Test of FAITH
Resources for Churches from The Faraday Institute for Science and Religion

Skip Navigation

How to Run a Test of FAITH Course

You Will Need

A copy of the Test of FAITH DVD and something to play it on, a Leader's Guide for each group leader, and copies of the Study Guide for everyone else. You may also wish to stock up on some copies of the Spiritual Journeys with Scientists book, and print out some of the additional briefing sheets or articles from the course resources section of the website.

Getting Started

Test of FAITH courses are often run as an optional extra for members of a church or group of churches. If you have more than 12 people we would strongly suggest splitting into smaller groups so that everyone can get a chance to be part of the discussion. Fliers and posters are available here (2.1MB .zip) or on the DVD (see Technical notes below), and a trailer is available online and on the DVD.

There are three main sessions, based on each of the 30 minute episodes of the DVD.

  1. Beyond Reason?
  2. An Accident in the Making?
  3. Is there anybody there?

There is a summary of the documentary here, and a briefing sheet for each episode of the DVD in the Leader's Guide (pages 101, 105 and 111) and Study Guide.

If you would like to run a three-session course, then you should use the main session notes and ignore the bonus or in-depth sessions (so for session 2 that would involve using the Overview notes). Each session includes preparatory homework (optional), an introductory activity, watching the DVD episode, discussion and an epilogue.

There are four levels to choose from for each session:

Level i: Watch the DVD, stopping at the end of each chapter (cues are given in the Leader's Guide). Use the Short Questions on page 19, 42 & 84 of the Leader's Guide. These are comprehension questions to help people understand the content of the DVD. The glossary and briefing sheets in the Leader's Guide & Study Guide should also be useful.

Level ii-iv: Watch the DVD through once, then pick a Discussion Topic. Watch the relevant chapter of the DVD again, and use the questions in the Leader's Guide (& Study Guides) to guide discussion. You will find the hints for each question in the Leader's guide useful, as well as the glossary and briefing sheets in the Leader's Guide & Study Guide. The topics are marked Easy (level ii), Intermediate (level iii) & In-depth (level iv). If you have time, pick one or more other discussion topics, but do leave time for an epilogue. At the start of the session notes we suggest which discussion topics might be suitable for different types of groups.

If you would like to run a longer course you could split each of the main sessions in half, or run one or more of the bonus or in-depth sessions.

The structure of the course, is outlined below (short course modules in blue):

  • Session 0: Introduction (Optional)
  • Session 1: Beyond Reason? Science, Faith and the Universe
    • Bonus Session 1b: Beyond Reason? Facts and Faith
  • Session 2: An Accident in the Making? Creation, Evolution and Interpreting Genesis
    • Session 2: Overview
    • In-depth Session 2.1: Interpreting Genesis
    • In-depth Session 2.2: An Accident in the Making?
    • In-depth Session 2.3: Evolution, Suffering and the Fall
    • Bonus Session 2b: The Environment
  • Session 3: Is There Anybody There? Freedom to Choose
    • Bonus Session 3b: Is There Anybody There? Thinking about Human Identity

Follow up

The 'Taking it further' section in the Leader's Guide and Study Guide for each session suggests websites, articles and books that will be helpful for those who want to learn more about the topics discussed.

You may want to run a Celebrating Creation church service, and share some of the things that you as a group have been learning with the whole church. This church service material is aimed towards a very positive celebration of science as a means to worship God and serve him in the world.

Finally, the youth and schools material offers parents, youth leaders and teachers opportunities to share their experiences in exploring science-faith issues with the young people in their care.

Technical notes

If you are playing the DVD on a computer you will need to install DVD player software in order to see the DVD interface and find the relevant chapters. VLC player is a good robust player for both PAL (Europe) and NTSC (USA) version DVDs on both PCs and Macs.

Also on the DVD are some pdf resources, including posters and fliers for your course, transcripts of the documentary and bonus interviews, and samples of the book, Leader's Guide and Study Guide. These documents can be accessed by following these instructions:

  1. Open 'My Computer' on your PC, or 'Finder' on your Mac
  2. Right-click on the DVD disc labelled 'Test of FAITH' and select 'open'
  3. Open the folder labelled 'Resources'

Course Materials:

The Course Starter Pack contains:
Leader's Guide (1)
Study Guides (5)
'Spiritual Journeys With Scientists'