3 Reasons To Integrate Apologetics Into Youth Ministry
By Steve Kozak
Several years ago I began to notice a trend in many of my graduates. They knew the facts of Christianity but lacked confidence and conviction. They knew who Jesus was, what he did, and even what it meant, but denied his claim to be The Truth. They liked the idea of Jesus and some of the moral standards that come with Christianity but refused to offer their lives up as living sacrifices. In short, they knew what they ought to believe in, but they didn’t know why. So I began to ask my students some important questions. One, in particular, was, “Why do you believe, what you believe?” Most had no answer. The more I asked, the more I began to see this general attitude among students to be truer than I had hoped it was. But does it really come as a surprise?
After some research, I soon found that my classroom was actually closer to the norm. Youth leaders offered plenty of reasons and possible solutions. But quietly in the corner was the answer that quickly became the most effective tool I have used. I began to integrate the theological discipline known as apologetics. Maybe you have heard of it, but only in the context of higher theological academics, like seminary. Maybe you have even heard that the word apologetics is derived from the Greek word apologia, meaning defense, taken from 1 Peter 3:15. You probably have heard of those like Ravi Zacharias, Sean McDowell , and Lee Strobel. Christian colleges like Biola offer classes and degrees in the study of Christian apologetics. But what is attractive and useful to some is often seen as unnecessary or even harmful to others. Apologetics is often perceived as argumentative and more concerned with proving one’s point over people knowing Christ.
However, apologetics is anything but harmful and is absolutely necessary. It is about being prepared in heart and mind so that you can stand in the face of opposition with a reasoned defense of absolute truth. But it is not about winning intellectual arguments, being smarter than someone else or arguing with the opposition so much they give in and concede to your position. Apologetics is about learning to see the world God’s way and showing others the same way. It is being transformed by the renewing of our minds. It is knowing what we believe and why. And it is something that every youth leader should be incorporating into their ministry in a very intentional manner.
Let me offer you three key reasons why…
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