Christian professors can be found on every college campus – in fact, there are usually more than you might expect. However, they often don’t know more than one or two other Christian faculty, and they usually aren’t connected with Christian student groups on their campus. Part of my role with the Emerging Scholars Network is helping students and student ministers build relationships with Christian faculty. If students have a “working friendship” with a few of their professors, they’re more likely to see academia as a possible career path. For student ministers, professors can be great allies in serving and transforming the campus.
This past Tuesday, I traveled to Louisville to meet with InterVarsity’s campus staff team for Kentucky. They serve on campuses across the state – the Universities of Louisville and Kentucky, Bellarmine, Berea College, Eastern Kentucky University. I shared with them ESN’s vision of raising up the next generation of Christian professors, gave them some tips on identifying and working with potential ESN members, and suggested key books that they can read with their students. We also talked about Christian professors they know on campus.
Bonnie Lecompte, who works with international students at UofL, gave me a new insight about the importance of Christian professors: they bring credibility to the Gospel. Most international students are working on PhDs or Masters degrees, which brings them into close contact with professors, and most of them come from cultures that give a great deal of respect to elders, scholars, and people in authority. A professor who is also a Christian carries a lot of weight with them when they are considering the Gospel.
Over the next few months, I’m going to be working with these campus ministry staff to connect the professors they know with ESN and to introduce them to the ESN faculty on their campuses. On November 17, I’ll be making my first trip, to Berea College, to speak with students and faculty there about ESN.
Please pray for these trips to be successful in building strong partnerships between Christian professors and campus ministers around Kentucky. Pray also for “divine appointments” as InterVarsity staff and I meet with Christian faculty and staff.