The inaugural Credo House Cafe has been incredibly successful. It represents a very odd, out of the box, crazy vision to make a difference by providing a unique way to reach the culture, unite the church, and deepen the faith of believers. I credit so much of its success to two people: Carrie Hunter and Tim Kimberley. Both of them have done so much to deepen the cafe’s programs of theological discipleship. I don’t know what I would do without them. But that is not what this is about.
Our hope is that one day we have Credo Houses serving the church in hundreds of places. The Credo House “Fellow” is the name we’re using to describe the ministry leaders of current and future Credo Houses. I am the “Fellow” of Credo House Edmond.
In future Credo Houses (the planting of which is primarily a matter of funding), each “cafe” will be run by 1) a “Fellow” and 2) a coffee house/book store manager called the Credo House “Monk” (since monks invented coffee!). Kelcy is our “monk” at Credo House Edmond. He is showing himself to be a monk of all monks. In a sense, the Fellow is like the senior pastor of the Credo House, carrying many of the unique gifts which such a job would demand; the Monk is like the executive pastor. 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 provided at his Credo House. This would include his regular teaching, but also include scheduling seminars, special events (like open houses), and scholars to appear as special guest teachers, 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 will 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 will be representative of the larger Credo House Network, which will focus on reaching our communities with the truth of Jesus Christ. Included in this will be contributions (articles, blog posts, podcasts) to the main Credo House Ministries site, as well as submissions 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 meetings will rotate among cities with established Credo Houses.
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.
Finally, the Fellow will 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 House. 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 will need to be raised for all local events, the Fellow’s well-being, and planting of future Credo Houses. Fundraising will often be as simple as letting people know, after a lesson or special even,t that the Credo House needs support to exist. 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 the first ten to twenty Fellows will already be 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, for the most part, this will be 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 his 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 must represent the truth of the Gospel with a peaceable and unflustered spirit. Think 007 of Theology. Calm, cool, collected. 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. 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!