The third step in this process is to “Include Apologetics”: You don’t do one shot by bringing in the guest speaker and say “okay, we’re done.” We had the chaplain for the San Antonio Spurs come up to talk to us one Sunday. He was an outstanding speaker and had a great message for us, but that was it. You can’t do that with apologetics. This is a discipline that needs to be fostered and promoted. So you include it as part of a curriculum.
In our first full year with high school students, Sean McDowell helped us kick-off apologetics training on Sunday, with a special service for the students on Sunday afternoon. He challenged the students with his “atheist encounter” role play and we had one specific student, a senior that was one of our pilot students the year before, challenge him on the accuracy of the Bible. He didn’t let her win the argument, but later he confided he recognized that she must have been one of the students trained in apologetics because she spoke in a way that only a student familiar with apologetics would do. Here’s Sean with Danielle and Jarrett, two prior high school seniors that came back from college for the weekend to help us kick-off our first event.
The day after our kick-off event, Monday evening, we had about 20 students. Three nights later it was around 40 students. Keep in mind, this was in addition to their regular Wednesday night youth group. These students were making an additional commitment to come and learn. Why? It was something that they had never been taught before.
At this point, you may be thinking “that’s easy enough to do if you have someone in your church that is trained in apologetics and can teach, but our church doesn’t have anyone that can do that.”
The solution is easier than you might think.
There are abundant resources available that can be used to teach apologetics. Most only require that someone facilitate the training. I’ll address resources in more depth in Part 6 of this series.
A good curriculum would include, besides lessons, other activities to reinforce the training. On this site under the “Resources” tab, you will find our complete listing for our first full year of apologetics training for our students. Figure if you follow a school year, you will have about 16 nights of training per semester. The curriculum I’ve created includes 8 lessons and 4 suggested breakout sessions per semester. These can be supplemented with optional activities.
Mix it up. Teach, train, engage others to help. Lectures/lessons, field trips, guest speakers and special events can encourage students to engage and learn much more about their faith and how to defend it.
If you live in a large metropolitan area, see if there are museums that have content that support the study of biblical time or lands. Here in Texas, in Fort Worth, the Tandy Archaeological Museum contains artifacts from various locations as well as the Baxley Archaeological Park which features a scale model of Qumran, home of the Dead Sea Scrolls. In Houston, the Dunham Bible Museum contains a rich collection of bibles throughout the centuries and an operational, replica Gutenberg printing press.
Our guest speakers (not our kick-off speakers) are local. We’ve had our pastor share with students about leading someone to salvation in a winsome manner. We’ve had a former atheist and research astrophysicist visit and share how modern cosmology supports the creation account in Genesis. This was open to the entire church and in addition to our students, about 100 members from the church and surrounding community came to hear her speak. Inviting others to your student apologetics training is how you can instill apologetics into your church. That will be our topic next week.