Want to See More Christian Parents Learn Apologetics at Church? Introducing Grassroots Apologetics for Parents!

Introducting Grassroots Apologetics for Parents

In the last few years that I’ve been writing and speaking about the importance of parents equipping their kids with an understanding of apologetics (how to make a case for and defend the truth of Christianity), I’ve had a nagging thought in the back of my mind:

There will never be a widespread change in Christian parents’ knowledge of this topic until there’s a widespread change in the emphasis local churches place on it.

The barriers to that happening, however, are significant:

  • Pastors are extraordinarily busy. In some cases, they don’t see a strong need for parents (or other church members) learning apologetics, so it falls low on the priority list. In other cases, they may see the need for it but are stretched too thin to find ways to make it happen.

 

  • Many local churches don’t already have one or more members who are passionate about apologetics. With no one to champion the cause internally, nothing happens.

 

  • Even when a local church decides to do something in this area, there’s often an uncertainty about what to do (which of many resources should they use?) and who will do it (church members often feel unequipped to facilitate classes in this area).

For these reasons, it’s been a joy for me to speak at churches in the last few years. Parents who would otherwise not know what apologetics is, why it’s important, or how to gain the knowledge they need attend because my talk is more generally titled “Raising Kids with Confident Faith in a Secular World.” That’s something all Christian parents desire to do, even if they come not knowing what it entails. I’m so heartened when I talk to parents afterward who say they now realize they need to get better equipped and enthusiastically pick up Keeping Your Kids on God’s Side and Talking with Your Kids about God to get going!

But these events are just a drop in the bucket. I started thinking earlier this year, What if there was a whole network of people doing the same (or a similar) presentation at local churches, who would then facilitate an ongoing group for those church parents to learn about apologetics?

And with that, the idea for Grassroots Apologetics for Parents was born.

 

Introducing Grassroots Apologetics for Parents (GAP)

Grassroots Apologetics for Parents conveniently forms the acronym GAP. I say “conveniently” because our mission is to help close the GAP that exists for parents between knowing the world will challenge their kids’ faith and knowing what to do about it.

To do this, we’ll work with local churches to launch and host GAP chapters that bring parents together for regular meetings where they’ll receive apologetics training and support. A local GAP chapter will ideally draw parents from the host church as well as other churches in the area (similar to a MOPS model, if you’re familiar with that). GAP chapters will be led by Parent Ambassadors (PAs) who will be given all the materials and direction needed to facilitate their local group.

PAs will:

 

  • Identify a desired local church to work with and secure a commitment to host a GAP chapter. A GAP introduction letter will be provided to help PAs explain our mission to church leaders.

 

  • Promote and coordinate a fall GAP kickoff event. This is a 45-minute presentation the PA will give that introduces parents to the need for apologetics and how GAP will help equip them with the knowledge they need. Both the presentation and the promotional material will be provided to PAs.

 

  • Facilitate a 12-week fall study of Keeping Your Kids on God’s Side with parents who join the GAP chapter after the kickoff event. A leader’s guide will be provided.

 

  • Facilitate a follow up study of Talking with Your Kids about God in the winter/spring.

 

  • Work with the GAP chapter to identify the next resources desired for study. A resource list will be provided to PAs.

 

In this way, GAP removes the local church barriers I mentioned earlier: apologetics training isn’t dependent on the pastor’s or members’ initiative, and the uncertainty of what to do and who will do it is eliminated (GAP provides a PA who has clear direction!).

 

An Invitation: PLEASE JOIN US!

We are now looking for 50 PAs who would like to launch a GAP chapter with a local church this fall! If you have a passion for apologetics and want to be part of this exciting new organization, we would LOVE for you to apply!

Here are the key things you need to know:

 

  • Expertise in apologetics is NOT a requirement. A PA is simply a person with a passion for sharing the importance of apologetics and who holds at least a basic grasp of the study materials so they can facilitate good discussion. PAs will be part of a private Facebook group managed by the GAP board (including myself) for ongoing support and direction. You are not on your own. The beauty of the GAP idea is that we are standardizing everything you need! You just deliver—roll it out to your church.

