Profile and Requirements of a Catalyst in the logos and cosmos initiative
The IFES Logos and Cosmos Initiative is founded on a conviction that scientific knowledge, though like all human affairs it is tainted with sin, is a gift from God. It helps us to know God and to participate in God’s mission, and it is particularly relevant to IFES because of our Gospel-calling in and to the university.
The LCI will train leaders to engage biblically with scientific knowledge so they can catalyse conversations and projects that draw together theological and scientific perspectives for the advancement of IFES’s mission. These conversations and projects will start at the campus level, but during the five years of the LCI and beyond we expect them to grow to the national and regional levels and beyond.
Who is a catalyst?
- A learner.
- Either a university student, a faculty member, or a staff worker in an IFES national movement.
- Note: diversity of academic level among catalysts is a priority in the LCI, as well as diversity of age and gender.
- Someone trusted by an IFES national movement.
- Someone with passion and potential for experiencing the Kingdom of God in all of life, especially in the academic and scientific spheres.
- Someone who will seek to develop into a thought leader in the interaction between theology and science, and through that interaction to coordinate Christian dialogue and witness.
- Someone willing and able to invest significant time in the LCI.
How does a catalyst fit into the wider purpose of IFES?
At the centre of the LCI is a vision of holistic discipleship that takes the university seriously as a place to love God with our hearts, our souls, and especially our minds. As catalysts learn to experience God’s kingdom in the scientific disciplines, they will discover new opportunities for Christian dialogue and witness among their colleagues, and new openings for Christian contributions to big issues relevant to the university, the church, and the society – seeking the transformation of these institutions for the glory of Christ. Because catalysts will be integrated into their national movements, benefits from the passions, skills, and projects catalysts develop will be enjoyed by the larger IFES community. The LCI also has a key place in the new IFES Strategic plan.
Why would someone want to become a catalyst?
The LCI wants to invest in catalysts so they can grow toward maturity, influence, and joy in God’s wonderful world. Our conviction is that God changes people for good, and for his glory, through relationships, through study of his Word and his world, and through service. These means for change will be implemented in each catalyst’s personal development plan (PDP), which they themselves will design, guided by the vision of LCI and with input and encouragement from LCI leaders.
We also want to empower catalysts to pursue their own God-given passions for bringing change to God’s world. They will learn to design and manage projects at the interface between theology and science: scholarly and ministry networks and conferences, curricula and training events for campus fellowships, published study guides and articles, and so on. At first, these projects will aim at a small target, perhaps a single campus. But catalysts who remain in the program for three years or more will run projects at the national level or beyond, and will be given opportunity to mentor new catalysts and to envision new initiatives beyond the lifespan of the LCI.
How can a person become a catalyst?
Interested individuals will submit an application through an online portal, describing their skills, their vision, their involvement with the national movement, and their vision for exploring how theology and the sciences relate to one another. Applications will be evaluated by a team consisting of regional and international LCI & IFES leaders. Selection criteria will be established by the regions, in line with broader LCI principles.
How will the LCI invest in a catalyst?
- Provide an advocate to encourage, coach, and coordinate the catalyst as they progress through the LCI program. A catalyst’s advocate will help them develop their personal development plan, which will be the backbone of their LCI activities.
- Promote the development of inspiring friendships among the community of catalysts, who through shared vision and experiences will be able to strengthen one another as thinkers and as disciples.
- In Tier 2 we will provide advisers, to help the catalyst towards growth in understanding and leadership.
- Through the LCI Training Development Team, provide workshops, webinars, learning resources and digital platforms to train the catalyst to engage in dialogue and witness as they explore the relationship between theology and science. Ideally, the centrepiece of LCI’s training will be a yearly five-day workshop, but in years when this is not possible the workshop will be broken up into quarterly Zoom workshops in which catalysts participate either individually or gathered in local clusters.
- Respond to the catalyst’s quarterly updates to help the catalyst assess their progress in their PDP and their growth towards the LCI goals. It is the advocate who will debrief each update with the catalyst, making attempts where necessary to address concerns and better tailor the program to the catalyst’s needs.
- Provide training and feedback on the yearly project proposal, and for approved projects provide funding as well, so that the catalyst’s vision of theology and science dialog and witness can become a reality.
What will the LCI require of a catalyst?
- Set aside a minimum 10h/week during the first year of LCI. This number will rise for catalysts who advance beyond Tier 1.
- Participate in LCI training events including yearly face-to-face or quarterly online workshops, monthly webinars, and additional meetings with their advocate and their catalyst community.
- Prayerfully formulate goals, in discussion with their advocate, for intellectual, skills, and character development. Develop these goals into a yearly PDP which will include spiritual disciplines, e-learning modules, book studies, research assignments and interviews, a pilot study that maps the ground for a local project, etc.
- Invest in mentoring relationships with the advocate and with any assigned advisers, and with a “travelling companion” – a friend who is interested in their LCI journey and who agrees to serve as a sounding board in monthly conversations. Share your experience and seek their counsel whenever possible.
- Remain connected to the national movement. This will take place in many ways, such as volunteering, invitations to speak, and annual projects.
- Invest time in shared activities with the other members of their catalyst community in order to encourage and learn from one other.
- Complete quarterly updates to take stock of their progress, and debrief each update with their Advocate.
- Develop a yearly project proposal, with input from their advocate and other LCI leaders. At the end of the year, catalysts who wish to apply to the LCI for another year will submit the proposal in final form for evaluation as the principal component of their re-application package. At the start of the next year, catalysts invited to advance to the next tier of the program will begin the implementation of their proposed projects.
How many catalysts will there be?
In the first year of the LCI we selected 35 catalysts from the two regions where the LCI operates (Latin America and Francophone Africa). The number of Tier 1 catalysts selected in subsequent years, as well as the number of catalysts selected to advance to subsequent tiers of the program, will depend on the strategic priorities of each region and on the quality of applications received in a given year. In all cases the national movement will be expected to provide 10-30% of catalysts’ expenses.