About Science for the Church

Our Mission is to strengthen the church by engaging science

“Learning about science was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I knew from church I couldn’t believe in both science and God, so that was it. I didn’t believe in God anymore.”

Mike

from David Kinnaman’s study of why emerging adults leave church.

“As a scientist and a Christian, I know firsthand how lonely and marginalized scientists can be within Christian congregations…”

Rick

Scientist at major research university

Our Vision

Science for the Church exists to change the posture of the church, pastors, and individuals Christians as they relate to science and scientists.

Our vision is of a day when churches embrace science as a means for spiritual growth. We admit that some today posit science against faith, but we actually want churches to read both the Book of Scripture and the book of nature as sources to understand God and creation.

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Put another way, we imagine a day when no one finds it surprising that a church is engaging with science and welcoming of scientists. Just as it is normal today for churches to engage current events, cultural trends, and even the arts, we work toward a day when it is commonplace for a church to engage science. In fact, it may be surprising to find churches that don’t engage with science.We will know such a day has come…

  • When science is used to illuminate sermons, support the teaching of Scripture, and to supplement the wisdom of the church on a range of topics.
  • When new understandings of God’s handiwork revealed by science inspire us to worship our Creator.
  • When science improves our ministry praxis, such that we are better at feeding the hungry, caring for the sick or depressed or addicted, teaching Scripture effectively to all abilities and cultures, caring for creation, and cultivating practices like prayer and forgiveness as well as virtues like gratitude and hope.
  • When people come to our churches because we wrestle with difficult questions, we engage with the science of the day, and we support the vocations of STEM professionals.
  • When the proportion of Christians in the sciences mirrors that of the rest of the population.
  • When science is no longer a barrier to faith – in fact, it is a means to enrich it.

Faith Statement

We believe God is revealed in Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit as revealed in the Christian Scripture of the Old and New Testament. We believe in that Scripture as God’s Holy Word. We also believe that God is the Author of the book of nature, as a complementary source of revelation that speaks of both the Potter and the clay (Is. 64:8). We believe “the heavens declare the glory of God, the earth proclaims his handiwork,” and that “the law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul” (Ps. 19). We affirm our faith with Christians throughout the ages and across the globe using the words of the Apostles Creed.

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We believe in the Christian faith, using the words of C.S. Lewis, like we “believe that the sun has risen: not only because [we] see it, but because by it [we] see everything else.” And we believe wherever two or three are gathered, Christ is there (Matt. 18:20). That is, in relationship with one another, we experience our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Because of that experience with Christ, we feel called to be his disciples worshipping together and working to advance the mission and ministry of Christ’s body, the church, here on earth.

We believe that all truth is God’s truth and that the truth that arises from the scientific method comes ultimately from God. We believe that scientists experience God in nature and when they discover the laws and theories that undergird it and that the practice of science is both a Christian vocation and means for worship. Therefore, we believe the church should not be threatened by mainstream science, but should engage it faithfully, even when its conclusions seem to challenge our beliefs and values. Ultimately, we trust that “all things hold together” in Christ (Col. 1:17).

We are concerned about the proclamation of the Gospel when churches dismiss, or fail to engage seriously with, mainstream science because our public witness to an increasingly secular culture is greatly diminished.

We fear, even more, that Christ is troubled by all that divides his body. We feel called to be ministers of the Gospel in one particular area that can divide rather than unite us – the connection between the church and science. We believe the conflict between the two can be vastly overplayed and that it is a space that requires openness and humility. We believe that where conflict is felt, it is usually over secondary theological issues – like the process of creation – rather than primary theological issues – that we are created in God’s image (Gen. 1:26-27). We remain confident that, while we may not eliminate every perceived tension between them, engaging with science will ultimately strengthen the church.

Meet The Team

Drew Rick-Miller

Project Co-director

About Drew

Drew is Project Co-director of Science for the Church and the lead editor of the weekly email. In addition to leading this project, he does freelance work on a range of projects including Science for Seminaries, Orbiter magazine, and programs at the Fuller Youth Institute and Biola University. Previously, he spent more than ten years with the John Templeton Foundation, most recently leading the Religious Engagement Department, where he developed programs helping religious leaders and media engage scientific content. Drew studied literature and physics at Northwestern University before attending Princeton Theological Seminary (M.Div.). Drew’s vocational passion is to help the church navigate the faith and science interface. Drew lives in Raleigh, North Carolina with his wife, a Presbyterian pastor, and their three daughters. He still proudly dons purple and cheers on his Northwestern Wildcats.

Greg Cootsona

Project Co-director

About Greg
Greg is Project Co-director of Science for the Church and Lecturer in Religious Studies and Humanities at California State University at Chico. He formerly served nearly 18 years as associate pastor for young adult ministries and adult discipleship in New York and Chico, California. Greg studied comparative literature at U.C. Berkeley and theology at Princeton Theological Seminary (M.Div.), the Universities of Tübingen and Heidelberg, as well as Berkeley’s Graduate Theological Union (the latter where he received his Ph.D.). He is the author of seven books, including Mere Science and Christian Faith, C.S. Lewis and the Crisis of a Christian, and most recently, Negotiating Science and Religion in America. Greg is passionate about the power of connecting mainstream science with “mere Christianity” to develop a flourishing, full alive, faith. He and his wife, Laura, live in Chico, California and have two young adult daughters. Besides hanging out with his family, he loves to drum, read great books, hike and bike through the beautiful Chico hills, and drink good coffee.

Dave Navarra

Assistant Director

About Dave
Dave is Assistant Director for Science for the Church and Associate Pastor at Rolling Hills Christian Church. Dave graduated from Fuller Seminary with his M.Div and spent many years as a youth pastor. He held both support and leadership roles with Scientists in Congregations and the Science and Theology for Emerging Adult Ministries (STEAM). Dave has a passion to see the church move the gospel of Jesus forward in areas of perceived weakness. He now lives just outside of Sacramento in California. He loves coffee, his dog, and his wife, but not in that order.

Heather Micklewright

Project Coordinator

About Heather
Heather is Project Coordinator for Science for the Church, providing support for the organization’s various endeavors. Previously, she spent more than eight years as a Program Associate at the John Templeton Foundation where she supported the Life Sciences team. She first encountered meaningful engagement between science and faith at Eastern University during her undergraduate studies and remains fascinated by the subject because it provides a window through which to view God’s beauty, goodness, and truth. She lives outside of Philadelphia with her husband and three sons where she enjoys hiking, photography, and volunteering with her church’s youth group in any snatches of free time.

Upper House

Project Host

About Upper House

Upper House, an initiative of the Stephen & Laurel Brown Foundation, hosts Science for the Church. Upper House serves the University of Wisconsin and Madison communities by curating experiences of Christian thinking, being, and doing for personal transformation and for the life of the world. 

Based in University Square in the heart of the University of Wisconsin (Madison) campus, Upper House provides multi-experiential space and programming expertise, where people, faith, values, ideas, and the arts come together in a dynamic environment that fosters vocational, intellectual, and cultural formation. 

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Should we baptize aliens? Does God act in the world? What makes humans unique? Is faith beneficial to health? Can science enhance sermons or be a tool for discipleship? What are the best practices for engaging science in ministry? We boil down complex topics and give you the resources you need to navigate modern science as means to improve your ministry. Every Tuesday, get our blog delivered to your inbox.