 

  • Because the first studies for a GAP chapter are Keeping Your Kids on God’s Side and Talking with Your Kids about God, PA candidates ideally will already have read these books. However, those who haven’t but would commit to reading them this summer will be considered.

 

  • We are looking for a one-year time commitment.

To apply to be a PA, please click here! It should only take you a few minutes.

 


Who is Leading GAP?

You may have noticed I’ve been using the word “we” throughout this announcement. That’s not a “royal we”—there’s a team behind GAP!

Given my current writing and speaking schedule, I knew I wasn’t in a position to give GAP the time it needed to be successful. But after sharing about the vision with a group on Facebook earlier this year, an amazing mom got in touch with me to let me know the GAP idea really resonated with her and that she was passionate about wanting to get involved. After we talked further, it was clear that God had brought Janel Greig and her wonderful talents to GAP at exactly the right time. Janel has such a heart for this ministry and is now serving as President.

Janel and I also wanted to put together a board to lead GAP. Once again, God brought exactly who we needed and at the right time. I’m so grateful for the leadership and passion of our board members: Julie Hebner, Erin McLaughlin, Elizabeth Thomas, and Sarah West. I will continue to be involved with GAP as a board member as well.

If anyone has questions, please comment below so we can answer them for others to see. And if you see the value in this ministry and would be willing to share this announcement with others who would be interested, please do.

Thank you so much for reading!

50 Comments

  1. Mathew Irwin on May 29, 2018 at 8:42 AM

    Add me, please. As the apologetics trainer/teacher in our church and one of many in the region, I would gladly take this on.



    • Natasha Crain on May 29, 2018 at 11:55 AM

      Thank you so much, Mathew! We are thrilled to hear of your interest!



  2. Lisa Quintana on May 29, 2018 at 9:27 AM

    Natasha! This is an answer to prayer, my friend. I was planning to teach the parents at my church in Madison anyway, and then I saw your blog on GAP and thought, “God’s timing!” This is a wonderful idea and I pray it is most successful. I hope I pass your “test.” 😉



    • Natasha Crain on May 29, 2018 at 11:32 AM

      That’s so amazing to hear, Lisa! I’m thrilled you want to be Parent Ambassador!



  3. Lea on May 29, 2018 at 11:25 AM

    I do not have any children – except 4-legged, furry ones. However, I AM PASSIONATE about Apologetics. I am way comfortable talking any point of Apologetics. Because if I don’t know the answer I know where to go. Do I need to clear anything with my pastor before I tell you I want to be a part of? If not I want to be a part of. Please include me.



    • Natasha Crain on May 29, 2018 at 12:09 PM

      Hi Lea, That’s wonderful! We would LOVE for you to be a Parent Ambassador–you certainly don’t need to have kids to do this important job of shepherding others in that position. No, you don’t need to clear it with your pastor first. Just fill out the interest form (linked above in the post) and then we’ll invite the interested PAs to a private Facebook group where we’ll give you a letter to give your pastor, etc. Thank you so much!



  4. JESSY THOMAS on May 29, 2018 at 11:26 AM

    Awesome opportunity. How much is the cost involved for the entire program



    • Natasha Crain on May 29, 2018 at 11:31 AM

      Thanks Jessy! There is no cost for parents to be part of a GAP chapter except the cost of the book that the group is studying (about $10). The cost to the church is only what would be involved in printing any promotional material or hosting the kickoff event (which doesn’t need to cost anything unless the church wants to provide beverages/cookies/etc.).



  5. Joleene Burts on May 29, 2018 at 1:35 PM

    This is so exciting! Since it’s for parents, I’m guessing both moms and dad’s would want to attend, so it would be helpful if childcare was provided at the chapters (also similar to MOPS). Would that be up to each chapter to handle separately or was that part of the overall vision (messaging to pastors, curriculum/activities for kids to go through while in childcare, etc.)?



