You’re a postgraduate with a busy research schedule, spending long hours in the lab or poring over books. You’re also a Christian, involved in a local church. You attend a church Bible study or house group, and maybe you are active in a particular ministry within the church. Why would you want to fill your precious free time with attending another group?
The answer to this question lies in what I see as the main aim of Christian postgraduate groups: to help each other to live out our calling as Christian postgraduates. As a Christian postgraduate, you are called to carry out your research in a way that is faithful – filled with faith, and faithful to God’s purposes. There are unique challenges to being a Christian postgraduate, in intellectual, emotional and relational respects. And you are in a unique position to help other Christian postgraduates to live out what that means in their particular subject area and research project. And other Christian postgraduates can help you.
Of course you can grow and mature as a Christian by being involved with your church too, and I would strongly encourage you to get stuck in. But to develop a Christian mind, it is really helpful to come alongside others who are struggling with the same issues, and to bear fruit by going through that struggle together. How might attending a Christian postgraduate group help you develop a Christian mind? Could you help others to be faithful in their postgraduate calling?
This post is the first in a series of three based on a talk presented by Anthony Smith, Eline van Asperen-Smith and Thom Atkinson at the Faith-in-Scholarship Postgraduate Leaders’ Conference, Leeds, February 2014.