How to Be a One Dollar Apologist in the Second Half of Life

by J Warner Wallace

I’m often asked how I’ve been able to contribute consistently over the years as a “One Dollar Apologist” (a term I coined to describe our calling as Christian Case Makers), while simultaneously involved as church leader and Cold Case Detective. I’m definitely a “Type A” over-achiever (I’ve been struggling to find balance my entire life) but much of my game plan at this point in life was formed many years ago when a man named Bob Buford came to the church I was attending and talked about his book, Half Time: Moving from Success to Significance. Buford planted an idea I’ve been watering over the past 17 years: God can use the second half of my life in an even greater way than He’s used the first, if I am willing to position myself accordingly. Buford’s talk encouraged me to see this side of 50 as the best time to impact the Kingdom, and I’ve taken that encouragement seriously ever since. I’ve repeatedly asked myself, “How can I position myself financially, educationally, experientially and influentially to have the most Kingdom impact possible once I’m done with my career as a homicide detective? What can I do now to make my opportunities in the second half of life even greater?” My goal has been to prepare myself for a season of Christian Case Making in the second half of my life, built on everything I’ve learned and achieved in the first half of my life. If you’re interested in Christian apologetics (Christian Case Making) and are still a bit younger than I am, my experience may be helpful to you. Here’s how I approached this season of ministry:

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Financial Preparation
You’ll be most effective as a Christian Case Maker when you are financially disconnected from your passion as an apologist. When you’re able to make decisions independent of financial considerations, you’ll have the most freedom and flexibility as Case Maker. Live modestly, save your money, and plan for your second half. Be in a position to offer you services as a labor of love, without financial need, then use what you do earn to reinvest in your ministry. These “second half” years are about building the Kingdom, not your income.

Educational Preparation
It’s impossible to pour from an empty bucket, so start looking for ways to supplement your knowledge in preparation for a season of teaching. Become a lifelong learner. When I first enrolled in seminary and projected how long it would take to finish, I remember thinking I might not live long enough to see the end. Hear me on this: ten years are going to go by whether you get that education or not, so you might as well get the education. Look for creative opportunities to learn and start as early as possible. Think about your end goals before selecting a program, and get going…

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