No More Excuses: 7 Reasons Your Entire Church Needs Apologetics
Not only the word but also the idea of Apologetics seems all the craze these days. More people are studying, and more Christian colleges and seminaries are offering full degrees in apologetics. Which I think is great. I even have one of those specialized degrees. Despite the increase in interest and popularity in the discipline, there is anything but popularity when trying to push the practice of defending the faith into youth groups and the wider church. It seems that getting apologetics beyond the confines of a highly specialized classroom full of Jesus nerds and to the pulpit is like having dessert every night. Everyone wants dessert, but having it every night is simply not reality. Or even good for you. After all, it is a lot of effort. Preparing weekly sermons, the daily work of pastoring, church administration and management, and a slew of other tasks. Who has time for one more thing?
Well, the primary job of a church is to make disciples. And that, of course, happens in a variety of different methods the church uses. Some believe that apologetics is one of those methods. However, I would take it further than just a method. Apologetics is a key piece of the disciple-making process. Whether you are a youth pastor, senior pastor, volunteer, or anyone in between; if you hope to grow disciples who make disciples, apologetics is a must.
So take a minute and think of all the excuses for not making apologetics a part of your ministry, because I am about to rid you of all of them.
7. Apologetics is not a separate, highly specialized discipline
Yes, the modern practice of apologetics was birthed from academia. But it did not stay there—in large part because historically, apologetics was not thought as a separate discipline or degree. It is part of the Christian life, part of being a disciple, and part of the process of sanctification. Think of this way. No pastor would dream of removing theology from a Sunday sermon because properly understood, theology is the study of or how we think about God. Likewise, we wouldn't consider removing the practice of evangelization, or the missional work of spreading the gospel message. Of course not. Well if theology is how we think about God, apologetics is how we talk about God in the public square.
6. You don’t have to be a trained expert
Although a degree and some formal training helps, it is not necessary. Yes, there are some incredibly difficult ideas within apologetics, and much of it requires thinking, debate, and wrestling with philosophy. But today there are so many resources available and accessible to the average Christian that the intimidation factor is not longer an issue. The wealth of knowledge is virtually unlimited. That is precisely why Awana has seen such success with our new youth apologetics training. Much of that success has reached far beyond our own intended audience into college and adult Bible study groups.
5. It helps us be thinking Christians
During my time as a Christian educator, one of my primary goals was to encourage students to think for themselves. I was always confident that if Christianity was absolutely true and if students put the time and energy into thinking Christianly, they would come to the right conclusions about their faith and thus gain a greater sense of confidence. But this kind of thinking requires practice and commitment. The brain is like every other muscle; neglect to use it and it gets weaker. As I am sure you have already noticed, apologetics gets the brain juices flowing.
4. Apologetics helps us to see other parts of life and academics with a Christian worldview
Whether you are a student or not, there is little doubt you have wondered how to think about things like politics, science, history, morality, raising a family, etc. Apologetics serves as a gateway into other parts of our world largely regarded as a secular space and helps us navigate an academic world dominated by atheist and agnostic ideology.
3. It directly engages culture
Apologetics not only helps each of us think through various disciplines within the purview of a Christian worldview, but it also helps us confidently engage our culture with the gospel message in a way that is timely and relevant. Apologetic arguments offer us the opportunity to do as Paul did in Athens. He not only learned the culture and took time to think it all through; he engaged the culture from their perspective finding the means to get the gospel in a very secular and hostile place.
2. It answers life’s toughest questions and doubts
We all have them. Whether we admit it or not—we all have questions and doubts. I am not sure what is more frustrating, no answers at all, or an unsatisfactory answer that creates more confusion. Now I would never pretend that apologetics has all the answers—what role then would God play with bringing people into His kingdom? On some level, the Christian faith is a mystery. But so many of the questions we have about this world, the Christian worldview provides an answers and confidence in what is unseen and comfort in the hope to come.
1. Jesus did it.
Need I say more? Apologetics is advancing good reasons for believing in God, the promise of Jesus and the gospel message. Read through the gospels and you'll notice that each of Jesus' miracles there is a reason for them. He is giving a reason for believing in him. In fact, all of John’s gospel is an apologetic for who Jesus is. What better reason do we have then following the example of Jesus himself.
The reasons for apologetics being an integral part of your ministry far outweighs any excuses you could conjure up. Where should you start? Start simple. Start here (getadvocates.org).
Executive Director of AwanaYMSteve currently serves as the Executive Director of AwanaYM. Previously, Steve spent over a decade teaching high school theology and apologetics from Detroit to LA. Steve holds a Masters degree in Theology from Moody Theological Seminary and a Masters in Christian Apologetics from Biola University. Steve is also an adjunct professor at Trinity International University. He speaks and writes on youth ministry, youth culture and apologetics. He resides in Chicago, IL with his wife and four children.
Follow Steve Kozak on Twitter: stevenmkozak
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