The John Wesley Fellowship Program
The centerpiece of AFTE has always been the John Wesley Fellowship program. Because commitment to the renewal of United Methodist theological education in a more evangelical direction is primary, AFTE seeks to provide the church with first-rate scholars trained in the classical Wesleyan tradition to fill faculty positions.
AFTE awards John Wesley Fellowships to assist gifted United Methodists in their doctoral studies at the finest universities. Candidates are selected for their commitment to Christ and the church as well as for their academic scholarship, educational excellence as teachers, and promise for intellectual leadership in renewing the church.
Fellowships are usually given for up to four years. The maximum grant is $15,000 per academic year. The exact amount of a grant is contingent upon a variety of factors, including whether the Fellow is also receiving a substantial fellowship from the enrolled doctoral institution; typically in those instances the fellowship is capped at $4,000, with a maximum of $7,500. In addition, AFTE at times provides the fellowship through a partner doctoral institution in order to enhance the potential for admission, in which case the total award would be $15,000. The selection committee also reserves the right to withdraw an offer of a fellowship if the applicant enrolls in a doctoral institution that, in the judgment of the committee, will not significantly advance the aims of the John Wesley Fellows Program. With approximately 16-20 Fellows in the program at any one time, AFTE typically spends more than $180,000 per year on direct grants.
The expense of the program is more than justified in light of the influence professors have. They affect hundreds of future United Methodist ministers during their careers. The possibilities for church renewal are exciting!
From the point of view of the students, the Fellowship program is absolutely necessary. The cost of graduate school has skyrocketed. Tuition, not counting books, fees, room or board, easily exceeds $15,000 annually. By the time students obtain their doctoral degree, debts can surpass $60,000. This level of debt is very difficult for modestly paid professors to repay.
The Harry Denman Fellowship Program
In partnership with The Foundation for Evangelism, AFTE also has available one fellowship for scholars in the United Methodist tradition who are pursuing doctoral studies in evangelism and related disciplines. The fellowship is intended to encourage and equip individuals who might one day teach evangelism in United Methodist or Wesleyan-tradition colleges and seminaries, and who are committed to the classical Christian faith and spiritual renewal of the church.
The funding for Denman Fellows is consistent with those of the John Wesley Fellows, and Denman Fellows participate fully in all of the activities of the John Wesley Fellows program.
Candidates interested in the Denman Fellows program apply using the standard application form for the John Wesley Fellowship, and include a separate one-page description of how your doctoral study is connected to the study and practice of evangelism.
The Christmas Conference
Each year, present and former John Wesley Fellows gather for personal and professional exchange. The undertaking of a doctoral program can be a lonely and grueling experience. The Christmas Conference (named in honor of the founding annual conference of American Methodism) helps developing scholars get to know and share ideas with other Fellows.
AFTE also sponsors Catalyst, a scholarly newsletter which is sent to more than 5,000 United Methodist seminary students four times a year. Catalyst focuses on stimulating serious consideration of classical Christianity. The newsletter alerts seminarians to significant resources and highlights evangelical perspectives on Christian faith and action. Issues are archived at www.catalystresources.org