Scientists at Church!  Cultivating Churches that Welcome and Nurture Scientists

As a pastor, geographer, and educator I have asked myself the questions:

  • How can a church create a nurturing environment and supportive community for those interested in, studying, or working in the sciences?
  • What are some best practices for how can churches encourage, support, value, and be enriched by scientists?

Many Christians love, study, and work in the sciences but struggle to connect with a church.  I believe this is a key challenge for churches.  The perception that science and faith are in conflict – even mutually exclusive – creates real tension for students and professionals in the sciences at intrapersonal, interpersonal, and church-connection levels.  As a result, church may not be perceived as a safe, supportive community where scientists can be welcomed and appreciated, openly wrestle with their issues, discuss their research, and celebrate their successes.

In my research I have interviewed Christians who are scientists (those who have and have not found supportive churches), interviewed pastors of churches ministering with scientifically minded people, and sought to identify ways that congregations can support and encourage scientists.  I have tried to identify best practices of churches that effectively and positively engage scientists.

To begin the conversation, here are the various topics I (continue to) investigate:

I am thankful for sabbatical time from my congregation and a Pastoral Study Project Grant from the Louisville Institute to support my research.