Dr. Joseph McRae Mellichamp is Emeritus Professor of Management Science in the Manderson Graduate School of Business at the University of Alabama and National Faculty Representative for Christian Leadership Ministries. For 25 years, Dr. Mellichamp combined successful academic pursuits with effective Christian ministry activities.
In our Christian Faculty/Staff Fellowship meetings at the University of Alabama, we would frequently come up with ideas that would enable us to impact the university for Christ -- this should not be surprising; this is precisely the purpose of the fellowship. In fact, we usually had more ideas floating around than we had manpower to execute. One idea kept resurfacing every year or so until about its fifth appearance, Bob Brooks got tired of hearing us talk about it and decided to take it on himself. The idea was a Christian speakers bureau. We felt like many of the Christian campus organizations and local churches could possibly use Christian professors and staff in speaking situations from time to time, but most of them probably didn’t have access to information about which faculty and staff were available for speaking engagements and the topics which could be addressed. So we decided to put together a list of our members who could speak, along with some biographical information and a list of topics, and to periodically circulate this list to the organizations we thought might benefit from it.
Bob published our first listing in March 1994 and sent copies to about a dozen campus organizations and churches. Here are a couple of entries from that list:
Dr. A. Eugene Carden, Ph.D., P.E.
Professor of Engineering Science and Mechanics
219 Hardaway Hall
Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0278
Engineering professor specializing in materials, mechanics, design and failure analysis.
Old Testament Survey
Metallurgy and the Bible
Dr. William C. Keel, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Astronomy
206 Galilee Hall
Tuscaloosa, AL 35487
Astronomer and astrophysicist. Has worked with many of the world’s most powerful optical and radio telescopes and satellite observatories, such as the Hubble Space Telescope. Specializes in galaxies and their interactions.
An Astronomer Looks at Genesis
If your group decides to publish something like this as a service to Christian campus organizations and churches, you should be willing to make a long-term commitment. The list should be updated annually as university people come and go, thus, the people and topics will change from year to year. A one-shot publication is probably not going to generate a lot of speaking engagements for your members, but as leaders of campus organizations and churches get an updated list every year, they will begin to use it in planning their organizational calendars. So you are looking at a two- to three-hour project every year for which someone in your group would assume responsibility.
The flip side of this is that some of us were concerned if we did such a listing, we would be deluged with requests to speak, something that you don’t relish if you are already busier than you want to be. We prepared for this eventuality by informing members who were listed that they would be responsible for deciding how much speaking they could do and for making the arrangements for their talks with the requesting organizations. This concern did not materialize, although some of our members did get requests as a result of the list being published.
So, there you have it. A nice, neat byproduct of Christian professors and staff meeting together on a regular basis to address the issue of how they can have an impact for Christ in their university situation. This idea was entirely the result of the creative research and development effort of our Christian Faculty/Staff Fellowship.
© Copyright 1997, Joseph McRae Mellichamp
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