The vision of the conference
Therefore I urge you brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God - this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - his good pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:1,2)
We are asking ourselves a fundamental question: "How can we be good stewards of the privileges of study that God has given us?"
We believe our stewardship in academics is threefold:
- During our present time of study and research, our calling is to be a Christian academic in an academic world. God's perspective should direct our choices, our premises and our manner of inquiry and learning. We should strive after God's standards of excellence in our pursuit of truth.
"Be[ing] transformed by the renewing of our minds" Roman 12:1
- We are called, further, to be aware of and respond to the world around us. This involves grappling with contemporary social and intellectual trends, globally and locally - as did Paul and Daniel.
"Do not be conformed to the pattern of this world… be able to test and approve God's will… His good, pleasing and perfect will" Romans 12:1,2
- Most significantly, our calling is to seek God's Kingdom and make a difference both now and in the future, wherever God places us. "I urge you therefore…to present your bodies as a living sacrifice which is your reasonable worship" Romans 12:1,2
The Vision for the conferences
To challenge and encourage us as Christian postgrads and postdocs:
- To take on responsibilities as stewards of God-given privileges of study more seriously. Take seriously our responsibilities as students, academics and/or future leaders of society. Of those to whom much has been given, much is expected.
- To live purposeful Christ-centered lives, acknowledging and pursuing our calling in the three aspects defined in the stewardship.
- To become what/who God has called us to be. Attempting to prepare for, fulfil and accomplish what God has called us to be in the future.
- "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another" (Proverbs 27:17). So we want to see an active interaction between participants.
Goals for the original conference:
- To create a heightened awareness of and sense of urgency about our Christian responsibilities in the academic world, and equip us to start the process of defining our individual strategies for fulfilling them.
- Equip us to begin identifying the key issues in our own fields, which need a Christian response, and enable us to make friends with others in our fields.
- Provide mutually supportive contacts, emerging out of the conference.
- Motivate and enthuse us to return to our universities and continue to engage other Christian postgrads and postdocs in catching the vision shared at the conference.
- That the vision and outcome of the conference will be communicated to other universities in the hope of catalysing the establishment of similar Christian fellowship groups.
- We hope that our life "In Christ" and "In our world" (academic, national, professional) will be enriched through the conference, helping us to hold in tension together, "being in the world and under God's authority".