Nearly 20 ESN members gathered at Ohio State last Thursday.
Last Thursday, the Emerging Scholars Network hosted our **fifth** luncheon at The Ohio State University. These luncheons have been co-sponsored by the [Fellowship of Christian Faculty and Staff](http://www.fcfs-osu.org/), [Christian Graduate Student Alliance](http://www.osu-cgsa.org/), and [Student Christian Fellowship](http://scfosu.org/), which is the independent Christian Church student ministry at Ohio State.
We gathered three Christian faculty, a postdoc in the sciences, 10 PhD students, and even a couple of undergraduates. Our topic was “What I Wish I’d Known about Graduate School,” based on our recent [Emerging Scholars Blog](http://blog.emergingscholars.org/2011/08/what-i-wish-id-known-about-graduate-school-intro/) series, but more importantly, the faculty and students encouraged one another, build relationships, and discovered that there are **other academics at Ohio State who love Jesus**.
Why do we host these lunches? ESN’s mission is to **help Christian students become Christian faculty**, so that they will have a redeeming influence in higher education. Students who develop friendships with professors outside the classroom are more likely to become faculty themselves. Further, when we ask ESN members what they want us to do, **face-to-face gatherings** with fellow Christians are always near the top of the list. Finally, Jesus himself showed us that **sharing a meal together** can be more than “just” sharing a meal. These lunches provide an opportunity for cross-generational friendships, as well as encouragement for students and faculty who often feel isolated from both their colleagues and fellow believers. It’s also a chance for them to discuss **what it means to follow Christ within the university**.
*Praise God for the work he is doing through these simple gatherings.* I hope that lunches like these will spread to other campuses – in fact, a colleague at another major Midwestern research university is thinking about starting a lunch series himself. If you’re interested in learning more, [let me know](http://www.mikehickerson.com/contact/).
*Photo credit: Howard Van Cleave*
September Ministry Update
My ministry update and prayer letter from September. A few key highlights:
- A new national proposal from ESN
- New record-highs on the Emerging Scholars Blog
- A financial update
We’re now up to 3,807 ESN members. Praise God!
1. I recently traveled to Berea College and the Ohio State University to speak about the Emerging Scholars Network. Read all about my visits here, and check out this blog post to see why these two very different schools are both important to ESN’s mission.
2. My article Faith and Faculty has been published on the InterVarsity home page. In it, I share my own story of meeting Christ at college and explain why we need more Christian faculty at secular universities.
InterVarsity’s Gordon Govier recently published a very helpful article called “How to Choose a College…and Keep Your Faith.” Gordon asked me (among others) for suggestions, and he quotes from a recent interview on the Emerging Scholars Blog that highlights the importance of choosing your collegiate friends wisely.
The College Transition Initiative of the Center for Parent/Youth Understanding also offers a college prep seminar. In an interview with InterVarsityâ€™s Mike Hickerson on the Emerging Scholars blog, Initiative director Derek Melleby offered four questions that every college bound student should ask. One of the four is, â€œWith whom will you surround yourself?â€
If you’re in the process of choosing a college, or know someone who is, Gordon’s article is a great resource, with links to excellent websites, books, and articles about making your college choice wisely.
Cross-posted from the Emerging Scholars Blog
Byron Borger at Jubilee 2009
I spent the weekend at Jubilee, the annual student conference of the Coalition for Christian Outreach. Jubilee has a great reputation for emphasizing the theology of vocation – a reputation which was confirmed, by the way – but I didn’t expect the high level of fun generated by the conference. Saturday evening featured a hilarious (and moving) monologue from actress and writing Susan Isaacs (author of Angry Conversations with God) and a can’t-possibly-be-true-except-he-brought-pictures talk from Bob Goff, president of Restore International and good friend of Don Miller.
Photo: Byron Borger at last year’s Jubilee, but he looked basically the same this year. From livingjubilee via Flickr. Click for a larger image.
Occasionally, these streams of fun and vocation combined, such as the first night. In quick succession, seven speakers presented pecha kucha, a speed-presentation format of 20 slides, changing automatically every 20 seconds, whether the speaker is ready or not. The pecha kucha presenters included:
- David Greusel, an architect speaking on the connection between architecture and faith, especially what he called “the lie” that “secular work” doesn’t matter in God’s kingdom on earth (Greusel was the lead designer of Pittsburgh’s PNC Park).
- Gideon Strauss, President of the Center for Public Justice, who testified to the application of Isaiah 58 in our current society.
- Leroy Barber, president of Mission Year, speaking about Green My Hood, a program which identifies the abuse of the environment in poor urban neighborhoods and looks for ways to bring good creation stewardship into the inner city.
- Good friend of ESN Byron Borger of Hearts & Minds Books, who said that “part of this conference is learning to read deeply,” and reminded us that the word “disciple” means “student.”
As Benson Hines (who was also there) said on Twitter,
Lord, let me be as passionate about my calling as Byron Borger is about his.
More about Jubilee and some upcoming articles after the jump Continue reading