Are you starting a faculty group? To help you, we put together a semester of short devotional readings for new faculty groups. Also, check out the InterVarsity Faculty Gatherings Toolkit for practical resources on how to start a faculty group, including sample emails, timeline guides, and more!
-Hannah Eagleson, InterVarsity Emerging Scholars Network Associate Director & Scholar’s Compass Editor
Starting a Faculty Group with Scholar’s Compass: Devotionals for Your First Semester
About Scholar’s Compass & These Readings
In over 30 years of serving Christian faculty at InterVarsity, we have found a deep hunger to connect faith and academic life. Sadly, we have also found a lack of devotional resources that help scholars do that. To fill the need, we launched an online devotional series for academics called Scholar’s Compass. Themes include connecting faith and your field, seeking God in everyday academic activities, and cultivating virtues as a scholar. We curated this set of Scholar’s Compass readings especially for new faculty groups.
This plan includes 16 readings for a semester’s worth of weekly devotionals. The readings include questions for discussion and a prayer. Feel free to use this list however it works best for you. Your group can simply read one entry per week together and discuss it. You could also choose just one unit to explore if you’re meeting monthly, skip a few entries if you have a shorter semester, etc. May God bless your meetings.
Introduction (1 reading): The Four Loves: God’s Invitation to Faculty by Kathy Tuan-Maclean
Our Director of Faculty Ministry shares four key ways faculty can live out God’s love in their work. This short article is a great starting point for a faculty group. Since this is the only article not in our Scholar’s Compass devotional format, we have provided questions and a prayer for your group to use below.
Questions for The Four Loves: Where in your life and work are you already living out one or more of these Four Faculty Loves? Where could you imagine living out one of these loves more fully? What is one next step you could take to grow in one of these loves?
Prayer: Oh Lord, let our love for you overflow into our work and the world around us. Amen.
Section 1: Navigating Beginnings (4 readings)
As you begin meeting together, these readings focus on following God into new things. First, Professor W. Brian Lane shares his own journey to seeing the academic life as a vibrant way to follow God. Then, in a 3-part series, Dr. Lauri Swann encourages us to apply lessons from the life of Abraham as we explore new things in our academic lives.
Week 1: Glory-seeking Ministry in the Academic Life by W. Brian Lane
Week 2: Unchartered Territories, Part 1: Hearing God’s Voice by Lauri Swann
Week 3: Unchartered Territories, Part 2: Obedience by Lauri Swann
Week 4: Unchartered Territories, Part 3: Faith by Lauri Swann
Section 2: Finding God in our Fields (4 readings)
Loving your academic discipline comes naturally to many scholars, but how does it connect with faith? These four devotionals offer some examples of how different scholars bring their work and faith together in the humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences. We hope they help you see more connections between your own academic discipline and your faith.
Week 1: Learning Scholarly Virtues from the Iliad by Bethany Bear
Week 2: Sharing the Wonder by Ruth Bancewicz
Week 3: Words of Authority by Deryck Chan
Week 4: Integrating Faith and Archaeology by Eline van Asperen
Section 3: Thriving in Difficulty (3 readings)
While we pray to flourish in everything we do, we sometimes face great difficulty in our lives and academic vocations. This series offers hope for navigating those tough times.
Week 1: Navigating the Rapids, Part 1 by Tamarie Macon
Week 2: Navigating the Rapids, Part 2 by Tamarie Macon
Week 3: Navigating the Rapids, Part 3 by Tamarie Macon
Section 4: Daily Flourishing (4 readings)
As we seek to love our campuses and the world around us, God is with us in the everyday work of academia. These readings help remind us of how we can grow spiritually through our work and bless others. Anna Gissing shares a three-part series on spiritual practice in common academic activities. We conclude this section and the whole series with an encouraging reflection from Dr. Beth Madison.
Week 1: Grading as a Spiritual Practice Anna Gissing
Week 2: On Submitting Academic Work Anna Gissing
Week 3: Academic Conferences and Spiritual Practice Anna Gissing
Week 4: Stories for Life Beth Madison
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.