My delay in writing this article was to allow a certain event to unfold so the “Instill” step could be better illustrated. More about that toward the end of the article.
The fourth and last step in the process of bringing apologetics into the church is to “Instill Apologetics” as part of the culture. From our pilot year with high school seniors, to the high school students (not just seniors) the following year and now this year, apologetics is becoming part of our culture.
In our first full year of teaching high school students, we had research astrophysicist Dr. Sarah Salviander from the University of Texas visit our students. Sarah was a former atheist; she came to share not only her testimony but how the account of Genesis accurately represented the order of creation events in Genesis. This wasn’t only our regular 30 to 40 students. About 100 people from our church showed up. The moms and the dads and the grandparents. So, you can see what’s happening now. Apologetics has become part of our church culture. Both the students and adults are now interested.
It’s important to share that we are a Ratio Christi College Prep chapter. It is an organization that seeks to equip both college and high school students in apologetics. They have roughly 150 chapters on college campuses and are fast approaching a similar number of high school chapters. They provide not only a network of like-minded leaders, but access to discounted or free teaching resources, speakers and marketing materials. We were a pilot chapter our first year and saw the benefits immediately. Three of our five high school seniors went to colleges that had Ratio Christi chapters. Two went to the University of Texas at Arlington and one went to Baylor University. We were able to connect them with Ratio Christi chapters at each college. These students could transition to their university Ratio Christi chapters from their high school apologetics Ratio Christi College Prep chapter. It’s a great organization and I would not recommend starting an apologetic ministry for students without affiliation with Ratio Christi. Information on that organization can be found here: www.ratiochristi.org
The event I mentioned at the beginning of this article happened on Sunday, the 26th. On that day, I was ordained and commissioned as Hill Country Fellowship’s Pastor of Equipping and Apologetics. Apologetics has now been completely instilled as part of our church culture. In three years, our church has gone from knowing very little about apologetics, to it now becoming an important part of our culture.
Last night was the first church-wide apologetics training kick-off. We’ll continue through the remainder of the year, but next year, both the students and adults will be taught the same lesson each week to allow families to have conversations about their faith. Equipping and apologetics will be part of continual education for our church and anyone in the surrounding community.
This concludes the steps on the four “I’s” of apologetic training for your church.
- Identify the need for apologetics
- Introduce apologetics
- Include apologetics
- Instill apologetics
Well, that’s a good roadmap you might say, but we’re a small church with no one that knows apologetics and little to no budget to support this type of training. Good news! How to do it under those conditions will be the subject of the last article in this series.