The following post is written by Dr. Shane Garrison. Dr. Garrison has served as assistant professor of Educational Ministries in the Campbellsville University School of Theology for the past five years. He additionally serves as president and lead consultant of Maple Trail Ministry Consultants.
I can’t wait for LifeWay’s VBS Agency D3 – Discover Decide Defend. This year is going to be unlike any previous year in that we encourage our kids to take a hard look at the truths of the Bible and then learn how to defend what they believe in an ever-changing world.
The pattern and sequence is intentional. We start by helping kids DISCOVER the truths of Scripture. Then we ask them to DECIDE if they really believe what the Bible says about God, Jesus, and the way to be saved. If so, then we help them DEFEND these truths in a world that is hostile, even angry, at such beliefs. Discover Decide Defend makes perfect sense to me.
I can assure you as a parent of two elementary-age kids, the Christian worldview is under intense attack in our schools, communities, and country as our culture becomes far more religiously pluralistic and secular. Anybody, including our kids, who takes a stand for biblical convictions and truth are seen as intolerant and out of line. Our culture has determined we Christians can hold to our faith privately, but should never proclaim that faith publicly.
This is the world our kids live in and will continue to live in as they grow older. So giving our children the tools to discover, decide, and defend their beliefs is vitally important.
It might be asked, however, “How is this VBS evangelistic? How does Agency D3 share the Gospel of Jesus with unbelieving children and students?”
The answer lies in the power of apologetics. Apologetics is simply defending the faith. It is being able to stand for what you believe in and clearly explain how your faith is not built upon shifting sand, but on the rock solid Word of God. We must be able to defend the reality of Jesus and his death on the cross as the only means of salvation. “Our hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.”
Apologetics is being able to say, “I believe this truth because…” It is simply always being “ready to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.” (1 Peter 3:15) And our kids desperately need this - both believing children and unbelieving children.
For believing children, being able to discover decide defend will help them shore up any questions or doubts they might be facing. It will provide for them a stronger foundation to stand upon.
For unbelieving children, we get the opportunity to teach them the essential truths of the Bible that will hopefully lead them to believe, not in some fairy tale, myth, or legend, but in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We are showing (and hopefully proving) to these children that Jesus is real and He really died for their sin and if they really trust in Him, He will really save them. Discover DECIDE Defend.
I believe apologetics is a powerful evangelistic tool. One that has been in use by Christian pastors, teachers and leaders for more than 1000 years.