“Pastoral Science: Reading, Teaching, and Delighting in God’s Two Books”
Regent College’s Pastoral Science has the goal of engaging evangelical Protestant pastors and leaders with the world of science such that they will have the capacity to integrate sound theology with sound science, and so reconcile the reading of God’s book of Creation with God’s book of Scripture. That comprehensive goal will be met by creatively addressing barriers to this integration, and relying not just on knowledge exchange, but on a series of opportunities to exchange ideas, concerns, friendship, failures, and successes. Our objectives are to coach, collaborate and create with a select group of senior pastors such that we build community, address fear, invigorate leaders, create momentum for change, and establish an ongoing practice of spreading and sustaining the integration of science into ministry. Wonder, worship and wisdom will be emphasized in our experiential and collaborative program model.
This project targets evangelical Protestant leaders in active ministry. Our primary focus is on senior pastors in the congregational setting. The program design intentionally starts with a small select cohort of recognized senior leaders and then facilitates spread to a wider base of evangelical pastors, youth workers, and students. We will influence a diverse group of those in ministry, with participants from across the United States and Canada, and representing an array of denominations and ministry settings. The end audience is broadly categorized as North American evangelical Protestant Christian communities.
Our program addresses both the content of science and the context of science as it is interfaced with ministry. We emphasize five content areas: the origin, nature, activity, interpretation, and social implications of science. Contextually, we offer opportunities for science in ministry to be received as a form of pastoral renewal. We attend to the fears associated with science’s relationship to theology, the need for pastoral social supports, and the possibilities of infusing energy into ministry as new directions for growth are considered. Pastoral Science incorporates proven learning and improvement models that promote breakthrough change and transformation of practices through sustained and expanded work. The models recognize that we learn significantly more working together than working separately; all improvement requires change, but not all change leads to improvement; and there are gaps between knowledge and practice.
Through the engagement in an intensive ongoing learning community, a number of change concepts will be integrated into pastoral ministry. Among these are the ideas that science and theology are not opposed; creation is best understood through learning from both God’s word and God’s world; science understanding can foster Christian growth; congregations benefit from pastoral incorporation of issues in science; sophisticated science understanding is accessible to non-scientists; and scientists need pastoral attention to their vocation.
Outcome measures include demonstrated success in pastoral engagement of science for ministry through sermons, congregational care, church educational offerings, and youth ministries; growing networks of pastors participating in science for ministry offerings; spread of science for ministry through denominations and pastor networks; demand for science for ministry offerings in the academic setting; and production and use of resources developed for web-based and public sharing.
The following link will take you to a list of all the participating institutions in the John Templeton Foundation ‘Science for Ministry’ program.