Faculty Commons

bringing the hope of Jesus Christ to the university and
the world.

“The enormous challenges today facing our nation and the world require men and women whose thirst for knowledge is coupled with spiritual wisdom and moral character. Faculty Commons understands this!”

Marla Frederick

Morris Kahn Professor of African and African American Studies and the Study of Religion, Harvard University

“If I could start Campus Crusade for Christ over again, I would begin by working with professors.”

William R. Bright (1921-2003)

Founder, Campus Crusade for Christ

“There are few things that give me more pleasure than to praise the work of Faculty Commons. Their unique contribution on campus is to nurture those who are professors now and those Ph.D. candidates who plan to be professors in the future. They challenge us to be truly Christ-like—even when there are costs to our discipleship.”

Robert P. George

McCormick Professor of Jurispudence, Princeton University

The Whole Campus - the Whole World

Faculty Commons, a ministry of Cru, is committed to bringing all the resources of the university (faculty, students, and ideas) to the world for the advance of the loving rule and reign of Jesus Christ.

“I know of no other ministry that trains, mobilizes, encourages and sends Christian professors into the spiritual battle on the university campuses as effectively as Faculty Commons.”

Henry F. Schaefer III

Graham Perdue Professor of Chemisty, University of Georgia

FC Missional Moments

Over 1000 faculty find our weekly email news letter helpful as they seek to live for Jesus and love the academy.

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Although they represent less than 1% of the total US population, the faculty on our universities wield more influence on the future than any other group.

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Population of US--310 Million

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Students in U.S.--19 Million

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Faculty in the U.S.-1.3 Million

Our Dream

We in Faculty Commons are men and women who love the academy, who find the person and works of Jesus of Nazareth to be satisfying and true, and who look to Him as the beautiful hope for the world.

We dream of the day when movements of Christian professors willingly wrestle with the ever-challenging question,

“As Christ-followers, what should we do in the academy?”


Rick Hove On the Role of Professors

 

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Christ’s Sputnik – Can a Russian Satellite teach us to follow Christ?

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The The Ministry of the Gospel Bean: Five Ways One Faculty Member Enjoys Coffee and Conversation

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http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2015/02/grasping-a-rung-on-the-ladder/ Love how our Cru ministry at Harvard, etc is helping transform the..

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Coming soon. Join us: A Common Call — Four Conferences for Christ-following Faculty

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The Greatest Accomplishment in My Career Was a Failure

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Resources

Check out these ideas submitted by Christ-following faculty.

Friday Night at the Movies

For many years, Walter Bradley (Walter Bradley retired recently as a distinguished professor of engineering at Baylor University. He was previously a professor of mechanical engineering at Texas A&M University for 25 years, including 10 years as department chair.) used a “Friday Night at the Movies” resource to provide an opportunity for students to be exposed in a thought-provoking way to the big questions about life and to engage in discussion of these questions.

Find out more here.

 

What We Don’t Say in The Classroom Event

Over the last several years, Christ-following faculty have hosted a “What we don’t say in the classroom” event to expose faculty and students to the story of their spiritual journey.

Find more here.

 

A Newspaper Ad sponsored by Christian Faculty

Do a newspaper ad sponsored by Christian profs across the campus.

  • Pray for the strategic outreach of faculty on your campus.
  • Challenge those profs to put an ad in the school newspaper.
  • Good times to do an ad: start of semester, Thanksgiving holiday, Christmas, Valentine’s day, and Easter. The ad will usually have a theme to it.
  • Samples of ads. Go to our resources page. Usually an ad will include name and department of professor. Include a link to everystudent.com or other similar links.
  • Call the school newspaper for details about ads. You want the ad to be the biggest ad on the page, but it doesn’t have to cover the entire page. Normally, a student organization can get a greatly reduced price. Have the local CRU movement help set it up. Find out the price. Find out when you need to have the ad submitted by for publication.
  • Challenge the professors to pay for the ad. Or use other means of funding the ad.
  • Have the local CRU movement be praying for the release of the ad.
  • Help prepare the professors to know how to respond when they get comments about the ad.
April

April

College Student

My Story–A Student’s Perspective

“Nothing makes sense to me and I don’t know if it is ever going to. I am completely lost.”

