A Baker's Dozen Ideas for Faculty Ministry

The following are a grab bag of ideas which have been successfully enacted at peer institutions (mostly Big 10 universities, though you will note several others).  They are offered here not as equally useful to us or as a finished agenda, but to spark our own creativity and to empower faithful Christian service with our academic community.

  1. Newspaper ad: Placed in Michigan Daily or University Record to identify Christian faculty and allow them to identify themselves as Christians in the campus community. (Most Big 10 campuses, including Purdue and Ohio State)
  2. Dinner meeting with speech by noted Christian academic: Used to launch term and identify Christian faculty as potential network members (University of Wisconsin)
  3. Dinners for 8 (or 6): A ministry of hospitality to build community among faculty widely scattered across a large campus.
  4. Network using web based resources: Potential donated or very inexpensive collaboration and maintenance (UC — Berkeley)
  5. Brown bag discussions: series of four weekly or monthly: Faith and faculty life (U Wisconsin, U Iowa, U Kansas), journal article club (U Minnesota)
  6. Faculty prayer for one another and the university: In local cells (Michigan) or prayer partnerships with students or peers (Miami (OH) University) or prayer as a committed regular part of more “personal” conversations with students or peers (U Virginia, Michigan) or “Faculty Prayer Breakfast” (similar to a presidential prayer breakfast).
  7. Bible study discussions: In a four week series (with option to continue at later date) (Kansas, Northwestern)
  8. Serve as a mentor/advisor to Christian student groups, to minority students, within your discipline with an awareness of younger Christian professionals (Michigan Medical school)
  9. “Introduction” as a Christian academic in teaching role: Successfully done at Michigan and Wisconsin. Consider reading Chris Anderson, Teaching as Believing (Baylor Press, 2004) for another model from the experience of a Catholic Christian academic in a state research university setting.
  10. Public lecture series focused on faith and learning issues of wide (non-specialist) interest on campus) (U Illinois, many campuses via the Veritas Forum)
  11. Develop a class in your discipline focused on issues of Christian faith and academic discipline: The PBS series “The Question of God” began as a course on Freud and C.S. Lewis taught by Armand Nicholi at Harvard.
  12. Promote the academic study of the Christian faith: At Michigan, a professor called for lectures by colleagues in his course “The History of the Christian Tradition” on faith and discipline issues.
  13. Form/participate in Christian sub-group at annual meeting: For example, The Society of Christian Philosophers, or Conference of Christianity and Literature meetings at larger MLA conferences.

Photo credit: Assorted Breads photo is borrowed from Flickr user fotoscanon.


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