Jason Lief, Religion professor at Northwestern recently received a $5,000 grant from the Science for Youth Ministry Initiative to develop a course for the Religion department’s youth ministries curriculum. Lief’s vision for the course is to answer the question of why young people are leaving the church.
Lief believes many high schoolers and young adults feel like they have to choose between science and faith.
“I would like to build bridges between faith and science in hopes to prevent some of those roadblocks that shouldn’t be there,” Lief said.
To develop the course, Lief has done some reading about the topic of faith and science and is doing a quantitative research study with one of his classes this fall. He is going to continue his research with a qualitative research study in the spring.
Along with studying religion and science, students enrolled in Lief’s spring course will look at surrounding churches in the community to observe how they engage science in their ministries.
Lief’s inspiration for the new course came from his interest in faith and science, but also from Andy Root, professor at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minn.
“I kind of like science,” Lief. said. “I like watching PBS, Nova and those types of shows.”
Lief has already written several books, one of them focusing on the question of why young people leave the church.
Lief has a passion for the church, youth leaders and how best to equip them to start converstaions about faith and science.
After researching in the spring, students in Lief’s new course will create a high school youth group curriculum that will be offered to churches. This curriculum will include documents, presentations and videos to help facilitate conversations on the relationship between faith and science.