I have been carefully considering all that has been said. I really appreciate the input, however I wish there would have been more. Those of you that took the time to think and write are awesome and I take every word you said seriously.
There are several subjects that your input has brought my attention to and that I believe need to be addressed in a legitimate, realistic and constructive manner. I have been thinking long and hard about how to go about doing what I can, in MY abilities and reach, to effectively confront the issues brought up and meet the need head on. Certainly a book would be helpful and may even reach some people who have the need for help in these areas. However, my immediate concern is for the outreach of my own ministry in my own area . . . and to work outward from there.
So, here is what I am thinking. (and what I’m no looking for your input on)
Once to twice a month, maybe on Sunday evenings, I am planning on conducting public “Open Forum Meetings,” which would include a lecture on each given subject with a Q&A time to follow. Not a time for debates or contention, but of honest, relevant, intelligent and meaningful explanations on real, pressing and generally misunderstood subjects.
• Need God? What if I don’t? What if I just don’t care?
• Is it the end of the word as we know it?
• Where is God?
• Has Christianity Failed?
• If God loves me, why did He let this happen?
• The truth will set you free. From what?
• Resurrection? Prove it!
• Faith ? A blind leap in the dark?
• How do you know you’re right about your religion?
• Is science the enemy of belief in God?
• Why Jesus?
• Who are we?
• What does it mean to be human?
• I don’t like “organized religion.”
These are subjects that I have drawn out of the input from my past questions to you all, and also from personal conversations with many others over the course of more than 30 years of my Christian experience.
I think that coffee and refreshments could be part of the mix. At first it will have to be at my church because of financial constraints, but the ultimate goal would be to have these public forums in a neutral setting, like a VFW Post or even a school auditorium if we could swing it, so non-Christians or those who may hold to differing world views would not feel intimidated or alienated. I believe these are important questions that need to be addressed and that there is a hunger by many to ask the questions. I also believe it is the responsibility of the local Bible believing churches to carefully examine WHY these questions are going unanswered and are allowed to grow in the minds of our own communities.
A format must be planned and made crystal clear, not only in the minds of those of us who are hosting and moderating the events, but also awareness of the constraints/agenda and attitude of each event MUST be made clear to all those who attend and/or participate.
A non-aggressive, non-adversarial and respectful atmosphere must be engendered and maintained at all times. Human dignity is certainly something we can all agree upon. This is not the setting for a debate! The point will be the presentation of the subject to consider the rationality of the Christian perspective with an open floor to questions and answers following the lecture. Not preaching!! (I’m sure there will be some brethren that will take exception to the terminology here)
The speaker/lecturer is to make an apologetic appeal to the rationality of the Christian world view in regards to the subject under consideration. An evangelical invitation to come to Christ will always be included (However, it will not be a compulsory traditional “Church” invitation). . . which is the objective of apologetics in removing objections to Christianity in the minds and hearts of the hearer.
By advertising and addressing questions that are edgy and relevant we hope to gain the attention of the lost who are thinking! We want to make thinkers believers, and believers thinkers.
So, I’m asking for input once again. Questions, suggestions, comments . . . let’er rip!