It’s Time for Youth Pastors to CH.A.T. With Their Students

by J Warner Wallace

I wrote earlier this week about my time in Indiana with pastor Don Helton from the Grove Youth Ministry of College Park Church. As we sat and talked in between presentations to his students, we shared our passion and our strategy for equipping young people to respond to the challenge they will ultimately face in the university setting. Don shared an approach that he and pastor Joe Wittmer take with their ministry to high school students. While they are committed to line-by-line expository teaching through the major books of the Bible, they supplement this teaching with something they call CH.A.T. Over the course of the year, Don and Joe take the time to teach their students about Church History, Apologetics and Theology. Their intentional approach to teaching these three important topics to young people struck me as unusual in our current youth ministry culture. Stop and think about it for minute; do you think your church is intentional in its approach with young people in these areas? I think we can take a lesson as a culture here and start to CH.A.T. with students on a regular basis:

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Church History:
Don and Joe are teaching within a Reformed Tradition, so Church History from their perspective often focuses on the teaching of the Reformers. It’s critically important that our young people come to appreciate the rich and robust intellectual capacity of those who have preceded us. In an age of Internet immediacy, it’s easy for young people to get caught up in the now, and forget that many wise thinkers have already struggled with some of the issues they might see as unique to their own situation. Most of our young people are completely ignorant of our vital Christian family history. We wouldn’t want our kids to be ignorant of the history of their biological grandparents, why would we allow them to be ignorant of their theological grandparents?

As a Christian Case Maker, I was happy to hear that Don and Joe valued the role of apologetics in their paradigm…


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