Annual Meeting 2018

The 8th Annual Meeting of the Consortium of Christian Study Centers was held this summer at Techny Towers Conference and Retreat Center, Techny, IL. We were pleased to register 78 people including staff and board members from 20 Study Centers and 9 Partner Organizations, and 8 other guests that are developing new study centers. We began at 1:30 pm on Monday, July 30 and concluded at noon on Wednesday, August 1.

The Annual Meeting centered on lectures by two university professors, Alan Jacobs of Baylor University and Warren Kinghorn, who was a double appointment to Duke University Medical Center and Duke Divinity School, three workshops on topics of interest to Study Center personnel.  But the renewed relationships, sharing of best practices, and the discovery of effective and innovative approaches to the challenges faced by those who work within a university environment made this one of our best Annual Meetings.  The growth of the movement was strongly in evidence as this was our largest registration yet with a significant number of those registered in the process of starting new Study Centers.

Below are bios of our speakers, the descriptions they provided of their talks (and links to those talks), and the information provided by the leaders of this year’s workshops.

∼ Our Speakers ∼


Alan Jacobs is a scholar of English literature, writer, and literary critic. He is a distinguished professor of the humanities in the Honors Program of Baylor University. He is the author of numerous publications, most recently, How to Think: A Survival Guide for a World at OddsThe Book of Common Prayer: A Biography, and The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction. In addition to his academic work and books, Jacobs has been, or is, a regular contributor to: The AtlanticFirst ThingsThe New Atlantis, and The American Conservative.

Alan Jacobs – On Not Thinking for Yourself:  Why you can’t think for yourself, why you shouldn’t try, and what you can do instead.  You can listen to Dr. Alan Jacobs’s lecture, Part 1 HERE.

Alan Jacobs – Charity Towards the Uncharitable:  Charity as a mode of thought; a case study in being in the world but not of it. You can listen to Dr. Alan Jacobs’s lecture, Part 2 HERE.

You can download Dr. Jacobs’s handout HERE.


Warren Kinghorn is a psychiatrist whose work centers on the role of religious communities in caring for persons with mental health problems and on ways in which Christians engage practices of modern health care. Jointly appointed within Duke Divinity School and the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences of Duke University Medical Center, he is a staff psychiatrist and clinical teacher at the Durham VA Medical Center. Within the Divinity School, he works closely with students and faculty members interested in exploring the ways in which theology and philosophy might constructively inform Christian engagement with modern medicine and psychiatry. He is also co-director of the Theology, Medicine, and Culture Initiative. His current scholarly interests include the moral and theological dimensions of combat-related post-traumatic stress disorder, the applicability of virtue theory to the vocational formation of pastors and clinicians, and the contributions of the theology and philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas to contemporary debates about psychiatric diagnosis, psychiatric technology, and human flourishing.

Warren Kinghorn – Mental Health on College Campuses: Possibilities and Opportunities for Christian Study Centers.  You can listen to Dr. Warren Kinghorn’s lecture HERE.

You can download Dr. Kinghorn’s slide presentation HERE.


∼ Workshops ∼


1)  Study Center Development: Thoughts, Tips, and Tricks – Bryan Bademan and John Rogers, Anselm House

Come for a time for study centers to discuss the ins and outs of development. Bryan and John will share what they have learned at Anselm House, covering a variety of topics from relationship development with congregations and major givers to technical aspects like software and giving strategies (matching gifts). Participants will be encouraged to share lessons and practices from their own experiences, so please come ready to participate.

 2) Getting Off on the Right Foot: Engaging First-YearsMadison Perry, North Carolina Study Center

How does your center relate to first-year students? And what pathways to maturity does your center offer students? There are several compelling ways to engage incoming students, from Move-In-Day Lunches to summer academies to study center fellows programs. Study center directors and staff will discuss several successful programs for first-years along with thoughts on the kinds of formation that study centers can offer on secular campuses.

3) A Prayer for the Ages: Poetry and Theology in the Lord’s PrayerDrew Trotter, Consortium of Christian Study Centers (Room 405)

One of the few times Jesus directly answered a request put to him was when His disciples asked him to teach them to pray (Luke 11:1). The fuller version of the prayer he bestowed upon them, which the church has repeated down through the centuries, is found in Matthew’s Gospel and will be the topic of our conversation together. Looking at the importance of both form and content in our prayer, participants will be encouraged to think well about what they say, when praying, and how better to infuse their prayer life with consistency, wisdom, and faithfulness, based upon a thorough investigation of this most famous of all prayers.


∼ The Charge of New Study Centers ∼


In addition to the workshops and regional discussion groups conducted at the Annual Meeting, Karl Johnson gave an excellent charge to the new study center directors – Melody Green and Andrew Blaski of The Christian Study Center of Champaign-Urbana; Bob Whitaker of Trinity Fellowship, and Mark Shaw of Via Christian Study Center.  After the charge, Dr. Warren Kinghorn, Dr. Margarita Mooney and Nicole Riley each prayed for the new study centers and their staff.


∼ Schedule ∼

MONDAY, July 30

Opening Session:  

1:30 pm:  Welcome and Introductions – Drew Trotter, Consortium of Christian Study Centers and Karl Johnson, Chesterton House

2:45 pm:  Break

3:10 pm: Workshops 1 – Three Options (Repeated on Tuesday)

4:00 pm: Regional Discussions 1

6:00 pm:  Dinner

Evening Session:  

7:15 pm:   Alan Jacobs – On Not Thinking for Yourself


TUESDAY, July 31

 7:30 am:  Devotions & Prayer

 8:00 am:  Breakfast

Morning Session:  

9:00 am:   Alan Jacobs – Charity Towards the Uncharitable

10:30 am:  Break

11:00 pm:  Workshops 2 – See descriptions above

12:00 pm:  Lunch

12:45 pm:  Free Time

6:00 pm:   Dinner

6:45 pm:    Group Photo

Evening Session: 

7:00 pm:  Warren Kinghorn – Mental Health on College Campuses: Possibilities and Opportunities for Christian Study Centers



 7:30 am:  Devotions & Prayer

 8:00 am:  Breakfast

 Morning Session:  

9:00 am:   Feedback – Drew Trotter, CCSC

9:30 am:   Regional Discussions 2

10:15 am:  Break

10:30 am:  New Study Center Stories – Karl Johnson, Chesterton House

11:30 pm:  Closing – Drew Trotter, ED, CCSC


If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Elaine at [email protected] or 434-296-3333.