April, a freshman, was nearly finished with her latte in a campus coffee shop. She was talking with Paul, a doctoral student in philosophy and a teaching assistant for one of her classes.  She discovered that many professors view Christianity not as “the truth” but as “one culturally-relative view among many.”

April found this approach confusing and depressing.

Paul, a Christian involved with Faculty Commons, had a different perspective. She sought out his opinion and asked:

“If everyone in the world is searching for meaning in different ways and each claim they have found it, how could there be a universal meaning?”

“What if I need to believe in some kind of ultimate reality, some kind of perfection behind all the chaos in the world, some kind of transcendent power…because I cannot live with the idea of being utterly alone in both life and death?”

Paul explained the good news of Christ to April and answered many of the objections to Christianity she had learned in several of her college classes.

He also connected April with Lisa, a Cru staff member. The two met weekly to study the Bible.

A few weeks later, April e-mailed Paul: “A couple nights ago, I finally decided to go for it and invited Christ into my life.  Thanks for talking to me.”

Buff Furman

Buff Furman

Faculty

Nielson Award Winner

Dr. Buff Furman is a recent recipient of the Nielson Award from Faculty Commons as an outstanding Christian professor. Here is what Dr. John Walkup, National Field Representative for FC said about Buff in presenting the award:

“I met Buff Furman in 2000, shortly after Pat and I arrived back in northern California to direct Faculty Commons’ ministries at the San Francisco Bay Area campuses. I was immediately impressed with his commitment to being a blessing to the faculty, staff and students on the San Jose State campus.

“Buff and his wife Wanda demonstrate the love of Jesus Christ for others. He has a strong testimony for our Lord’s love and grace to all those around him. Moreover, Buff has the leadership skills to which his faculty colleagues have responded during his seven years leading the faculty/staff ministry at SJSU.

“Whenever I attend one of their weekly meetings, I am impressed with the obvious respect that both the faculty and staff show for his leadership. This carries over to his family life; watching them, together with their young daughter, Joy, one sees a genuine picture of Christian marriage and family life.

“Buff and Wanda have participated in seven of our national conferences. Because of their participation and urging, other San Jose State professors have also attended various Faculty Commons conferences. He has organized and led the use at SJSU of the PBS “Question of God” series comparing the lives and philosophies of C.S. Lewis and Sigmund Freud.

“Buff is one of the most consistently Spirit-led Christian professors we have known. He consistently demonstrates his faith in Christ through his upbeat, encouraging demeanor, the gracious way in which he reaches out to other faculty, to university staff and to his students.”

Frontlines: Quarterly Newsletter

News, Trends And Opportunities At America’s Universities

Over 1000 faculty and friends of Faculty Commons receive this quarterly mailing. You’ll find the articles and resources helpful.

Check out some examples:

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Archives

Book Reviews

reasonLooking for your next read? One that will sharpen your thinking about tough questions and also deepen your understanding of your relationship to God? Then consider reading Tim Keller’s The Reason for God. Two things stood out to me as I read through it.

First, Keller’s approach to many of the topics is fresh and real. He uses dialogue with skeptics in his church to help readers see the practical need to deal with each subject. As you read the chapters, you find yourself thinking again and again, “Hmm, I never quite thought of it in those terms.”

Second, Keller’s tone struck me as perfect for our present culture. People have been traumatized by the unloving rhetoric of some Christians, and many have their defenses up. Keller looks at all sides of the issue and gently encourages the reader to weigh what he has to say and come to their own conclusions. This helps a person relax and be more open to the insights and truths he shares.

Not only has the book stimulated my thinking and growth, but it has been easy to suggest to skeptics and seekers.

The following quote from Keller captures his motivation in writing the book.

“Believers should acknowledge and wrestle with doubts—not only their own but their friends’ and neighbors’. It is no longer sufficient to hold beliefs just because you inherited them. Only if you struggle long and hard with objections to your faith will you be able to provide grounds for your beliefs to skeptics, including yourself, that are plausible rather than ridiculous or offensive.  And, … such a process will lead you, even after you come to a position of strong faith, to respect and understand those who doubt.”

The topics he deals with in the first half of the book are ones people are wondering about like: “You Can’t Take the Bible Literally, Can You?”, “There Can’t Be Just One True Religion” and “Science Has Disproved Christianity.”

As I have led discussion groups with professors using The Reason for God, I have heard comments like, “He didn’t answer the question the way I was expecting him to,” or “I thought I would hate this book but he really won me over with his open approach and solid reasoning.”