    • Natasha Crain on May 30, 2018 at 5:48 AM

      At this time, we don’t have curriculum and activities for the kids. We are plugging straight into my resources for parents (first Keeping Your Kids on God’s Side, next Talking with Your Kids about God) since they are already available. In the future, it would be great to expand that. 🙂 That said, we are going to encourage PAs to arrange for childcare with their church so both parents can attend. We really want this to be something that both moms and dads come to so the whole family gets behind the need for this kind of discipleship!



  6. Tyson James on May 29, 2018 at 2:21 PM

    I would like to be a PA for GAP in the fall!



    • Natasha Crain on May 30, 2018 at 6:19 AM

      We’re so happy to hear that, Tyson! Thank you so much for your application!



  7. Robert Vroom on May 29, 2018 at 3:47 PM

    I would like to be a PA as well! This looks exciting.



    • Natasha Crain on May 30, 2018 at 6:18 AM

      That’s awesome, Robert! Thank you so much for your application!



  8. Christopher Kershaw on May 29, 2018 at 4:09 PM

    I am so sad right now. Caught this on J. Warner Wallace’ facebook page and I really wish my wife and I could know for sure if we were staying in Connecticut because THIS is my passion. I want to teach believers why they can be confident in the evidences that their faith hold to. My church needs this (In Southington, CT) because the believers here love Jesus Christ, but I asked a husband and wife there who were doing a small group in the church basement if they had an apologetics group at the church, and they looked at me like I had 5 heads. They had no idea what apologetics was at all. This needs to take precedence in our church because our culture is becoming more and more accepting of all sin and intolerant of absolute truths within the worldview of Christianity. I really wish I could commit to this…it’s eating at me. lol..



    • Natasha Crain on May 30, 2018 at 6:17 AM

      Hi Christopher, If you’re not sure that you’re moving, why don’t you go ahead and fill out the form toward the end of the post to sign up and just note that. If you don’t end up moving, you’ll be all ready to launch in the fall. If you do end up moving, you’ll have seen the process already and will be able to set up a GAP chapter at your new church in coming months. We’d love to have you involved given your passion!



  9. John White on May 29, 2018 at 5:08 PM

    I am interested in getting a GAP group at my church. Kids need to be inoculated with the truth before they are persuaded otherwise.
    John White



    • Natasha Crain on May 30, 2018 at 6:11 AM

      Hi John, We’d love to have you on board! To sign up, just click on the link toward the bottom of the GAP form to apply. I hope to see you on there!



  10. Beverly on May 29, 2018 at 5:28 PM

    Would love to be given this opportunity, Natasha!



    • Natasha Crain on May 30, 2018 at 6:10 AM

      I’m so happy you applied, Beverly! Thank you so much!



  11. Barbara Wells on May 29, 2018 at 6:12 PM

    Would you consider supporting a GAP group in a Christian school or do you prefer it to be sponsored by a church?



    • Natasha Crain on May 30, 2018 at 6:06 AM

      Hi Barbara! Yes, we would definitely consider that! The school would just need to be willing to offer a place for meetings and any promotional support to get the word out for you. We would love to see you apply! If you’d like to sign up, please fill out the sign up form toward the end of the blog post above (where it says “To apply to be a PA, please click here”). Thanks so much!



      • Barbara Wells on May 31, 2018 at 7:29 AM

        Great! Thank you so much!



  12. Enrique on May 29, 2018 at 7:35 PM

    I am interested, but what do you think the time commitment is going to be like?



    • Natasha Crain on May 30, 2018 at 6:03 AM

      Hi Enrique! As for time commitment, the responsibilities are outlined in the post. Basically, we’ll have a webinar this summer to make sure everyone knows how to do the kickoff presentation (that will be less than an hour). Then you’ll promote the kickoff presentation with your host church and conduct it (an hour). Then you’ll lead a fall study (12 weeks of meetings–I’m guessing 1-1.5 hours each week, plus any prep you feel you need to do) and a winter/spring study (same thing).

      We’d love to have you on board! To sign up, just click on the link toward the bottom of the GAP form to apply. I hope to see you on there!



