Christian postgraduate groups: what?

In the last blog post Eline wrote that the main aim of Christian postgraduate groups is “to help each other to live out our calling as Christian postgraduates,” explaining that “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.”

But what does this look like for our groups? What should we do in our meetings in order to encourage one another to carry out our research in a way that is faithful – filled with faith, and faithful to God’s purposes? I want to suggest seven ways in which this might be done.

  • Bible. As Christian postgraduates we want (i) our work and (ii) how we work to be faithful to God’s purposes. God speaks clearly to us through his word about these two things. So being faithful to God as postgraduates means listening to him by reading the Bible together.
  • Prayer. Through prayer we recognize that we need God’s help for postgraduate study to carry out our research in a way that is faithful. Especially since we live in a world that is so prone to do otherwise.
  • Support. Life as a postgraduate in general can be lonely. You’re no doubt working on a niche research topic that few people understand and few people are willing to understand. Not only this, but Christian postgraduates can feel even more isolated when they’re working in research groups that adopt an undergirding secular philosophy. Christian postgraduate groups offer a welcome home for those in this situation. Postgraduate Christian groups will have people who are not only willing to learn about God’s creation from your perspective (perhaps in simpler language) but also willing to help you tackle some of the assumptions held by your secular colleagues.
  • Mentoring. One great way in which this support can be given is by meeting other Christian academics that have been through the struggles we face. Christian postgraduate groups are a great way to find Christian academics that are able to do this.
  • Discuss. In many areas of postgraduate study it’s not immediately clear how our Christian faith impacts our research; a postgraduate group is the perfect place explore how one’s faith impacts one’s research.
  • Share. Sharing with one another why, as a Christian, we’re doing research is extremely valuable. It primarily helps us to see how our research fits with God’s plan for our work. The interdisciplinary nature of Christian postgraduate groups can also help shed new light on our areas of research.
  • Evangelism. It’s important that we, as Christians, engage those around us with the good news of Jesus Christ. As Christian postgraduates we’re particularly suited to sharing the gospel with other postgraduates and academics.

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