This has been a challenging year in academia and an exciting year of growth in ESN. Here are three areas of growth that encourage us:
People: We have enjoyed growth in the number of people engaging all of our platforms. Beyond that we have formed a new advisory council, nearly 200 people are now engaging our networking groups on Facebook, and a growing number of individuals are joining us for ESN Conversations (and viewing them asynchronously).
Platforms: Over the past year we re-designed our blog site to enhance usability. In the next month we will launch a new resource page with some of our best resources for following Jesus on the academic pathway. We have expanded our postings on Facebook and Twitter and recently launched a new Instagram account. A year ago in September we launched our ESN Conversations, and since July 2020 have recorded these and made them available on our YouTube Channel. Every month, we mail over 2500 subscribers with news, events, and resource updates.
Partners: One of my surprises as I came to ESN was to discover how many others also care about developing scholars who follow Jesus. We’ve had delightful collaborations with the American Scientific Affiliation, the Veritas Forum, several Christian study centers, Peaceful Science, the Society of Christian Scholars, and others. In addition, we are growing in our collaboration with our internal partners in InterVarsity, working with grad and faculty chapters and exploring ways to support aspiring undergrads with academic aspirations.
Just this week we had a delightful conversation with writer and musician Michael Card. He spoke about the role of imagination in bridging head and heart, in our reading of scripture, and in all of life. I hope you will watch and listen to the conversation on YouTube.
Everything Emerging Scholars Network offers is free to all with no paywalls. That doesn’t mean these are without cost. Our national (indeed international) reach and ministry involves an annual budget of about $150,000 a year. Most of this is raised by Hannah Eagleson and me, with a $10,000 grant from InterVarsity for our programming fund that is going away in another year.
We invite you to help us replace and increase those programming funds, which will enable us to develop our resources and engagement on all our platforms. If you have appreciated the resources and relationship opportunities at Emerging Scholars Network, we would like to offer the chance to become one of our Sustaining Subscribers. You may do this by going to our Donation Page and setting up a recurring monthly gift through your checking or credit card account. This could be $5, or $50, or $250 as you are able. If seventeen people became Sustaining Subscribers at $50 a month, we would exceed our goal. This is within reach!
For anyone who sets up a sustaining gift during November at any amount, we will send you a copy of Michael Card’s The Nazarene. The forty devotions in this new book are wonderful reflections drawn from Card’s lyrics and the four gospels, and perfect for use during Advent or Lent. These captured my imagination and filled my heart with song. It would be our delight to send these to you as our thanks.