“How are you going to do it?”
That’s what a thoughtful student at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary asked me. I was speaking to a small group of SEBTS students about faith and science. I was describing this newsletter and our ambitions to do something larger to strengthen the church through the engagement with science.
And this future church leader asked the logical next question: “How?”
More Than a Newsletter
A few months ago, we received a grant from the John Templeton Foundation to help us ask that very question. Part of the asking was to allow us to imagine. How might science work alongside Scripture as a tool for discipleship? Or how can it illustrate sermons, support the biblical teachings, and supplement the wisdom of the church? Can it be a catalyst for worship? May it even draw folks into our ministries, perhaps attracting the “nones” and “dones” to come back?
I’m pleased to announce some progress. In the next few months, we will launch our new brand under the name Science for the Church. The mission of Science for the Church is to strengthen the church through the engagement with science, with these four priorities:
- Build a Movement: We seek to create a movement of Christian ministries engaging science for the life of the church. This movement will be a vehicle for change, both in quality and quantity, as well as a network to support ministry leaders and scientists.
- Leverage a Relational Model: Relationships are essential to effective ministry. We believe this is true of matters like science and faith. We seek to foster relationships between ministry leaders and scientists that allow them to grow and be empowered to engage science for the church.
- Host Events: A movement based on relationships needs opportunities to meet, to fellowship, to learn, to support and be supported, to be empowered.
- Provide Resources: The intersection of faith and science is complicated terrain; few people have formal training in both. And even when they do, they don’t know all aspects of either domain. So we need to collect resources. This will continue to include this weekly newsletter and our Facebook page.
How can you help?
First, you can help us expand our audience. Tell your peers in ministry about us, forward a newsletter you find particularly compelling – maybe even this one – to others, follow us on Facebook, and interact with our content. These are the first steps in building a movement.
Second, in the next several months, we will reach out to you to better understand what kind of resources and events and topics we should pursue.
Third, we need help funding a new website. We have started a campaign to raise at least $10,000. We are dreaming of a day when you can browse every newsletter and find other science and faith resources under a single URL. The website will support all of the activities mentioned above.
This is how you can help: spread the word, give us feedback, and help us meet our fundraising goal.
- Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary is one of several seminaries engaging science.
- They produce Intersect, which often features faith and science content.
- Help us raise $10,000 to build scienceforthechurch.org.
- Visit our Facebook page where we post daily science and faith content.
- Visit the current archives of this newsletter.
- If you can’t wait for our new website, check out Scientists in Congregations and the STEAM Project.
So, how did I respond to that student’s question? How are we going to strengthen the church through the engagement with science? I answered as honestly as I could. We hadn’t yet settled on the four priorities above, so I told the student I wasn’t sure.
But as I told those students, I have great faith in the many pastors, ministry leaders, and the God-loving scientists I have had the privilege of getting to know over the years. That is to say, I have great faith in you.
So the goal will not be to create one-size-fits-all solutions or declare from on high how best to move ahead. Rather, we will continue to resource you. We will find ways to gather you in events that inspire and inform, to bring you into a movement of like-minded people and ministries, and help you create ministry opportunities — with pastors and scientists and lay persons working side-by-side.
So please help us out. Tell others about us. Share the newsletter. Help us understand what resources and connections you need to better engage science. And please consider a contribution to help fund our new website.
“How are you going to do it?”
The answer to that question is actually you. The task requires a movement of Jesus lovers leading the church and working in the sciences. So please join us, and let’s strengthen the church together.