There is one significant reason to purchase and study this
book; our student’s future. I’m a full-time pastor and apologist at our local
church and for the better part of six years, I’ve been equipping students (and
adults) to grow stronger in their faith and learn how to defend it. I’ve also
read more books on this particular subject than I care to remember. With the
publication of So the Next Generation
Shall Know, I could probably replace all of them with this one volume.
I’ve not read anything that so succinctly identifies the
crisis of faith confronting our young people today and charts a way to have a
meaningful, successful solution to the problem.
To enumerate the many highpoints of this book would take
quite a few pages. It’s easy to say, “here is a problem”; it’s quite another
thing to say, “here is a solution.” Thankfully, Sean and Jim do both with
crystal clarity. I’ll share two highpoints that I found very informative.
The first is a section on “Ten Strategies for Connecting
with Generation Z.” They state that one does not need to do all ten, but you
should seriously consider doing as many as possible. First on my list would be
to “mentor a young person.” This is not to establish a formal mentoring
process, but to grow in relationship
with a young person. As Sean writes in this section, bringing students to
special events goes a long way toward establishing a lasting relationship.
Second on my list is Chapter Six – Love Trains: Resisting
the Desire to Entertain Rather than Train. Jim’s insight in this chapter
confirms what we’ve all expected; pizza, games and superficial messages are not
getting it done for our youth. This might draw them in, but it will not grow
them in a way that will equip them to remain strong in their faith post high
I have been teaching students outside of their regular
Wednesday night youth service now for four years. I’ve done much of what Sean
and Jim outline in this book and will be doing more, based on what I’ve read
In short; if you care at all about this next generation,
purchase this book now. It will not only change student’s lives, it will change
Quite a bit has happened since I penned my last blog almost two years ago. Without diminishing the importance of those that blog regularly and faithfully, my ministry tends to be a street-level, on-the-ground type of ministry that does not allow a lot of time for writing blogs. Perhaps I should consider changing that.
As I’ve embarked on a new season in seeking a doctorate in
theology and apologetics, what writing I do engage in has been largely academic
and the creation of lessons for my upcoming third edition of Discipleship:
Equipping and Apologetics curriculum which expands from the current 32 lessons
to 48. I expect it to be published mid-summer. Editing is complete, minus a few
minor updates (do they ever stop?) and packaging/publishing has been largely
In January, I moved from paid, part-time status as the
Pastor of Equipping and Apologetics at my church, Hill Country Fellowship, to
full-time. With that, I now teach classes an average of five times per week
with some weeks seeing more. So, what has two years since my last blog seen in
the area of equipping and apologetics within my ministry?
Students: Still the heart of why I do what I do, little has changed in this arena in the way of class offerings. We still study basic apologetics, worldview and Scripture. What has changed significantly is many of my students have been studying with me for two years, some for three. Also, these students are now teaching others.
During our VBS last year (“Camp HCF”), I had four students teach a 30-minute lesson to over 70 six graders. Ella taught an introduction to apologetics and the reliability of the Bible, Jorden taught them the difference between Biblical artifacts vs. evidence, Jonathan taught on several archaeological finds that confirmed certain biblical accounts and Kylie taught on how the fine-tuning of the universe points to our Creator. By the way, none of these students were old enough to drive yet.
In two years, we’ve
taken multiple field trips; Dunham Bible Museum, Probe Ministries, Center for
the Study of New Testament Manuscripts, reTHINK Student Apologetics Conference,
Reasons to Believe chapter meetings, and more recently, the McDonald
Observatory in West Texas this past December.
We’ve seen two students attend Summit’s two-week intensive worldview and apologetics conference. We had one student, Judson, receive the Legatus Christi award from Ratio Christi, their highest award for exceptional students that use their training in apologetics to proclaim and defend the Gospel.
Two other students, Kylie and Jorden, created a one-hour
presentation on their McDonald Observatory Field Experience and presented it to
the entire youth group on a Wednesday night, as well as multiple small-group
meetings and the church’s adult apologetics class. They are also scheduled to
present their session to Hugh Ross’s
Reasons to Believe Austin chapter in July. We think this will be the first time
this scientific apologetics organization will be addressed by high school
We continue our affiliation with Ratio Christi College Prep,
a high school apologetics organization through Ratio Christi (www.ratiochristi.org).
Adults: In addition to the basic apologetics sessions
offered on Sunday mornings, we have submitted the paperwork to become a
Reasonable Faith chapter under William Lane Craig. This group meets on Thursday
evenings every week and while at times studies content similar to Sunday
morning classes, we often study deeper subjects, driven by events happening in
culture. In this regard, these evening sessions are more focused toward
4-1-2 is our church’s primary means of increasing knowledge
of core doctrinal beliefs. The name is from Ephesians 4:12 which reads “for the
equipping of the saints.” Other pastors and I share during this two-hour
session (which includes a 30-minute dinner break). The six sessions are 1.) The
Church, 2.) The Word, 3.) The Great Commandments, 4.) The Great Commission, 5.)
Culture Shift and 6.) You Lost Me. Each session is intended to help those in
attendance grow deeper in their knowledge of their faith and the worldview
issues that can either shape them or destroy them. These sessions are offered
every two months.
Suffice to say, the four “I’s” of my earlier blogs have
played out and apologetics is now instilled as part of our church culture. I’m
blessed beyond measure that I’m at a church whose leadership understands the
importance of the words found in 1 Peter 3:15: “but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord
as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a
reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,” In
today’s culture, we can do no less.