I’ve felt bad at science for a LONG time. I’ve been confused by science for an even LONGER time. Can you relate?
It started with my parents’ reaction to my 8th grade report card. I was a kid who rarely tried my hardest in school but still came out with As and Bs in the classes I enjoyed. (I recognize that I just labeled myself as the kind of kid you hated in school. Please keep reading! You might not hate me as much when this story is over.) My grades slightly changed in 8th grade. All of a sudden, my science grades changed from A/B to C/D.
My parents were upset with me the because I wasn’t trying my hardest. To get them off my back, I tried harder the second nine weeks to do well in science. However, I still ended up in the C/D range. We assumed I wasn’t trying hard enough. So I tried the hardest I’ve ever tried in my life to do well in science class. STILL my grades were in the C/D range when report cards came out. At that point, we all agreed that we had found a deficiency in my academic capabilities that “trying harder” wasn’t going to fix.
After 8th grade, my parents were no longer upset with me when I brought home a C or D in science class. They knew that I was trying my best, and that’s just what my best in science classes looked like.
With that said, it’s safe to say that when I pondered a series on science in my student ministry, I instantly felt insecure. All the feelings of being “bad” and “confused” rushed back.
Maybe doing a series on science brings up similar feelings for you because . . .
you never got good grades in science as a middle or high schooler.
Or, you just didn’t like science as a middle or high schooler,
Perhaps you did get good grades in science, but it’s been a while since you’ve really thought about the topic.
If any of the above resonate with you, then it might be time to start thinking about how you can leverage the science minds around you to give your students the best experience when it comes to the topic of faith and science as possible.
How to Leverage Science Minds to Talk About Faith
Essentially “leveraging science minds around you” means finding people in your circles with these minds to help with an upcoming series on science and faith. After doing this in my student ministry, I have some tips and strategies you can try collectively or separately:
TIP #1: BE HONEST WITH YOURSELF ABOUT HOW MUCH HELP YOU NEED.
We all are on a continuum of how comfortable we feel about the topic of faith and science. Take a moment to ask yourself, “How comfortable do I feel speaking on this topic?” Then be honest with yourself about the answer.
One myth I often believed when it came to complex topics like faith and science was that I had to be the one speaking. Because let me be clear: You do not need to be the primary speaker during this faith and science series!
While you certainly can if you want to, there is nothing wrong with allowing someone else speak to this important topic. If you feel hesitation in your heart, that might be a nudge from the Holy Spirit to let other people speak into the lives of your students. And remember, allowing others to speak is healthy every now and then!
TIP #2: IDENTIFY THE “SCIENCE MINDS” IN YOUR COMMUNITY.
The “science minds” are the people in your community who have minds that are scientifically wired. The hope is that you can find someone(s) who has an above average understanding of science and an above average understanding of faith. A person with that profile would be ideal to speak to your students on this topic. This person could be a small group leader, local school science teacher, or member of your church with a science background.
You may be wondering how to find these people, and it’s actually pretty simple. Ask your friends who know the most people around your community. A text or email saying something like: “Do you know anyone with a mind for science and faith and how they work together that could speak to our students in a series on that topic?”
It’s also a good reminder to keep yourself available to mingle with the adults in your church. You never know when you’ll run into someone who has skills that could be beneficial for your student ministry.
TIP #3: FIND A STYLE OF COLLABORATION THAT WORKS FOR YOU.
How will you collaborate with your science minds for this series?
Here are a couple options:
- Hand the curriculum to a science-minded communicator and trust them to contextualize as needed.
- Contextualize the content and pass it to your science mind to present.
- Hold meetings with science minds to get feedback on curriculum and divide it from there.
- Contextualize the curriculum with your communicator and send everything to your science minds for feedback.
Those are just a few possibilities! Get creative with this collaboration. Personally, I decided to have one meeting with my scientifically-minded communicator to give context on our students. Then, I gave him the curriculum and let him contextualize it from there. I was (and still am) close with this person, so I trusted his theological abilities as well as his scientific ones. Ultimately, your ministry context and closeness to the communicator will best determine how you collaborate.
TIP #4: BRING STUDENT SCIENCE MINDS INTO THE PROCESS.
There are bound to be students in your ministry that have a love or aptitude for science! Talk with your students directly or indirectly through your small group leaders to discover who those students are. I’ve written this blog with adult science minds as an example. But you can simply include students from the beginning and include them into all these steps. Or, you could have a special meeting with your students at any point along the way as a form of “crowd resourcing.”
Bring them all into a room and ask questions like:
- What is the relationship between science and faith?
- Do you have questions about the relationship between science and faith?
- What are you learning in science right now?
These questions will help you contextualize the sermon to an more specific degree for your students.
As Lin Manuel-Miranda’s George Washington sings, these tips come from, “The hard won wisdom I have earned!” That is, while leading my student ministry through a science and faith series. It started off as a terrifying experience on the horizon. But through my collaboration with the science experts around me, it became a series of surprising transformations. Countless students drive a wedge between faith and science, but this series changed many hearts. All thanks to the scholarly and relatable delivery of the content and the work of the Holy Spirit.
I hope you’ll experience a similar transformation in your student ministry as you tackle this topic for your students! Check out XP3 Curriculum to learn about our new series for students about science and faith.