The Logos and Cosmos Initiative (LCI) is an outworking of IFES’ global vision to impact all of society for the glory of Christ, which is summarized under the goal of Engaging the University (ETU).
The LCI builds on the IFES Big Issues in the University Project, which ran from 2017-18 and was also part of Engaging the University. This exploratory project and consultation aimed to identify big issues that IFES groups were grappling with around the world, and to identify what resources were needed to address them. Regional consultations brought together staff, academics and students from different countries to share and learn about the issues and questions facing Christians in their universities. In the process, participants also learnt how to better integrate their Christian and academic lives and reflected on how to effectively engage the whole university.
In order to help address the issues and opportunities raised by the Big Issues in the University Project, IFES made an application to the John Templeton Foundation (JTF) for funding a project to increase the engagement of the sciences with theology amongst university students. Eventually, funding was received to help create the LCI, a five-year program which began in September 2020.
The LCI vision is closely connected to the John Templeton Foundation’s vision of “scientific and spiritual progress, in which all people aspire to attain a deeper understanding of the universe and their place in it.” The John Templeton Foundation serves as a philanthropic catalyst for discoveries relating to the deepest and most perplexing questions facing humankind and they “encourage civil, informed dialogue among scientists, philosophers, and theologians, as well as between such experts and the public at large.” The executive summary of our grant application to the John Templeton Foundation can be found below.
Today, the LCI provides mentoring, funding and capacity building for a new generation of young leaders in two IFES regions: Latin America and Francophone Africa. We equip these Catalysts to lead theology and the sciences projects in their universities in collaboration with their IFES national movements.
Executive Summary of the LCI’s grant application to the John Templeton Foundation
Science And Theology Entrepreneur Incubator: increasing engagement of science and theology among university students In Latin America and Francophone Africa
The future of healthy global interactions between the sciences and theology will be influenced by the experiences of students in secular universities. A JTF 2017-2018 planning grant discovered a significant desire in the IFES community for a project focused on the dialogue between the sciences and theology. An additional gift was provided by JTF for a workshop to discuss and redesign this proposal. This project will help answer two big questions: how do the character, content, and approaches to science-theology discussions in the majority world compare to the western world? And what is an effective approach to develop entrepreneurs and enterprises?
We propose a project that engages students, scholars, and IFES staff with theology and science in Francophone Africa and Latin America. Entrepreneurs will be identified in those regions. These Entrepreneurs will be nurtured and developed through an approach that develops knowledge, skills, character and experience. Our aim is to encourage synergy in each region. We anticipate ideas will be shared based on common language, similar cultural contexts, and geographical closeness.
There are two phases to the project: (1) Between 20-40 Entrepreneurs will be selected in Year 1 to enter the program. They will progress along Tiers, with competition and evaluation throughout the process. (2) Successful Entrepreneurs will receive funding at Tier 2, 3, and 4 to implement their projects. Effective projects will be scaled up or adapted to other contexts. Ongoing throughout the project is evaluation and identification of global funding opportunities for JTF and partner organizations. The major impact will be raising up a new generation of leaders who will influence science and theology discussions in the majority world, and establish enterprises that have a lasting impact. This will generate discussions that are contextually relevant and give insights into science and theology discussions for the western world.