Science for Ministry Institute
The Partner Model
A key component of the Science for Ministry Institute’s unique educational approach is its program participant “partner model.” Individual applicants will not be considered for this program. Instead, applications must be submitted by two people who share the same ministry context (e.g. serve/attend the same church, work for the same ministry, etc.).
The Science for Ministry Institute seeks to equip and empower ministry leaders to transform the nature of the theology and science dialogue in their ministry contexts. Education is the primary strategy for achieving this goal, but ultimately this new knowledge must be translated into a long-term commitment to cultural change. This kind of in-the-trenches work may not be easy, but the goal of ministry change should be more easily attained with two people committed to supporting one another in the effort. Moreover, with a carefully selected partner pairing each individual can tailor their program experience to augment and complement their unique strengths and ministry leadership roles.
The program staff will be looking for partner pairings that match the needs of the ministry contexts they represent. For example, a strong case could be made for a church sending a scientifically-curious pastor along with a theologically-sensitive scientist, who together could support one another both during and after the program in establishing an enduring model of interdisciplinary dialogue in their church culture. Admittedly, this is the scenario we had in mind when we designed this program. However, there may be other partner combinations that make more sense for other churches or other ministry contexts. A key part of the application evaluation process will be the determination of how well applicants portray their ministry context and the degree to which the proposed pair of participants matches the character and needs of that context.
Ministry partners accepted into the program are required to take the first core course together (see the description of course types). After that, the partners can choose to either continue taking elective courses together or split up and take different courses (or a combination together and apart). It will be left to the program participants to determine the best strategy given preferences, resources, and other contextual factors. (Whenever possible, we recommend that partners take elective courses together, because we believe this maximizes the educational experience and facilitates ministry culture change.)