Answering God’s Call: ESN Weekly Readings for Faculty, Fall 2019 

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Fall is a time of exciting beginnings, and a great moment to commit anew to following Christ on campus. Renew your sense of calling with our fall 2019 weekly readings, designed for individuals and small groups. Explore with us through readings engaging the big theme of calling in our academic lives, and some practical ways to live that out on campus. You can bookmark this page to access the whole series, or follow along with us on social media as we share the week’s reading each Monday from September 9 through January 6. Note on international academic schedules: If you’re one of our many international readers, we’re thrilled you’re here—we know you may be in a different season of the academic year, and we think these posts will be encouraging any time. 

The readings vary in format, with some in our Scholar’s Compass devotional format, and others written as a letter of encouragement or an exploration of what works for a particular scholar in living out part of their calling. They are all designed to invite you into prayer and reflection, and many have questions or exercises to help apply the ideas in the readings to individual experience in practical ways. Note: Each module can stand on its own, and the last two are customizable in length. —Hannah Eagleson, ESN Assistant Director

Module 1: Called to Embrace God’s Story (4 weeks)

The start of the fall semester is a great time to reflect on how our everyday stories fit into God’s vast story. Bob Trube encourages us to embrace God’s calling as we start the academic year and offers some questions for reflection, and Lauri Swann’s classic Scholar’s Compass series helps us dive deeper into what that means.

Week 1: Beginning Fall 2019: A Letter from ESN Director Bob Trube

Week 2: Unchartered Territories: Hearing God’s Voice (Scholar’s Compass), by Lauri Swann

Week 3: Unchartered Territories: Obedience (Scholar’s Compass), by Lauri Swann

Week 4: Unchartered Territories: Faith (Scholar’s Compass), by Lauri Swann


Module 2: Called to Connect with Colleagues (3 weeks)

Part of following God’s call in the university is loving our colleagues. In this module, Dr. Renee Bourdeaux draws on her expertise in communications and her experience as a college professor to offer a series of readings on building strong relationships with academic colleagues. In addition to sharing expertise from her research, each week Renee offers a prayer and a practical exercise to help readers build community in academic settings.

Week 1: Collegial Connections, Week 1: Hallway Connections, by Renee Bourdeaux

Week 2: Collegial Connections, Week 2: Meeting Connections, by Renee Bourdeaux

Week 3: Collegial Connections, Week 3: Maintaining Connections, by Renee Bourdeaux


Module 3: Called to Spirituality in Our Daily Work & Lives (5 weeks, adjustable)

Christ calls us to follow Him in all of our daily work. He cares about all our work on campus, and all our work in daily life. We planned this unit for that intense moment of the fall semester when paper deadlines, grading deadlines, and holidays all begin to crowd together. We hope it gives you a sense of joy and purpose as you follow Christ in the everyday details of your academic vocation, and in the work of preparing hearts and households for holiday celebrations and hospitality.

Note: We’re proud of our authors at ESN, and we hope you have time to read all of these reflections. If your small group is working with a short semester or a complicated calendar, though, you could customize the length and order of this module since each post can stand on its own (although the posts by Anna Gissing were originally designed as a series). 

Week 1: Grading as a Spiritual Practice (Scholar’s Compass), by Anna Gissing

Week 2: On Submitting Academic Work (Scholar’s Compass), by Anna Gissing (Note: Originally written for the beginning of summer, this post is evergreen.)

Week 3: Academic Conferences and Spiritual Practice (Scholar’s Compass), by Anna Gissing

Week 4: Thanksgiving for Domestic Hospitality (Scholar’s Compass), by Brandon Spun

Week 5: Continuing Thanksgiving (Scholar’s Compass), by Tamarie Macon


Module 4: Dwelling in Advent and Christmas (6 weeks, adjustable)

As the semester wraps up in December and we move into celebrating Advent and the season of Christmas, we offer weekly reflections from the first week of Advent through Epiphany. Enjoy a thoughtful Advent series by creative writing professor Joy Moore, a New Year’s Day reflection by Alexis Grant, and a devotional for Epiphany by Mark Hansard.

Note: We’re proud of our authors at ESN, and we hope you have time to read all of these reflections. If your small group is taking some time off over the holidays, though, you could customize the length and order of this module since the New Year’s and Epiphany reflections are standalone posts. 

Week 1: First Week of Advent: The Word (Scholar’s Compass), Series by Joy Moore

Week 2: Second Week of Advent: Hope (Scholar’s Compass), Series by Joy Moore

Week 3: Third Week of Advent: The Incarnation (Scholar’s Compass), Series by Joy Moore

Week 4: Fourth Week of Advent: The Coming King (Scholar’s Compass), Series by Joy Moore

Week 5: New Year’s Day: Starting with the Kingdom in Mind (Scholar’s Compass), by Alexis Grant

Week 6: Epiphany: Preparing for Epiphany (Scholar’s Compass), by Mark Hansard

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Hannah Eagleson

Hannah Eagleson is Interim Associate Director of InterVarsity’s Emerging Scholars Network (ESN). She launched and still edits ESN's collaboratively written devotional for academics, Scholar's Compass. Hannah also crafts other community-building events and materials for ESN. She holds a PhD in English literature from the University of Delaware, and an MA from St. John's College in Annapolis, MD. she’s working on a novel about a dragon who gave up fending off knights to become a tea importer in eighteenth-century England.

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