Sir John Templeton’s life and work continue to promote dialog between science and faith communities. The current project is an endeavor to bring the findings of positive psychology into Christian congregations, to assess the effectiveness of doing so, and to promote the resulting findings.

One key finding from Mark McMinn’s previous research on clergy-psychology collaboration is the importance of respect and mutuality in establishing effective collaboration. The proposed research takes advantage of established relationships between Christian universities and local congregations by funding 5 psychology doctoral dissertations, each of which will introduce or examine the impact of a construct from positive psychology in a faith community. These projects will be selected on a competitive basis, determined by their likelihood of success including publication in a peer-reviewed journal. An authored book describing the merits of positive psychology in the context of Christian faith communities will completed. At least one article will be submitted for publication in a popular press outlet, such as Christianity Today, Christian Century, and/or Leadership Journal. Social networking will be used to disseminate results, and an iOS app will be developed based on the findings of one or more study.

In addition to the immediate impact of helping local congregations and dissertation students, this project is likely to have enduring impact by promoting awareness of church-psychology collaboration directly among the doctoral students who receive the dissertation awards, and indirectly among those who apply for the awards but are not selected. This heightened awareness among individuals who are about to become psychologists may, in turn, foster additional collaborative opportunities throughout their careers.

This project addresses the critical need, identified at the fall, 2012 Board of Advisors meeting, of bringing findings from scientific psychology into faith communities.