It is possible for a university student to be subtly influenced against the Christian world view by the assumption that most well-educated people (e.g., the faculty at his university) are either atheists or agnostics. This can also have an eroding effect on the faith of Christian students, since atheists are often more outspoken than Christians. It is the individual and corporate responsibility of the Christian faculty at each university to correct this misconception.
A simple, but effective, way this may be done is with a periodic advertisement in the school newspaper. What follows is a suggested procedure.
To accomplish the objective, it is obviously desirable to have as many faculty names as possible on the advertisement. Nevertheless, it is also important that faculty whose names are included in such an announcement meet some minimum criteria of orthodox Christian beliefs and generally positive Christian testimony. This assures the quality of the corporate witness.
Thus, it is suggested that persons be contacted individually on the basis of personal referrals and invited to consider joining the grout! after reviewing a simple statement of faith. Since advertisements cost money, it is also recommended that a minimum alnnual fee be charged to defray this expense. If additional outside funding can be secured from allumni or churches, this might be used to increase the frequency and size of the ad.
The following steps are suggested for establishing a group whose objective is to be collectively identified as Christian faculty.
- Identify four or five faculty who wish to take responsibility for this project and select one to be the chairman of the committee.
- The committee should solicit names of prospective faculty who might be willing to participate by having their names included in the ad.
- A name for the group should be selected ("Faculty Friends'' or "Christian Faculty/Staff Fellowship" have been used at some universities). A one-page letter of introduction, drafted to explain the purpose of the group, and the advertisement should be signed by the committee members As an example, see exhibit # l).
- An application for membership, including a statement of faith, should be prepared. A sample advertisement should be included so that the faculty member can see how the announcement will appear in the newspaper (as an example, see exhibit #2).
- Faculty who were identified in step #2 should now be contacted by sending them a copy of the letter drafted in step #3. The membership application prepared in step #4 should also be included. This should be followed by a contact in person or by phone. If the faculty member disagrees with the purpose of the ad as stated in the letters anchor the statement of faith as presented on the membership application, he/she should be permitted to decline without any pressure or judgmental response. If the faculty member is in agreement with the purpose of the group and the statement of faith' but is hesitant to join, he/she should be gently encouraged by using a passage like John 12:42-43.
- When at least 10-12 members have been obtained for the group, an ad should be drafted and space in the school newspaper purchased. We recommend running the ad once at the beginning of the semester and once toward the end of the semester if resources permit.
- Faculty members whose names appear on the ad should be notified several days before the ad is to appear. They can then tell their students about the ad and/or clip the ad for display in their office or on their office door. Prayer regarding the effectiveness of the ad is strongly encouraged.
- Varying the theme of the ad to fit the season is recommended. Several examples are shown in exhibit #3.
- An occasional lunch meeting of the group is recommended (at least once a semester, possibly as often as once a month) to allow the various members of the group to get better acquainted and to share what God has been doing in their respective areas of influence through opportunities stimulated by the ad or in other ways.
- Where contact with a Christian on the newspaper staff allows, an article about the group in the school newspaper should be solicited periodically (see exhibit #3).
Further details are available from Christian Leadership Ministries, 3440 Sojourn drive, suite 200, Carrolton, Texas 75006. Phone:(972) 713-7130 . Fax:(972) 713-7130. E-mail: email@example.com