All this week I have made attempts in showing the importance of apologetics in student ministry. For those considering implementing apologetics into their student ministry, or for those wanting to ramp up existing apologetic efforts, the question now to ask is how to get students engaged and excited about both learning and doing apologetics. Here are three ways to consider:
1. Model an Apologetic Lifestyle to Them
It shouldn’t come as a surprise to know that your students become passionate over the things you are passionate about. As student pastors, you have the privilege of setting the tone and culture in your student ministry, and a large part of that stems from the things that excite you—everything from your favorite college football team to the importance of being able to defend your faith.
Thus, one way to engage students in apologetics is for them to see you engaged with it in your own life and ministry. If you are passionate about learning how to defend your faith and communicate it effectively to others, then they will be as well. If they see you looking for opportunities to steer your conversations with others in the direction of presenting the reasons for the beliefs you have, then they will likewise be encouraged to do the same.
2. Make Use of Illustrations and Analogies When Explaining an Apologetic Point
Remember that apologetics doesn’t have to be so formal and academic. In fact, some of the best apologists of our day are anything but dry as they make use of illustrations, stories, and analogies to make their point.
For example, years ago there was a talk show host that used to conduct random interviews on the street, asking people basic questions that they should know the answers to. The comedy was when people wouldn’t know the answers to some of these most basic questions, or make up an answer that was incredibly ridiculous. On one particular episode, he asked participants how Mt. Rushmore came into existence (you know, the mountain face that has the faces of four of our most popular presidents carved on the side). One participant responded by saying “erosion.” Caught of guard, the talk show host clarified by saying, “okay, you’re telling me that the faces of four of our most famous presidents were carved in the side of this mountain from the natural forces of wind and rain?” And even with that clarification, the interviewee responds with a resounding, “Yes!”
Illustrations like this can easily be used to not only keep the attention of your students, but to also drive home a very important apologetic point—in this case, the absurdity that the design evidenced in our world happened by chance.
3. Make Use of Apologetic Resources at Your Disposal
When thinking about engaging students in the task of apologetics, one of the most obvious suggestions would be to find a curriculum or group study to walk students through. Of course, when it comes to finding student-specific resources, keep in mind that some of them may be dealing with a specific apologetic area—such as defending the authenticity of the Bible (Truth Matters, LifeWay Students)—versus others that are more comprehensive in nature (Big Questions, LifeWay Students).
When it comes down to it, students will get excited about apologetics simply on account of the fact that apologetics can help answer the questions they are wrestling with. The students in your ministry want answers, and they are looking to you to help provide them. Apologetics can help you do that.
To learn more about LifeWay Students’ brand new apologetics study, Big Questions, click here.
This post was written by Andy McLean, author of Big Questions, and Editor of The Gospel Project for Students