The Joy of the Faculty Ministry Leadership Team Mtgs

You turn us back to dust,” writes the psalmist. But then he cries out, “Turn O Lord . . . Have compassion on your servants!” (Ps 90). This is the wisdom of the Lent: to acknowledge our finitude and failings and to turn to the God who turns to us in mercy. So we practice the creaturely humility of fasting, the spiritual humility of prayer, the moral humility of repentance and vicariously, the sacrificial humility of Christ himself. In the gravity of Lent we choose a downward movement of soul, and in this turning we are humbled. In the humbling, we find a growing freedom and grace.

— These words from Bobby Gross’ Living the Christian Year (InterVarsity Press, 2009) began a time of personal reflection as we opened InterVarsity’s Faculty Ministry Leadership Team meetings (February 20-22). We rejoice in your prayers for our team’s time together. As you read the below notes and respond to the requests for prayer/input, imagine this lively, creative, dynamic, and enouraging team engaged in rich conversation, humor, and prayer. What a joy to serve the Lord with Craig, Carrie, Doug, Elsy, Kim, Howard, Nan, and those who were unable to join us for the meetings [Mike, Myra, Robin, Tom (Trevethan), and many other helpful contributors]. To God be the glory!

The FMLT takes some personal time to hang out over dinner: Carrie Bare, Elsy Thayil-Blanchard, Doug Jackson, Kim Huey, Tom Grosh, Craig Gartland, Howard Van Cleave, Nancy Thomas, No we don't work 24/7 ;)

The FMLT hangs out over dinner: Craig Gartland, Carrie Bare, Doug Jackson, Elsy Thayil-Blanchard, Kim Huey, Tom Grosh IV, Howard Van Cleave, Nancy Thomas. No we don’t work 24/7 ;)

    • The State of Faculty Ministry, particularly with respect to our mission, vision, and basic values statement.
      • Response: We last met in October, as such we rejoiced in the unexpected growth in
        • Hearing from faculty and students who deeply appreciate our labors in higher education.
          • Story: Craig Gartland, Director of InterVarsity’s Faculty Ministry, shared about a recent visit to InterVarsity’s Faculty Fellowship at Claremont when he had extended conversations with a number of faculty including Mary Poplin, Dave Vosburg, and Francis Su. Scholar after scholar emphasized to Craig the significance of being part of InterVarsity’s Graduate and Faculty Ministry, in particular the sharpening and encouragement in vocational witness. Su was particularly complimentary with regard to the development of The Lesson of Grace in Teaching: From weakness to wholeness, the struggle and the hope (MAA Haimo Teaching Award Lecture. Joint Math Meetings. 1/11/2013). More on this story to come :)
            • Note: Numerous InterVarsity staff, students, and faculty have shared with the FMLT their appreciation for our highlighting of The Lesson of Grace in Teaching. If you haven’t already listened to/read and forwarded Su’s talk, I encourage you to do such. Yesterday, Craig relayed the enthusiasm of a Faculty Chapter Planter regarding the presentation and the opportunity to share the link. I noted 36,686 visits and a number of FB likes when I swung by earlier today. To God be the glory!
          • Testimonies from Emerging Scholars, e.g., an email from woman who has been particularly blessed by our on-line mentoring program:
            • Dear Sir, I just wanted to briefly thank you for your work with ESN. I was struggling to find motivation as a third-year undergrad in philosophy with no Christian professors at my very secular state school. I found ESN by the provision of the Lord and was connected with a mentor within a day. My relationship with my mentor has proved to be rich and encouraging. Dr ___ gives me hope when I’m bombarded with secular thought day after day and I can always go to him with questions and expect a thorough and God-honoring response. He’s encouraged me to pursue grad school and has made more excited about it.So for this I say thank you sir, for your work and efforts. The Lord has used them mightily in my life. –Received 11/28/2012. Wow! That’s a glimpse of what ESN’s about!
          • Faculty engaged in conversation at the Graduate & Faculty Ministry/Emerging Scholars Network booth at Urbana12.

            Faculty, including Claremont’s Dave Vosburg, engaged in conversation at the Graduate & Faculty Ministry/Emerging Scholars Network booth at Urbana12.

            Overflowing interest in ESN at Urbana12 — students, faculty, and InterVarsity staff. Note: 340+ Urbana12 delegates expressed desire to receive follow-up from ESN and I’ve been in email conversation with a number of them. Yes, it’s hard to keep up. Please be patient with me.

