In our last blog, part 5 of 6, I posed the question of how to bring apologetics into a church that had no one on staff trained in apologetics and little to no budget. The short answer is to engage a mentoring apologist to help you chart a course.
As a mentoring apologist, I have helped several churches begin the process of bringing the discipline of apologetics into their church. So, let me propose several steps to begin the process.
If you are reading this, you have found my website. Step one, therefore, is to find someone that can help. In addition to myself, I know almost all my classmates that have or are working on their Master of Arts in Christian Apologetics and most of them would be happy to engage locally. In addition to classmates, I am also affiliated with Ratio Christi, a worldwide apologetic organization that helps facilitate the training of high school and college students. A mentoring apologist or Ratio Christi director/mentor/staffer can be a significant help in starting apologetics in your church or organization. Step two is to start planning. How do you want to introduce apologetics to the congregation? Bring in an A-list apologist? Local apologist? Video? When do you want to start? Anytime? Beginning of a school year? How often do you want to meet? Weekly? Monthly? Who are you going to train? Students? Entire church? What is the budget, if any? Lastly, what curriculum will you use? These are all questions a mentoring apologist can help answer.
Before we continue, I’d like to answer the questions above regarding our own church here in Burnet. For our first full school year of apologetics training, we brought in Sean McDowell to help us kickoff the year. The following year we hosted his father, Josh McDowell. We did incur a significant cost for these events (honorariums, travel expenses, advertising, etc.), but we opened both events to the entire community, so the benefit extended well beyond the needs of our own church. We had determined that our training would meet weekly on a Monday night for students and later, Thursday night for the entire church. This coming year will see, for the first time, synchronized schedules where both adults and students will get the same lesson within a few days of each other. The intent is to enable parents and students to talk about what they’ve learned outside of the class. Aside from the cost of bringing in Sean and Josh, we have a modest budget to allow for a few special events during the year. We have had several guest speakers come and talk with our two groups. Dr. Sarah Salviander, a University of Texas research astrophysicist has lectured on the cosmology behind the Genesis creation account and the Christian influence on modern science. Christian filmmaker Brandon McGuire also visited us to share his film, Mining for God. The previous year, we showed his film to students and invited Brandon to Skype with us, which he did. Cost? Zero. We do give honorariums to our guest speakers to help them continue in their ministries. We’ve also taken a field trip to the Dunham Bible Museum in Houston, about a three-hour drive for us. Cost? Zero.
Do you need a lesson on Islam? $7.95 from the Summit Ministries website. A one-hour DVD lecture by noted apologist Nabeel Qureshi. William Lane Craig has an excellent series called On Guard, which is a complete curriculum. No budget to buy? Dr. Craig live-streams his Defender classes every Sunday for free. The options are abundant for low to no cost curriculum. <Insert shameless plug> I’ve developed a full year curriculum (Discipleship: Equipping and Apologetics Second Edition) that I offer for a suggested donation of $25. It includes 32 lessons and breakout sessions, teaching notes and student study guides and artwork for a three-ring binder. You can contact me through the contact page if you’d like a copy to review. I also offer many other lessons not packaged with the above edition, a list that can also be found on this website.
We’ve now completed our walk through The Critical Need for Integrating Apologetics into Youth Ministry. I pray that you’ve found this helpful and that you’ll help turn the tide of the youth exodus from the Christian faith.