Grad students don’t convert! Do they?

Getting into the world of GFM has been a new adventure for me.  In my previous 19 years of student ministry, I can’t remember ever being a part of a graduate student or a faculty member becoming a Christ follower.  I’d been so involved in the process among loads of undergrad students.  I’d helped organize and host event after event where multiple people responding gave themselves to Christ.  But I only saw it happen in my undergraduate fellowships.  Do graduate students ever lay down their world view and take up Christian theism?  How would they ever feel free enough to that?  How would they manage the potential risk to their reputation?  Could their new beliefs integrate with their work in any significant way?

sarah irving stonebraker

In this post I’d like to introduce you to Sarah Irving Stonebraker (link here, photo above).  Sarah is an Australian professor of European History who met Jesus in an unlikely place.    Reading her story several things stand out that you’d expect:

  • Set off for the university very comfortable with no belief in God whatsoever
  • Assumed all Christians to be “anti-intellectual and self-righteous”
  • Began to encounter Christians as friends in the midst of the university system
  • Maintained honest skepticism about humanity’s ability to transcend it’s individualism and commercialism.

But also some surprising things (I’m learning not to be too surprised really):

  • Discovered theological resources crafted in an intellectually compelling way
  • Was shocked at what she discovered about Jesus
  • The Jesus of the New Testament didn’t match the Jesus she’d always heard about
  • Discovered the reality of God’s love in Jesus’ sacrificial life to be a refreshing alternative to the broken systems of the world

I hope I get to be a part of stories like this going forward with GFM.  I’m looking forward to when it’s not so out of the box for people with graduate level intellectual gifts to give their full potential to the leadership of Jesus!

By the way.  While you’re on the page reading Sarah’s story, explore a little.  Veritas Forum is a unique event catalyzing thoughtful, Gospel mission in graduate and professional schools all across the United States.

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