Chasing Away the White Elephant in the Room
“We MUST double the number of students getting an M.A. in Apologetics” – Rick Schenker, President of Ratio Christi
Ratio Christi is deploying apologists to grassroots assignments all over the country. They are putting “boots on the ground” at universities throughout the nation. Their biggest need is more trained apologists. Prior to Ratio Christi’s emergence on the scene of the apologetics movement, there was a “white elephant” standing in the room of almost every Masters level apologetics class. No one wanted to mention it, but it was on everyone’s mind. The white elephant was the question, “What am I going to do with all this training once I am finished?”
The big problem is that churches are not hiring apologists and jobs working for some of the major apologetics ministries are few and hard to obtain. There is always the possibility of starting a new ministry and finding speaking engagements, but that doesn’t look too promising for most. Though there are more and more trained apologists it is hard to fathom what to do with all this training except to get a regular job and hope for some kind of opportunity to come along like teaching Sunday School or offering a course for a local church.
A new front in the apologetics movement is helping change that. In God’s perfect timing, a small ministry called Ratio Christi started establishing apologetics clubs on university campuses. One requirement is that each club needs a trained apologist to be the chapter leader. Over the past couple years, apologists from all over the country have been excited about the opportunity to use their training—even if it was only a “tent-maker” opportunity. After incorporating in February 2011, the number of Ratio Christi chapters has more than tripled even though there was no opportunity for financial compensation.
With a plan of opening apologetics clubs at over 500 universities in the next five years, Ratio Christi started to search for a way to give these trained apologists an opportunity to go into a full-time apologetics ministry. On August 15, 2011, Ratio Christi launched a “supported missionary” program so that anyone with (or working on) a Masters degree in apologetics has an opportunity to serve as a chapter director at a university. Similar to the model developed by many missionary organizations, apologists will need to build a team of supporters to cover the entire cost of a local Ratio Christi ministry—including the cost for their own compensation.
“This may sound hard, but there is a lot of interest out there. People realize that we are losing our kids once they get to college, and we believe those people are willing to fund this work. We also have a solid plan that will help apologists build their support team and raise a solid income,” said Rick Schenker, President of Ratio Christi.
Right now the need is greater than the supply. If Ratio Christi is to reach, and even exceed, their goal of opening clubs at 500 universities, they are going to need more apologists. That is why they are developing relationships with all the major seminaries and organizations that train apologists.
Schenker said, “Ratio Christi will still wants “tent-makers” (trained apologists who have careers in other fields) to be chapter directors at universities, but we want to chase away the white elephant from the apologetics classrooms by creating opportunities for people to make a living in an apologetics ministry.”
Ratio Christi is hoping that seminaries take advantage of this opportunity. When a potential student brings up the “white elephant” and says, “What will I do with this after I am done?” Just tell them that Ratio Christi needs more apologists!
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