I’ve been involved with student ministry in varying capacities since accepting Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior in 1998. In those almost 20 years, I’ve seen many students walk away from their faith. It always bothered me. Why did they leave? Were our games boring? Pizza cold? Oh, and what about the messages? Truth is, the competition for our student’s attention has become more intense with the 30-second sound bites, instant access to data via the internet and later, smartphones and a world that has become increasingly secular and hostile toward Christianity.
Don’t believe me? Most of my career was spent dealing with data. I was a IBM DB2 specialist for most of my career. I started working in the DB2 software development organization, and eventually ended up selling it.
Data is kind of the crown jewel of any business. Whether you’re a bank, grocery store, retail store or pollster, you always ask “What does our data tell us?”
Well data has an interesting characteristic. Data in and of itself is neither true nor false. It is just a fact. Now one could argue that data can be false and you’d be correct. But if you sold 5 widgets and said you sold 10, then the data would be falsely mispresented. Five sold widgets are just a fact, in this example.
So data is important. In the part 2 of “Why student apologetics?” we’ll be digging into some data that shows a youth exodus from the church that some pastors and youth leaders still deny.
I will be presenting four key processes on how to address this youth exodus. And yes, apologetics plays a critical role in equipping students to better grow in their faith, remain strong in their faith and learn how to share and defend what they believe.
In summary, those four key processes are 1.) Identify the need for apologetics in student ministry, 2.) Introduce apologetics to the church at large, 3.) Include apologetics as part of a regular student curriculum and 4.) Instill apologetics as part of the church culture.
In our next installment we’ll look at the data regarding the youth exodus and identify the need for apologetics as a means to counter the exodus.