLubbers

  24. Funny how when a great ministry decides it is going to start branching out and spreading the gospel, the first hurdle it has to jump is the fellow believers.
    CMP. This is a great idea. I can’t wait to see your ministry begin to flourish.
    @ Don J
    you said “You want to claim to be “broadly evangelical” and yet are choosing to exclude some evangelicals? I do not get the logic.”

    I think you do not get the logic because you are not employing logic. The word ‘broadly’ does not mean ‘comprehensively’ or ‘completely’ but more like ‘widely’ or ‘generally’.

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