Evangelism should be a value that shapes all Christian academic institutions.
When I visit campuses I sometimes hear the following complaint about making evangelism an explicit value: “We’re an academic institution, not a Bible college!” The underlying worry is that the academic mission will be displaced by evangelism. My response is that I don’t think this is the right way to think about evangelism as a core institutional value. We’re Christian academic institutions, so values like evangelism, worship, and service should permeate everything we do.
Nevertheless, if evangelism displaces our academic majors, or if it becomes that one course taught in the Bible department that some students take, we have missed our Christian academic mission.
Instead, evangelism should be a value that shapes our academic mission.
There are many ways this shaping might take place. For instance, evangelism might be a component of a core class all students take, where the relationship of the gospel to the academic subject matter is explored as part of the course. Students might have an assignment where they discuss how sharing the good news of Jesus relates to that subject matter as a means of assessing an academic outcome for the course.
Another idea would be to have a capstone outcome on evangelism that provides orientation for how departments can shape some of their faith and learning activities so that students can successfully demonstrate that outcome as part of their capstone work.
Let me share an example. In my weekly physics senior seminar, I strive to talk about how the gospel relates to my students as lovers of Jesus and lovers of physics as we move through the seminar material. We have one session devoted explicitly to talking through issues and opportunities for sharing ...