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.
- 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.
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!