Faculty Ministry Models

So part two of my beastly weekend event was a Faculty Gathering. Why not connect the Carver Conversation with a morning together with faculty talking about mission and ministry? Across my four-state area, faculty are engaging their colleagues and departments in a variety of formats. Some models are aimed at spiritual formation others at missional engagement (see the list below). Our conversation was very simple – have a staff or faculty member with first-hand experience talk about it. Offer these narratives then to faculty members who might catch a vision for something new in their context. Let faculty chew on it around their tables.

I was really encouraged with my team! We COULD have simply met in St. Louis, feasted on the Carver Conversation and transitioned into our team retreat. A great weekend would have been had by all. But we wanted to create an opportunity for story telling and vision casting with faculty members. We wished we had more faculty members in the room – mid-April was not an ideal time of the year for most faculty members.

Ministry Models we talked about:

  • Faculty sponsored Student Reading Groups on integration themes related to academic discipline.  John Inazu, Wash-U Law.  Monthly gatherings in a faculty member’s home reading a book or article that connects faith with academic discipline.  The Carver Fellows host a variety of groups in Law, Arts, Humanities, Medicine.  See the TCP website at this link:  https://www.carverstl.org/reading-groups
  • Faculty and Students weekly prayer on campus. The  Iowa State University Christian Faculty and Staff Fellowship is led by GFM staff members Tom Ingebritsen (Professor Emeritus, Biology) and Chad Britten.  Connect with chad.britten@intervarsity.org                                                 
  • What Matters to Me and Why lectureship series.  Innovated at UC Irvine years ago, GFM staff member Mark Hansard, has grown this ministry model at Kansas State University.  Not a Christian lecture series.  Co-sponsored with the university WMMW has a leadership team that a GFM staff member is a part of. Monthly lectures selected by the leadership team include Christian and non-Christian presenters from the faculty body at K-State. See mark.hansard@intervarsity.org 
  • Veritas Forum, a Christian lectureship series of speakers (generally teaching and researching PhDs from around the country).  Recent two day series was done at Iowa State University with Wash-U professor Joshua Swamidass.  Topics included Artificial Intelligence and Human Origins.  See https://www.veritas.org/ as well as Veritas channel on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/user/VeritasForum  See also Joshua Swamidass at his website: https://peacefulscience.org/                                                                                                                                
  • Faculty Bible Study with emphasis on Spiritual Formation and Rule of Life application.  Team approach to manuscript bible study with faculty groups.  The further enrichment of formation and application is a helpful balance to what can be a strict focus on biblical and theological content.  Reach out to george.stulac@intervarstiy.org and benw@wustl.edu   See Ben also for his work with Post-Docs on Communal Spiritual formation and rhythms.
  • Faculty Prayer Fellowships can be very simple and spur a thriving network of faculty praying with each other and for their departments.  See InterVarsity’s 3X3 Missional Prayer strategy brochure for engaging Christian faculty members.  Reach out to tim.perry@intervarsity.org                                                                 
  • Syntrek – This spiritual friendship model is being developed with professional students (PT/OT/Pharmacy) at Creighton University.  Students are paired up after connecting with GFM during New Student Outreach.  Students meet on their own weekly to explore Spiritual Friendship.  A resource and story blog is under construction at https://syntrek.blog/  Monthly, whole-group brunch allows Syntrek pairs to gather and connect with GFM staff and a different guest Faculty Mentor each time.  Reach out to tim.perry@intervarsity.org

If you know of Christian faculty members either teaching or transitioning to one of our schools, PLEASE email me and help me connect with them. Our work is especially strategic at R-1 institutes in my four-state area – University of Nebraska, Lincoln, University of Kansas, Kansas State University, Mizzou, Wash-U, University of Iowa and Iowa State.

Post-script on the sternum. I did get a follow-up with my primary care physician. We’re doing well. LOTS of pain, still. Prayers for pain management and sleep. Best night’s sleep so far – LAST NIGHT. Slept from 11pm to 6am. Thanks so much for your prayers!


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