        • Collaborating with other organizations, e.g., with the American Scientific Affiliation‘s Annual Conference. More information tba.
        • Developing websites. Not only did the Emerging Scholars Network’s website relaunch in time for Urbana12, but also a new website for Faculty Ministry has entered the development process with all of Graduate & Faculty Ministry. Please take time to
          • rejoice with us regarding this exciting step forward
          • email recommendations regarding web/social media improvements
          • intercede for discernment/wisdom/focus for the whole process — yes, I’m co-coordinating the endeavor :)
        • Faculty Fellowship Plants. They are taking off! If you are a faculty or know a faculty with an interest in starting or further developing a faculty fellowship, please let us know!
    • Key texts from the Word of God guiding our vision/understanding of God’s call to reach out to and build up Emerging Scholars and Faculty. Note: see some of the texts highlighted in fall meetings by reviewing Seeking the Peace of the University (Thomas B. Grosh IV. ESN Blog. 10/4/2012).
      • Response:
        • We began our time with a time of Lenten reflection and prayer.
        • One morning we dedicated a focused time of prayer for Faculty Advisers of InterVarsity fellowships across the country. I recognized name after name of campus and faculty advisers from my years on InterVarsity staff. After our time of prayer we debriefed by asking the question of how we can support, encourage, and equip faculty advisers in their significant role on campus. If you have suggestions, please let us know.
        • During another time we dug into and explored Psalm 111:1-10. Material from this study in future post.
        • We also drew from Henri J. M. Nouwen’s In the Name of Jesus as we reflected upon and framed our understanding of Christian leadership. More in a future post.
    • Faculty Ministry Training for new Graduate & Faculty Ministry staff
      • Response:
        • A significant aspect of training through the years has been an emphasis on relational ministry beginning with the end in mind.
          • How do we love faculty, desire to meet them and inspire them though the Faculty Ministry four practices to love God above all things and be a witnessing community on their campuses?
          • We prayed for those who would be receiving and offering the training March 20-21. Please join us in continued prayer . . .
    • Regional Coordination of Faculty Ministry, including summer conferencing.
      • Response: Discussed and prayed for additional regional coordinators for Faculty Ministry, in particular in the SouthEast and West. If you have recommendations and/or interest, please let Craig Garland, Director of Faculty Ministry, know! We’re really hoping to fill out the team :)
    • Emerging Scholars Network
      • Explored the importance of our story being rooted in the Biblical story by drawing from Sean Gladding’s The Story of God, The Story of Us  (InterVarsity Press, 2010), beginning in the Creation and moving toward consummation in the the New Creation by the reconciling grace of God extended in covenant, community, Christ, and the Church.
      • Continued growth of on-line media. The revised ESN website page will to some degree serve as a model for revised GFM website (as a whole). Pray for additional time availability by crucial staff in order to push the project ahead.
        • In addition to the website, 5 years ago we had 1500 a month coming to the blog. We now have about 4000 people coming to the website a month. The blog is growing because of the diversity of those who post. We’re looking to continue to expand in this area. Please let me know if you have interest in contributing and if so, in what manner.
      • What is ESN offering?
        • ESN is a missional networking tool
        • Discipleship and mentoring tool
        • A place for faculty and scholars to congregate
        • In other words: serve, support, and resource! More on this coming . . .

And yes, we truly grew closer together as a team and enjoyed one another while taking some rest, i.e., not going 24-7 with several days of business. What a blessing to have you part of the movement. Please forgive me for the length of the post, I hope it gives you an inside look of some of what is at the heart of our labors. I’ll look to pull together another post with a bunch of pictures so you can enjoy them without so much text. To God be the glory!

Almighty God, we beseech you, with your gracious favor to behold our university, that knowledge may be increased among us, and all good learning flourish and abound. Bless all who teach and all who learn; and grant that in humility of heart they may ever look unto you, the fountain of all wisdom; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Reminder of God's presence and leading throughout our time together . . . to where we are sent to serve the Kingdom of God.

Reminder of God’s presence and leading throughout our time together AND to where we are sent to serve the Kingdom of God across higher education in the United States.

Updated: 3/7/2013. 3:25 pm.

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Tom Grosh IV

Enjoys daily conversations regarding living out the Biblical Story with his wife Theresa, four girls, around the block, at Elizabethtown Brethren in Christ Church (where he hosts the Christian Scholar Series), on campus as part of InterVarsity Graduate & Faculty Ministry (serving fellowships such as the Christian Medical Society/CMDA at Penn State College of Medicine), online as the Associate Director of the Emerging Scholars Network, in the culture at large, and in God's creation.

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