It’s difficult to be a Christian in the world of higher education.
Navigating a hostile campus as a person of faith is a challenge no matter what the field of study.
But a relatively unknown ministry is encouraging Christian graduate students to keep the faith!
Grad Resources is an organization “committed to supporting the emotional and spiritual needs of graduate and professional students across the United States and around the world so they can pursue their purpose with passion and determination.”
The ministry recognizes that graduate students, especially those who are Christians, face a unique set of challenges.
Graduate students tend to be “leaders, focused, and high-achievers,” writes the organization. However, grad students are often also “isolated, stressed, and skeptical about the relevance of spiritual issues to life.”
The academic environment encourages deep discussions on nearly every topic except religion. Students in higher education can easily turn away from faith in order to seem “logical” or “smart” and their spiritual health is often ignored by professors and staff at universities.
Grad Resources, however, holds firmly to the conviction that “spiritual health is significant to an individual’s overall well-being.” For students who are striving to follow Christ, it’s vital to be strengthened and encouraged in their faith.
For that reason, the organization has developed three main areas of outreach for graduate students: grad crisis hotlines, online resources, and fellowship groups.
At the National Grad Crisis Line, specially trained call-takers are prepared to offer faith-based counseling and immediate help to students who call in times of crisis.
Graduate students are 20 times more likely to attempt suicide than the general population. Anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues are on the rise in the higher education system, and students need to be shown God’s love more than ever.
Grad Resources also offers an array of online resources for graduate students.
On-call mentors offer encouragement and advice for those who are struggling with the adjustment to graduate school. The ministry knows that sometimes it just helps to know that someone else has faced the same struggles!
Articles and seminars on the organization’s website offer a Christian perspective on tough issues like relationships, stress, finances, community, and forming a worldview. These resources are free to all students who need them.
Periodically, Grad Resources also sends speakers to campuses around the country. These speakers, who are prominent researchers in their respective fields and committed Christians, include Dr. Mike Strauss (a particle physicist), Dr. Robert Koons (a philosopher), and David Ridley (an innovative businessman).
These speakers offer talks on the importance and relevance of the Christian worldview in the academic and professional worlds. All students are welcome to attend the talks and discuss the topics addressed by the speakers.
Through these resources, the ministry hopes to start conversations about faith and what it looks like to merge religion and educational pursuits.
The final piece of Grad Resources’ outreach is a network of Christian graduate community groups.
The organization says, “There is no way around it — the life of a graduate student can be stressful and isolating. Only other young researchers can truly understand it.”
“We assemble on university campuses to support one another and impact the academy as thoughtful and informed followers of Christ,” continues the organization, which has established fellowship groups for graduate students on campuses across the United States.
Fellowship groups exist for the purpose of building up Christian graduate students. The groups meet regularly to pray, study spiritually uplifting books (provided free of charge through the ministry), and serve their campuses in practical ways.
Fellowships are encouraged to “combine philosophy and theology to approach faith from an intellectual perspective.” It’s a way to reconcile the seemingly disparate worlds of faith and study.
Every Christian graduate student in a fellowship group is challenged to pray for ten individuals on their campus. The emphasis is on outreach, as students are encouraged to be a reflection of Christ to their peers and faculty.
“As a graduate student, you are blessed with a powerful opportunity to influence the most brilliant minds of our day,” the ministry writes. Grad Resources hopes to equip all Christian graduate students to do just that!
Visit the official website to learn more about the ministry and work of Grad Resources. Don’t forget to pray for the graduate students in your life!