Topics in the second half of the book build upon the reduced defensiveness the first half has produced. Topics like “The Clues of God,” “The Problem of Sin” and “The (True) Story of the Cross” bring readers to deeper understanding of God and what He offers us in a relationship with Jesus.

The Reason for God is a “must have” for every Christian’s library and a great tool to lend to and discuss with a friend. It’s easy to see how Keller’s approach attracted enough believers, skeptics and seekers to make it a New York Times bestseller.–Dave Johnson, FC Staff

humilityHave you ever thought that you had a good handle on some area of your life only to find out later that you didn’t?

I did, about five years ago. Most who know me would say that I am a humble guy. I don’t seek to make a name for myself. I tend to defer to and include others. I shy away from attention and praise. By God’s grace, that is not just an act.

It’s part of who God has shaped me to be because of the work of His Spirit in my life.

However, five years ago I stared down the reality that pride had a much stronger grip on my heart than I cared to acknowledge, much less admit to others. At times I felt superior to others. While on the outside I still projected a humble exterior, on the inside I was prone to find my secret feelings of superiority too satisfying. Other times I felt deeply inferior to others. The feelings of inferiority paralyzed me and kept me from sharing my opinions and ideas and from taking steps of faith that I knew God was calling me to take.

Thankfully, my best friend (who is also my wife) helped me to see that both feelings of superiority and inferiority were rooted in an inordinate amount of focus on myself.

Also, thankfully, I discovered Andrew Murray’s book, Humility. Murray spent most of his life as a pastor and missionary in South Africa and wrote this classic in 1894. I knew almost immediately that Humility was exactly the book that I most needed to read—and most wanted to read. In fact, outside of the Bible I can think of few books that have had (and continue to have) as much real-life impact in my life as this gem.

At the outset, Murray posits that our struggle with embracing humility comes from an incorrect understanding of what true humility is. He defines humility as “the sense of entire nothingness which comes when we see how truly God is all, and in which we make way for God to be all.” He ties humility directly to dependence on God.

In Murray’s view, dependence on God (and thus humility) is not “Plan B” for sinners who proved they couldn’t live life without God. Instead, it is a restoration of the original dependent relationship that all individuals were created to experience and enjoy with God.

Over the next four chapters Murray grounds the supreme example and ultimate source of humility in Christ. He takes the remainder of the book to express how humility can and should work itself out in our lives practically.

If, like me, you are looking for a richer and more helpful understanding of humility in order to “be transformed by the renewing of your mind,” allow me to suggest Humility.

Or, if you are looking to lift your eyes to a more beautiful and satisfying Christ, again I suggest Humility. I know of no other book—outside of Scripture— that accomplishes both so abundantly.–Ashley Holleman, Faculty Commons Staff

WhitefieldThere is one person I consider to be a hero; I was driving to Kentucky with him when he introduced me to another hero. Dr. Henry (Fritz) F. Schaefer III is the most outstanding Christian professor I know, not only for his status as one of the top theoretical chemists in the world and not only because he has shared the gospel with hundreds of thousands of college students and professors, but mainly because Fritz loves Jesus passionately and it shows.

As I tagged along with Fritz for his lecture, he said, “Bill, do you want to know the best book I have ever read, apart from the Bible?” Of course I did, but I figured it would likely be in the upper stratosphere where only the Mensa dare tread.

He surprised me by saying it was the biography of George Whitefield by Arnold Dallimore. I was immediately interested because of my love of history and biographies. Then he said, “It’s in two volumes of about 600 pages each.”

Saddened, I envisioned page after page of laborious detail. My attention span would be spent after about 40 pages. But Fritz does not issue praise lightly so I listened to his pitch, quite sure that my eyes would never see Dallimore’s account of the life of George Whitefield.

The next week, Volume One showed up in the mail, a gift from Fritz. Now I had to read it! Like most biographies, the first chapter or so sets the historical background of Whitefield’s birth in 1714 and chronicles the vague information that’s known about his early years. Having dispensed with these preliminaries, Dallimore’s book reads like a prequel to the Indiana Jones series, with one adventure after another. There’s head-scratching drama with the Wesleys; physical, emotional, and spiritual opposition at every turn; and efforts to find a bride that were so ill-conceived that they are hilarious.

