Monday, May 07, 2012

31 Actions to Advance Apologetics

Need some ideas in order to advance in the area of apologetics? Things move forward when you take some action. Here are 31 Actions to Advance Apologetics:

1. Go to a Conference—Sometimes an apologetics conference is a great way to get things kick-started in the area of apologetics. Consider attending some of the great apologetics conferences hosted across the globe. Check out these conference pages by EPS, SES, Biola, Veritas, Unbelievable?, the European Leadership Forum, On Guard, Smart Faith, Solid Reasons, and Apologetics Canada, just to get started. You can even attend conferences online. Know of more conferences? Leave a comment below.

2. Do a Read Along Project—Why not work through an apologetics book with others? Spend some time and really delve in, wade through each chapter, and even work through study questions. It's easy, and you can get started right now on something that will benefit you or your small group in a great way. Read Along with Christian Apologetics by Douglas Groothuis, or Read Along with Is God Just A Human Invention? by McDowell and Morrow.

3. Decide on a Topic to Study—If you are scattered in your reading, then determine to focus your studies on one subject. Pick a subject that really interests you. Maybe it's the cosmological argument, the problem of evil, morality, or relativism. Whether it's listening to audio, or picking up a few good books on the subject, a focused study has great benefits.

4. Listen to Apologetics Audio—Time can be sparse in the midst of a busy schedule. That's why audio is your friend. It can go with you wherever you go, whether driving, exercising, or doing chores. You can select from some of the best apologetics podcasts, listen to audio lecture series, or weigh the issues in an audio debate. Listening to audio is one of the great ways to redeem the time that you might not be able to commit to reading.

5. Engage with Others Online—If you are a regular reader of this blog, then you probably are ready to put a bit of knowledge into practice if you haven't already. This interaction could be on forums, on blogs, or Facebook. However, wherever you interact, be person-sensitive, use proper tactics, and be a good ambassador for Christ.

6. Do Evangelism—Apologetics goes hand-in-hand with evangelism. However you see the overlap of apologetics with evangelism, if you rarely evangelize, then stop not doing it. Get out there and share Christ with others in some way. Some street preach, others share tracts, others interact through their church outreaches... However and wherever you can, get out there and do it.

7. Write a Letter to the Editor—Engage with ideas and make a public impact. Letters to the editor are an excellent way to raise important issues, clarify important ideas, and briefly advance pro-Christian arguments. Not sure how to do it? Doug Groothuis offers some tips here.

8. Give Apologetics Books to Family and Friends—Sometimes a great way to reach others is simply by sharing books with them. These may be fiction or just straight apologetics books, but you'll know what is most appropriate for your family and friends. For helpful suggestions, here are 10 apologetics books for giving to others, as well as five apologetics books that are great gifts.

9. Listen to Interviews with Notable Apologists—Books are great ways to learn about a subject from an expert. But being mentored by an expert is even better. Through interviews, you can learn directly from the experts in their fields. Hear their advice for those learning apologetics so you can avoid apologetic pitfalls, and gain insights from their experience. Through the Apologetics 315 Interviews Podcast, you can listen to over 120+ interviews from some of the top Christian apologists.

10. Invite an Apologist to Your Church—So maybe you want to get apologetics into your church. One way of getting the ball rolling in this direction is to simply invite an apologist to speak at your church or event. (Or hire a staff apologist.) Start by inviting Greg Koukl from STR. Or contact Tactical Faith or Apologetics 315 and they can also offer suggestions based on your topics and needs.

11. Preach an Apologetic Sermon—Yes, apologetics belongs in the sermon too. (Here's a book called Apologetic Preaching.) Read this article on intentionally apologetics sermons. Then incorporate it into the preaching and teaching.

12. Host An Apologetics Movie Night—Instead of burning cash at the cinema, you could host your own movie night. You could use the Lee Strobel Film Collection, watch something like Metamorphosis (and other Illustra Videos), or watch movies and interact with the worldview questions they raise. Do something on purpose and with a goal.

13. Encourage an Apologist—What apologist or ministry has been an encouragement or help to you? Why not take a few minutes and send an email, write a letter, or leave a comment on their website? Are there those in your church active in defending the faith? Encourage them to continue to fight the good fight lest they be disheartened and become discouraged.

14. Teach Your Kids Apologetics—Train them up in the way they should go and when they get old they will not depart from it. If you need resources for kids, here is a list of apologetics resources for kids and apologetics books for kids. You can do this sort of thing in addition to their Bible reading and prayer.

15. Mentor Someone New to Apologetics—Are you seasoned in apologetics? Perhaps you have a certificate or Masters degree. Whatever the case, invest in mentoring others through spending time, praying together, coaching, interacting via email, and letting iron sharpen iron.

16. Engage with the Christian Apologetics Alliance—The Christian Apologetics Alliance (CAA) is a growing community of apologetics-minded Christians interacting on Facebook (blog here). This is a great place to share ideas, interact, and get encouraged by those with the same passion for apologetics as you.

