A Break from an Old Habit

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This newsletter launched in March 2017 for the 30-plus clergy and scientist leaders of the Science and Theology for Emerging Adult Ministries (STEAM) grant teams. We hadn’t yet branded our strategy The Standard Model, but these were the pioneers helping us finetune our model for how Christian ministries can benefit from engaging science.

The goal of the newsletter was to equip them, to help them identify resources, and perhaps expand the range of topics and approaches they might consider as they created programming and did ministry with 18 to 30 year olds.  Over 300 editions later (only skipping a few weeks), we continue to try to equip, resource and inspire you to strengthen the church through an engagement with science.

Producing this newsletter has been my weekly habit for over five years, and I am finally going to take a break. My wife and her congregation were awarded a Lilly Endowment Clergy Renewal Grant, and on Sunday we will embark on nearly seven weeks of international travel (hints of our whereabouts to follow). No doubt pieces of that journey will find their way into your inbox later this summer and fall.

In the meantime, Greg and Ed and some key partners will continue our newsletter to equip, resource, and inspire you.  Specifically, in July, our friends at Blueprint 1543 will be helping us produce several pieces that look at the myriad ways that psychology can benefit Christian ministry. I’ll return to my desk in August.

A New Habit

If I’m honest, this newsletter has never really been a proper newsletter. It’s more of a blog disguised as a newsletter. We want to change that. A few times each year, we will be using this space to tell you what Science for the Church has been up to and what is coming in the next few months. Let me begin this new habit today.

[If you want more content on habits, both Ed and I have covered that topic in past newsletters.]

Here is what we have been up to since the start of the year.
  • Greg and our board member, Se Kim, co-designed a Museum of the Bible program on May 11 for church leaders. The event piggybacked on the Museum’s Scripture and Science exhibit (which runs until January 15, 2024). Se moderated a panel that also included pastor Brent Roam (another SftC board member), Old Testament scholar Tremper Longman, astronomer Jennifer Wiseman, philosopher Jay Richards, and pastor/theologian Kip Banks.
  • In April, Greg and Drew were part of a meeting hosted by Blueprint 1543 with several dozen psychologists and church leaders to consider how to better resource and support churches with the psychological sciences.
  • In March, we coordinated a three-part webinar for the Synod of the Covenant on science, mental health, and the church. You learned a bit about psychologists Addie Weaver’s work with rural churches and Ikeshia Smith’s partnership with Black churches in this newsletter, but that series also featured psychologist David Wang and his work on clergy health and well-being.  You can view each week on YouTube or read about them here (Drew on faith and well-being, Wang on clergy health, and three models to address mental health in our churches).
  • In February, Drew led a workshop at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary introducing Southern Baptist seminarians and clergy attending the Exploring Personhood conference to The Standard Model. Theologian and pastor Benjamin Quinn and psychologist Erin Smith (whom we interviewed last summer) modeled the way pastors and scientists can work side-by-side to benefit the church.
We’ve also presented for a class at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and a webinar for the Emerging Scholars Network with our friend Ciara Reyes-Ton, and we facilitated a discussion for an ASA webinar on science and the church. So far in 2023, we have preached and taught in a dozen churches in North Carolina, California, Michigan, and Oregon.
You may have also seen our work featured at BioLogos, Southeastern Baptist’s Seminary’s Faith & Culture blog, and CT’s The Better Samaritan blog.

First, let me give you a heads up on new products that are in process for release later this year:
  • We are working a set of video curriculum based on DoSER’s excellent videos produced to support their Science for Seminaries program. Through this newsletter, you will be the first to know when those drop.
  • Our second devotional will be released this fall to accompany you through Advent. If you lead a small group or are looking for materials for an Advent Bible study (for individuals or small groups), you will want to check it out.

(If we are coming to your town, let us know so we can greet you in person.)

  • June 8 – Houston, TX. Greg is presenting a paper on “Faith and Science: Congregations as Safe Places for Emerging Adults” at the Christian Scholars conference.
  • June 16 – Johannesburg, South Africa. Drew will be touring the Cradle of Humankind as part of his wife’s sabbatical adventure.
  • June 23 – Athens, Greece. Greg will be visiting the Parthenon, an abiding symbol of western civilization, and nearby Mars Hill, the site where Paul (according to Acts 17) brought together the natural philosophy of his day and the gospel.
  • July 13 – Paris, France. Drew and his family will be enjoying French cuisine at a bistro somewhere in the 7th Arrondissement.
  • September 16 – Bidwell Presbyterian Church, Chico, CA. Tentative date for Greg and Leonard Matheson to teach an in-person and online course on neuroscience and spiritual formation.
  • October 1 – Washington, DC. Science for the Church is hosting a meet and greet with pastors, scientists, donors, and individuals like you at a location to be announced.
  • Fall 2023 – Webinar series on clergy health and well-being with Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. More details to follow.

Follow us on Facebook for more updated information on where we are and what we are doing.

As our Philly church choir sang almost every week at the end of worship, God be with you till we meet again. Have a great start to your summer!



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