But at its core, the book is about a man who had a zeal for the gospel, who refused to speak ill of other Christian leaders even at the cost of his own reputation, who navigated the confusing doctrinal waters of the time with clarity that is astounding, and who the Holy Spirit used to bring new life to literally thousands of people every day. Thus ended volume one and the man was scarcely 25 years old. I couldn’t wait to read volume two and it was not a disappointment.

Whitefield was a “rock star” in England and especially in the colonies. But he was a rock star who started orphanages, mentored younger ministers, and woke up at 4am to pray and study the scriptures. Dallimore’s book quotes firsthand accounts of people following the trail of dust and thundering of horse hoofs to find where Whitefield was speaking.

A skeptical Benjamin Franklin measured the distance from which one could hear Whitefield’s voice and concluded that, indeed, 30,000 could hear him at each outdoor sermon.

Jonathan Edwards was moved to tears after Whitefield preached at his Northampton Church. Perhaps most vivid were accounts of people who were moved to repentance at the first sound of Whitefield’s voice. He preached 4-7 times a day until he literally wore out and died at age 55.

It’s said that the problem with Christianity is we’ve managed to make it boring.

My new hero, George Whitefield, proves that if one has a zeal for the gospel, one’s life will never lack for adventure. I only wish there had been a volume three.—Bill Hager, Faculty Commons Staff

Blog

All our zeal in penultimate

Walter Brueggemann, Professor of Old Testament, argues that the tension between “evangelism” and “social action” grows out of a deep misunderstanding. To posit tension between evangelism and social action amounts to a deep distortion of both and is in the end a phony... read more

Making Time for What Matters

How often have you had this internal conversation? I’m behind.  Again.  The items on my “To Do” rival the number of freshmen in my lecture classes. My time is not my own.  I don’t like the pace of my life—so little time for people. So little time for God. I’m not sure... read more

Lighthouse Conversations

Jeremy McNeese vividly remembers the first time he met Dr. Doug Dotterweich. In his freshman economics class at East Tennessee State University, Dr. Dotterweich began with, “I am a follower of Jesus, and I would love to talk about that if you are interested.” “That,”... read more

The Better Story

  The Better Story A Good Story There is one story I know better than any other. This story is dear to my heart, and I give time and energy to developing it every day. It has happy moments, and sad, and even tragic ones. I think about this story constantly, and... read more

Preparing Our Replacements

  Preparing Our Replacements Even as new Assistant Professors, down deep inside, we know that we will not be here forever. An abundance of Scripture affirms the brevity of life, and a career of 30 years passes quickly. As profs we have the privilege, and the... read more

Simple Ways to be Missional

Simple Ways to Be Missional How do we as faculty engage mission as a way of life? It’s not as hard as you might think. Here’s some suggestions garnered from several articles on cultivating missional habits into our lives (see links at bottom of the page). Simply... read more

I can do this!

I can do this! It’s funny how we can feel so confident in some areas and so fearful in other areas. While we are highly competent and confident in some arenas of experience and knowledge, we hesitate to volunteer where we have less experience and... read more

An Attitude of Gratitude

An Attitude of Gratitude Ever think about how blessed we are to be professors? For the most part, we have great jobs that are esteemed, that compensate us reasonably well, that pay us to think, to write, to serve. Many of us get reimbursed for travel, even for... read more

God Needs Witnesses More than Lawyers

God Needs Witnesses More than Lawyers “You will be my witnesses.” Acts 1:8 The life of faith can be ironic at times. During an on-going conversation with an Indian graduate student, Priyanka, I became the student and my student the teacher. Priyanka had... read more

Spiritual Adventures in Uruguay

Professor Frank Jury was presenting a new idea to the law students at University of the Republic in Montevideo, Uruguay: a personal relationship with Jesus can change your life. These students, functional atheists in a very secular country, think of Jesus as merely a... read more

Help for the Cowardly Lion

A Cup of Tea As predictably as tea leaves settle in the bottom of a cup when left undisturbed, I settle for the familiar and the safe. I often try to evade situations that require courage or risk-taking, and long for the comfortable and sedentary places of life.... read more

Sent to My University?

As amazing as this sounds, you and I have been sent to the respective university where we each work. In John 20:21, Jesus tells His disciples following His resurrection: “As the Father sent me, so I’m sending you.” Jesus was merely passing on the same sense of calling... read more