I am honored to lead the Resources Division at LifeWay and serve with a team of leaders who are passionate to serve the Church in her mission of making disciples. Each Wednesday, I share the heart behind one of the resources our team has developed and give an opportunity for you to register to win a free copy of the resource. This week’s resource is Big Questions: Developing a Christ-Centered Apologetic, a new resource for students from our student ministry team, who worked with me on this post.
Perhaps you have heard the phrase “pastor as theologian” sometime in recent years. The phrase comes from an emphasis for pastors not only to be equipped theologically but to lead and shepherd their people from a deeply held biblical and theological view of ministry. It has been a much-needed emphasis, benefiting both church leaders and the people they lead.
Because theology means “thinking about God,” every single person is, in some ways, a theologian. Wise pastors want their people to think rightly and reverently about God. A.W. Tozer wrote, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.”
The climate we find ourselves in will also nudge us to another emphasis: pastor as apologist. Much like the need to emphasize the importance of pastors being equipped theologically and leading their people from the Word, pastors also need to be equipped apologetically with the understanding that apologetics, done in the right way, can be a valuable tool at their disposal when it comes to leading their people. Here are three ways apologetics can serve church leaders:
1. The pastor as apologist can shepherd his people through seasons of doubt.
Sadly because personal shame is often associated with people dealing with doubt, important questions can go unasked. Churches should create an atmosphere where those struggling with doubts can ask the difficult questions. When we acknowledge that there are difficult and challenging questions in the midst of a fallen and broken world, we show our reliance on Truth in the midst of pain and struggles.
2. The pastor as apologist can help equip his people to defend their faith.
According to the apostle Peter in 1 Peter 3:15, believers must be able to graciously respond about belief in the gospel to those who ask. This point becomes all the more relevant in light of the rapid social changes taking place in our society today. Church members not only need to be able to think through these important issues from a theological standpoint, but they also need to be able to lovingly articulate how the Christian worldview addresses these issues.
3. The pastor as apologist can help provide support to the faith of his people.
More than just trying to alleviate doubts and answer questions, the pastor as apologist wants to go further by providing intellectual support to the faith of his people. By helping church members understand the historical reasons and evidences that support their belief, encouragement and strength are offered.
Big Questions: Developing a Christ-Centered Apologetic is designed to help student pastors and leaders use the tools of apologetics in the discipleship process of their students. One winner will receive a leader kit and 15 student/leader guides. Register here or in the form below by the end of the day today, June 29, 2016, for your opportunity to win.