  13. Kathy Hoopmann on May 29, 2018 at 9:36 PM

    I live in Australia. Can I still be part of this?
    I was one of the initial Facebook groups when you were going through ‘Keeping Your Kids on God’s side’ for the first time. I tell everyone I can about your books and blogs. However I have always felt ill equipped to lead an apologetics group. I would love to have the training you suggest, even if I can’t be officially part of the GAP program,

    Kathy



    • Natasha Crain on May 30, 2018 at 6:00 AM

      Hi Kathy! Yes, we would love to have chapters in Australia! You do NOT need to be super equipped to lead a group. You need a passion for apologetics (which it sounds like you have) and a willingness to do a kickoff presentation for interested parents, followed by facilitating the weekly study group (see details above). You’ll have a leader’s guide with questions to use. You can absolutely do this! I really encourage you to consider it, and if you decide to, please fill out the sign up form toward the end of the blog post above (where it says “To apply to be a PA, please click here”). Thanks so much!



  14. Sandy on May 29, 2018 at 11:50 PM

    This is awesome, Natasha! I’ve followed your blog for years and have found it, and your books such incredible resources. I live in South Africa and have been very involved in Sunday School for years. I would love to get a GAP program started at my local church…if this is possible?



    • Natasha Crain on May 30, 2018 at 5:57 AM

      Thanks, Sandy! We would be thrilled to have a chapter in South Africa! As long as you have the ability for participants to get the books there, you are good to go. Everything else will be electronic (leader’s guide, promotional materials, etc.). Please fill out the sign up form toward the end of the blog post above (where it says “To apply to be a PA, please click here”). Thanks so much!



  15. Daren McClellan on May 30, 2018 at 7:11 AM

    This would be great to add to our church. I have been teaching apologetics to the men’s group for them to take to their homes. This could be the next step.



    • Natasha Crain on May 30, 2018 at 9:22 AM

      Hi Daren, That sounds great! We would love to see you start a GAP chapter! If you’re interested, please fill out the sign up form in the blog post (link toward the end). Thanks so much for the interest!



  16. Travis Pelletier on May 30, 2018 at 12:11 PM

    Ratio Christi Chapter Director here; I’d be very excited to take part in this!



  17. Kristi on May 31, 2018 at 8:17 AM

    Hi Natasha,

    What a great idea! I forwarded this on to one of our pastors and he asked if there is a doctrinal statement for the organization, so he knows the background. Do you have one?

    Thank you!



  18. Bob Hazen on May 31, 2018 at 9:43 AM

    I’m passionate about apologetics, but the staff at the Bible-believing church we attend just don’t see apologetics as a priority. I’d love to be a PA but I’m hesitating until I find out for sure whether our church would back this or not.



  19. Frank Codispoti on May 31, 2018 at 10:19 AM

    I would like to bring this to my church. I forwarded your blog post about GAP to my senior pastors. We’ve been struggling to bring together a comprehensive Apologetics training system to our church. We wanted to target parents and our youth through young adult groups with a training system, but were reticent to develop our own. This may be a perfect fit for us.



  20. David on June 1, 2018 at 3:56 AM

    This is such a great idea. The only problem I have is the private Facebook group. I do not use Facebook, and have no plans to do so. Have you considered other options? Anyhow, I may still pitch this idea at our church as I am comfortable with talking about Apologetics and your books (and J. Warner Wallace’s books) are easy to understand and process. Have you considered with with JWW for the kids books as his are great.



  21. […] Want to See More Christian Parents Learn Apologetics at Church? Introducing Grassroots Apologetics f… […]



  22. Sara on June 1, 2018 at 10:54 AM

    I live in HI and would LOVE information on hosting a chapter here at our church.



  23. Angela on June 2, 2018 at 8:40 PM

    I would love more information on this to do this possibly at our church. Thank you so much!!



  24. Beth Geffers on June 3, 2018 at 7:36 AM

    Hello, Natasha,

    I would love to be a part of this program. I don’t know, however, if my church would be willing to ‘sponsor’ a group like this. Would it be possible to run a group independent of any church or school sponsorship? I do know a number of parents who would be interested in this program from various churches in my community.



