— IFES Thriving Together Strategy 2022 – 2030
“We want to see students growing as disciples of Jesus Christ, bearing fruit as they integrate their faith with every area of life, learning to lead in their communities and standing for Jesus in challenging contexts.”
Our vision for Catalysts
Seeing disciples of Jesus thrive in whole-life commitment to Him is at the heart of the Logos and Cosmos Initiative (LCI). We are raising up young leaders who will take the university seriously as a place to love God with all their hearts, their souls and especially their minds – and who will help other students and scholars to do the same.
LCI participants are called Catalysts because a catalyst is a chemical that speeds up a chemical reaction but is not consumed in the process. We invest in young leaders who have the potential to bring gospel-centred change to their universities, disciplines, the church and society. One of the ways we do this is by equipping a new generation of thought leaders who will stimulate new conversations about theology and the sciences (including the social sciences) in Majority World universities. These conversations are rooted in local contexts. We equip Catalysts to lead theology and the sciences projects and many of them are practical in nature, addressing some of the big issues of our time.
Over the course of our five-year program, we aim to equip 80 Catalysts. Explore our projects webpages to watch videos and read short summaries of their current projects.
Who are our Catalysts?
These young leaders are a diverse group of men and women: some are professors, lecturers and researchers, others are graduate students, national movement staff or working professionals. All of them are involved with their IFES national movements.
The LCI focuses on theology and the sciences (plural), by which we mean a range of academic disciplines including the natural sciences, social sciences and the arts. Our Catalysts are from more than 30 different academic disciplines ranging from economics and criminology to geosciences and architecture.
How we invest in Catalysts
We provide Catalysts with training, mentoring and funding, enabling them to lead theology and the sciences projects in collaboration with their IFES national movements. Here are a few signature ways in which we do this:
- We take an integrated approach: helping Catalysts grow in knowledge, character, skills and experience.
- We provide theology and the sciences training that is contextually relevant, and we help participants design projects that are culturally sensitive.
- We equip Catalysts to do “action research” in that they adapt their projects in response to monitoring, research and evaluation.
- We emphasize community and collaboration: helping Catalysts to learn together, engage with their university and partner with their IFES national movement as well as local non-profit organizations and churches.
Our yearly cycle
The LCI’s year runs from April to April and we are currently in Year Three of the program.
Tier One is a foundational year designed to develop the potential of incoming Catalysts. Through training and development, Catalysts continue to build their skills, character and knowledge in preparation for designing and leading theology and the sciences projects in their universities.
Catalysts who are selected to advance to Tier Two receive funding and support to implement theology and the sciences projects in collaboration with their IFES national movements. Those who are subsequently selected to advance to Tier Three receive funding and support to continue their projects and scale them up to have an even greater impact at the regional and national level. They also have opportunities to envision new initiatives beyond the lifespan of the LCI.