17. Start an Apologetics Blog—Want to put your apologetics into practice? Start a blog. You could review books, critique non-Christian ideas, share apologetics content, and defend the faith online. There is a growing list of apologetics blogs out there. Some people use blogging as an outlet for their church apologetics ministries. You can blog regularly, or occasionally. But whatever the case, blogging can be great way to engage.

18. Start a Podcast—Feel like you have something to say? Then podcasting may be the way to go to engage apologetically. Be sure you have good content and decent production skills or you probably shouldn't add to the noise. Check out some of the best apologetics podcasts and see if you also have something to offer. Do you do regular apologetics talks? Record them and podcast them. Do you write great apologetics articles? Record them and podcast them. Does your church do frequent apologetic sermons? You get the idea.

19. Start a Study Group at Your Church—The church needs to be equipped to defend the faith. If you have the passion to see apologetics in your church, then you can do something. Start by checking out How to Get Apologetics in Your Church part 1. Then move on to Part 2. And take action!

20. Start a Coffee Shop Talk—Also known as a "lunchbar", these are informal events located in a cafe, a pub, a small restaurant, etc. Students book an accessible venue at the heart of the university and invite their friends to a talk and a free lunch. You can learn more about them here. Use the idea or adapt it for your own university or community.

21. Start a Ratio Christi ChapterRatio Christi brings apologetics to the university campus. Find out more here and then visit Ratio Christi for all the details. If you have what it takes to lead an apologetics group and have a heart for the next generation, then this is definitely something to check out.

22. Start a Reasonable Faith or Reasons to Believe Chapter—The ministries of Reasonable Faith and Reasons to Believe both have great "chapter" initiatives. A chapter is simply a local group that meets to engage with apologetics issues. It might involve group studies, giving talks regularly, or inviting speakers to present. The format may be different depending on each chapter, but these are good ways to get a local apologetics group started.

23. Host a DebateDebates can be a great way to address an issue pertinent to Christianity in the public arena. Organizations like the Veritas Forum and Fixed Point put on large debates. However, debates can be hosted on a smaller scale, whether they be at churches, community centers, universities, or other school venues. Bring in an expert on the resurrection or two if you have to. There's plenty of planning involved, but debates can often make a big impact. Just be sure to record them with good quality video and audio for others!

24. Sponsor a Student—There are students out there who are considering PhD programs. Perhaps these Christian students are going to pursue studies in New Testament, physics, biology, ethics, philosophy, cosmology, or chemistry... these are the next generation of experts. Would you sponsor them to help make their education possible? Or perhaps you know someone who wants to do a certificate in apologetics or Masters in apologetics. Would you help make that possible?

25. Pray for an Apologetics Ministry—Along with encouragement, apologists and apologetics ministries need your prayers. Think about an apologist or ministry that you can pray for right now. Even more, make a list of ministries that you will pray for on a regular basis.

26. Support Apologetics Ministries—Encouragement, prayer and support. Here is a list of ministries that are good investments. You can support Apologetics 315 if you want as well.

27. Do STR's Ambassador Basic CurriculumStand to Reason has a good starter course in being a good apologist (ambassador) for Christ. It's called the Ambassador Basic Curriculum. This is a good place to start if you want to get better equipped in defending the faith.

28. Do the CIA Course—This is the CrossExamined Instructor Academy. It's for those who have a skill and passion in apologetics and want to use it through presenting. It's a training event with great seasoned apologists who will train you to be a better presenter and give apologetics talks. Check it out.

29. Enroll in a Certificate Program—Looking to go a bit deeper in your apologetics education but not ready for a complete program? Then consider a certificate from Biola, Denver Seminary, IBD, OCCA, or others. (Know of a certificate program? Leave a comment!)

30. Enroll in a Masters or PhD Program—Even more serious about apologetics? Consider a Masters program from Biola, SES, Liberty, SBTS, Veritas, Denver, Westminster or CES. Here's one list of Masters programs, and here's a Top 10 Graduate Programs in Apologetics list(Know of a Masters program? Leave a comment!)

31. Share this List—The purpose of this list is to be a catalyst for action. If you pass it along, you could also be a catalyst for action. Share it on Facebook, Tweet it, blog about it, link to it, or email it to a friend. And you can also help by adding your comments below to grow the list of action ideas. There are surely more than thirty-one...

5 comments :

Anonymous said...

Great post Brian!

MaryLou said...

Wow! So many things on that list that I could do, but am not. Thanks for the suggestions, Brian. I'd better get busy and implement some of them.

pennyofathought said...

This is a GREAT list. Having gone through the OCCA program, I highly recommend it! www.theocca.org

dgfisch said...

Brian,

Impressive list, but there seems to be something of "deja vu" about this article. Is this an expansion of a previous list of ideas for promoting apologetics?

Mike Tea said...

Very helpful and encouraging. Thanks, I will do number 31 right now.

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