Discover how the story of God relates to you and our city, under the mentorship of  Knoxville's finest.

On Fridays, the Fellows participate in graduate level coursework.  We have formed a partnership with Johnson University in which the Fellows can earn 12 hours of graduate credit (6 each semester) toward a Masters Degree in Intercultural Studies. This educational aspect of the program is designed to root the Fellows in their faith as they are sent out into their places of work, their neighborhoods, and their overall places of influence. We strive to know the story of God and how our worldview shapes our decisions, large and small. We inquire as to the principles of true leadership. We aim to understand God's heart for the city around us. And as we learn, we find ourselves being transformed along the way.



Principle Based Leadership
In spite of all that has been written about leadership, there is no universally accepted definition of a leader. Contrary to popular perception, a leader is not just the one at the top of the organization chart. Anyone who has the ability to influence how others think, feel and act can exercise a form of leadership.  True leadership models the way, inspires vision and   encourages the heart. Principled-centered leadership introduces a new style of leadership development. This inside-out approach is based on the development of self - that we center our lives and our leadership on certain “true north” principles; principles that are universal and timeless. The principles of true leadership cannot come from men, nor from the imaginations of men. God is the source of all principles. Principle-centered leaders are men and women of character who work on the basis of God’s principles and build those principles into the center of their lives, into the center of their relationships with others, into the center of their agreements, into their management processes, and into their personal mission statements.      


Reading the Old Testament Devotionally
The men and women in Knoxville Fellows program are not training to become pastors. They are preparing to serve God in the community as teachers, social workers, bankers, lawyers, doctors, coaches, mothers, fathers, and friends. Sustaining a lifetime of service requires an intimate knowledge of God. We come to know God through scripture. The Scripture, however, is a challenging book to read. it's not always easy to know what the text means. It's easy to be confused. It can be hard to hear God's voice speak clearly through the text. This is especially true in the Old Testament. The purpose of this course is to give you enough familiarity with the Old Testament so that you will know how to read the Old Testament in a way that feeds your soul.


Seek the Peace of the City
God commanded the exiles living in Babylon to “seek the peace of the city”  -Jeremiah 29:7.   Why does this command apply to believers living in cities today? What does God mean when he speaks of this kind of peace? What does a city look like when it experiences God’s peace?  How can we partner with God in seeking the peace of our city? What are obstacles that keep cities from experiencing God’s peace? This course will explore answers to these questions through readings, guest lectures, and field trips. 


Beyond Christ and Culture: Rethinking the Church and Contemporary Society
This course examines the relationship between the Christian Church and contemporary culture, specifically the challenges that this culture makes to the Church's life and mission and the Church's response to these challenges.  We will give special attention to the effects of Enlightenment "atheism" on Western culture, as well as the fall of modern foundationalism and its effects on post-modern culture. Since every culture uses facets of that culture, such as media, art, political structures, and educational systems to represent that culture’s fundamental picture of itself, we will first look at how contemporary American culture represents itself. We will then turn to Christianity and ask what kind of representation Christians should strive for and what ways are Christians trying to attain this kind of representation. The ultimate goal will be to think theologically about what it means for followers of Christ to inhabit the world in all its complexity.  

Capstone Project

Seek the Peace of the City - a project management assignment asking “How will you seek the Peace of the City”?


The purpose of the project is to provide Fellows the opportunity to:

• Create, develop and organize a tangible project that answers the question; how can I be a source of shalom to my people, to my city, to my community? 
• Integrate both coursework and experiential learning through service, research, and volunteering
• Reflect with peers, staff and faculty, on experiences and academic links discovered through community engagement
• Develop critical analytical skills and explore underlying problems that face agencies and communities that serve the city.

Meet the Instructors


Dr. Mark Weedman
Mark Weedman earned his B.A. in Biblical Studies from Milligan College in 1990, his Master of Divinity in New Testament from Emmanuel Christian Seminary in 1994, and a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Marquette University in 2004. He was a lecturer in theology at Marquette University from 1990-2000. He was a professor of Biblical and Historical Theology at Crossroads College from 2000-2013. Mark has been published extensively. In 2007, he was the recipient of the “Colin Gunton Memorial Essay Prize” from the Society for the Study of Theology. He is a member of the North American Patristics Society, the Society of Biblical Literature, and the American Academy of Religion. Mark and his wife, Michelle, have four daughters. 


Dr. Doug Banister; Pastor of All Souls Church
Doug Banister, Knoxville Fellows’ resident scholar is a writer, pastor, mentor, and teacher. He currently is senior pastor at All Souls Church, in the heart of downtown Knoxville and served as senior pastor of Fellowship Church in Knoxville for fifteen years. He is the author of four books: The Word and Power Church, Sacred Quest, Family Business, and God on Earth. Doug has a Masters of Divinity from Talbot School of Theology, Masters in Medieval Studies from the University of Tennessee, Doctor of Ministry from Gordon Conwell Divinity School and a Bachelor’s of Science from Northwestern University. This past year, Doug released his new e-book, Seek the Peace of the City: Ten Ways to Bless the Place Where You Live.

Dr. Jim Bailey; Principal of Directions Consultation, Executive Director of The Cross Greek Student Ministries
Jim has devoted his career to helping individuals identify their unique vocational gifts and the job tasks and work environments they would thrive in. He also helps non-profits and businesses structure themselves to carry out their vision and strategic goals and best use their employees’ abilities and strengths. Typical clients are organizations that want to make strategic decisions about getting the right people in the right positions to move forward. The Cross is a ministry to students in the Greek community at the University of Tennessee with a mission to introduce them to the good news of Jesus Christ and equip them to follow him and live as his disciple where ever life may take them. 


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Jim Branch, Core Leadership
Jim grew up in Knoxville and graduated from the University of Tennessee with a degree in Marketing. He was on staff with Young Life for nine years in Columbia, SC, Charlotte, NC, and Chattanooga, TN. Afterwards he moved back to Knoxville to join the staff of Cedar Spring Presbyterian Church as Director of Student Ministries. After doing this for ten years, Jim returned to Young Life staff in Knoxville for nine more years. In 2011, he started Core Leadership, an organization that focuses on spiritual formation and nurturing of individuals in leadership positions. Jim has earned a Masters in Theology from Fuller Theological Seminary.