  25. Neal Perkins on June 4, 2018 at 7:04 AM

    I registered at the first email sent. I just want to confirm that my name was recorded there… Neal Perkins

    For the benefit of others reading this, let me observe this. We have a college ministry attempting to save some of those youth leaving the faith (for really bad reasons). That number is reported to be about 75%, which is a debatable number. However, if our youth were prepared properly, Biblically, they would not be victims, they would be young missionaries helping to save the lost. This effort is HUGELY IMPORTANT!!!
    Thanks so much.



  26. Jennifer Wrightington on June 4, 2018 at 6:22 PM

    Hi Natasha, is the GAPS program suitable for and with Catholic teachings? I am so interested!
    Jennifer Wrightington



  27. Kristen Havera on June 6, 2018 at 5:51 PM

    I love this idea! I was backlogging my emails and somehow this one got lost in the shuffle… I can not commit to being a PA this fall because our church is literally kicking off this fall.. so excited for our church plant, but this is definitely something that I am passionate about and want to see happen in our church. The community we have been called to is cradled between two large secular universities who pride themselves on intellectualism. As my husband and I personally look how we will help our church and impact the new community (for us) I know we will be deeply involved in the home education network and I believe apologetics HAS to be a part of it… so excited!!



  28. Shelley @ AFamilyMeeting.com on June 13, 2018 at 11:46 AM

    Oh Apologetics! I don’t think it would be possible to say enough about the importance and necessity of apologetics, for the sake of unshakeable faith, both within ourselves and our children! As well as their part in destroying lies that cause so much fear among our children. This is so valuable and exciting!



  29. Brittany Ann on June 18, 2018 at 6:14 AM

    What a great project — and so needed. I am so excited for you!



  30. James Shiers on June 18, 2018 at 1:07 PM

    Natasha!
    I hope you remember me from CIA a few years back. What a grand plan – I’d love to be a part of this. I have been working with our small youth group for the last 2.5 years, inserting apologetics whenever possible. It is time to engage parents. I have forwarded this to the Senior Pastor of our small church, however, I plan to take this into a larger church down the street from where I live (Christ Church of the Valley http://www.ccv.church) where a greater number of young families attend, to see what they think.

    Please add me to your list.

    – Jim Shiers, (CIA, IDHEFTBA, SFG course certificates)



  31. Mike Shannon on July 24, 2018 at 6:57 PM

    I applied earlier today, but left a couple things out. I have been a member of Ooltewah Baptist Church for almost 36 years, and served on several committees. I’m currently a member of the worship band, and I’m serving on the Worship Leader Search Committee.
    I’m an ordained deacon, but currently inactive in that capacity.



  32. Angie on July 28, 2018 at 2:13 AM

    Natasha, Would this opportunity be extended internationally? Cape Town, South Africa to be precise? 🙂 I have had it on my heart for some time to start a morning ‘book study’ group with some fellow moms from church – just to work through both Keeping Your Kids on God’s Side and Talking with Your Kids about God, together. I don’t have a set out plan yet but then I saw your GAP programme and wondered if I shouldn’t be aiming there instead? I am a part of a solid church with strong and sound apologetic teaching… but I must say, there is definitely still space for focussed teaching aimed solely at parents. Let me know your thoughts. Thanks!
    Angie



  33. Jodi on September 27, 2018 at 12:11 PM

    I love this idea! Thankfully, we have an amazing apologetics ministry at our church, including some great parent studies…one of them being your book, Keeping Your Kids on God’s Side! But I’d love to know more about GAP and get the word out as well!

    I may have overlooked something in this post, but I’m not finding a website for Grassroots Apologetics for Parents. Do they have a website or Facebook page, Twitter account, etc? Thanks!



  34. Lorinda Newton on May 14, 2019 at 1:52 PM

    I just found your website as I was researching for my own blog about apologetics and culture. I’ve been needing to narrow my niche and have decided to focus on parents. I’ve homeschooled since 2004 and have seen the need for even homeschoolers to teach apologetics even if they use Christian curriculum.

    I haven’t read your books yet, but I definitely would be interested in GAP. My husband and I taught Focus on the Family’s The Truth Project when it was new in the aughts. We’d love to get back into teaching now that our kids are older.