Faith and Academics: My Present Walk

Being that faith is a large part of my life, it’s a bit disappointing that I didn’t make it to church for Sunday worship today.  I believe that the rhythm of congregational life is an essential part of experiencing richness in a believer’s faith walk.  Attending public worship breathes life into the ministry we live out in our daily lives, while strengthening our connection to our faith community. 

Despite having missed worship I still wanted to reflect on what has happened recently, and take a moment to prepare my heart and mind for the journey that lies ahead this week.

One of the reasons I’m an active member of the church is because I believe in the value of a churches activity in a community, and so wanted to be an active participant.  I’ve matured in my faith to a point that I appreciate the spiritual enrichment that occurs through the involvement of believers in the work of God’s kingdom.

It seems that through my life as a believer I’ve seen a pattern of experiences emerge in my personal ministry.  Time and again I’ve been exposed to the process of discerning mission in the church.  The process of discerning mission is really the intentional act of evaluating a churches role in its’ community, the personality of a body of believers, and seeking Spirit led direction in the course of the churches activities.  The process is complex, lengthy, and requires a considerable commitment of all those involved.  It is also a prelude to the process of examining candidates to fill the role of teaching elder (pastor) in the Presbyterian Church. 

Shortly after the members of Stone Presbyterian Church welcomed my family and I into their community I was asked to assist the members of my new church home with the discernment process.  I joyfully accepted, and began serving on their newly formed Mission Study Committee (MSC).

During the past two months of activity on the MSC we have been working diligently to lay the foundation of the discernment process we are undertaking, and develop a lens through which we can view the personality of our church and the road ahead.  To that end we have been examining the personal interest and professional skills of our church community, the social issues that are affecting our city, and our position on the greater issues being discussed at the denominational level.  Being that I’m one of the more tech savvy individuals on our team, I grew into the individual role of formatting what we are calling a Congregational Interest Survey.  The purpose of the survey is to assess the demographics of our membership, their interest in different areas of pop culture, and gain an understanding of their present involvement in the community.

We are nearing achieving a milestone in the coming weeks in that we will be publishing the final draft of the survey, and shipping it out to our church’s membership.  Blessings, and thanks are due to all involved in this effort; and to God for the privilege and guidance he gave us in doing His work.

Now moving on to academics.

This semester at Empire State College (ESC) I’m involved in two studies; Social/Professional Issues in IT/IS, and Management Information Systems.

Social/Professional Issues in IT/IS is essentially an ethics course concentrating on the areas of Information Technology (IT), and Information Systems (IS).  My work in this course, for the past week, has involved continued work on a course long project intended to apply concepts learned during our studies to an organization of our choice.  I chose to use my present employer for my case study, so I will be cautious about what kind of specifics I communicate here at TeknicalGrit.  However, I will freely discuss intellectual concepts in later posts.  Up to this point I’ve invested considerable energy into defining the organization in terms of its mission, stakeholders, goals, and present objectives.  Being that this project is forcing me to view my office in new light, it will be interesting to see how this project develops in the future. 

My Management Information Systems (MIS) course is a new twist to a previous study.  It wasn’t until recently that I truly gained an understanding of what Information Systems truly were in terms of an umbrella term that consisted of several sub disciplines of study; i.e. Computer Information Systems (CIS), Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Accounting Information Systems (AIS) and more.  Coming from a somewhat inclusive view of IT and IS as a military telecommunications technician, I was really unaware of the plethora of sub-disciplines that existed within the scope of the two fields.  It wasn’t until I began exploring the upper level courses in my bachelors program that I gained a real appreciation for this fact.  It has been a pleasant eye opening experience.

Coming off of my earlier study in CIS, my work in my MIS course has naturally consisted of a lot of overlapping knowledge.  However, it has also been a avenue into exploring the IS discipline in the broader sense of how it is incorporated into a business.  A lot of time and effort in this course has been aimed at application in a business context, and understanding how management views IS.  Which is why I selected this course in my program.  To fill in the blanks regarding my understanding of the business implications of IT and IS.

As I enter into this next week in my studies I’m past the mid-point in these two courses, and beginning to think of the next term.  I’m a bit apprehensive, and excited at the same time in my consideration of what lies ahead.  I’ll be entering my final semester of studies in my associates degree, but facing an increased course load; which also begins a series of courses in mathematics, in 2015.  Mathematics is an essential part of my degree, and also traditionally one of my most challenging subjects. 

Next year will be challenging, but rewarding.




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