#1 – Cultivate a life of the mind.
The “Think & Live” conference is about becoming a fully engaged disciple of Jesus Christ, who loves God with heart, soul, and MIND. Jesus, in fact, calls this the greatest commandment in Matthew 22:37-38:
Jesus said to him, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.”
Yet, it is easy for us to think that we are in an overly-intellectual culture these days, and that what we really need is to focus more on the heart and soul (and less on the mind). This may be true in some spheres of our daily lives, but it typically is not true in our churches. Study after study has shown that many are unable to explain their beliefs, let alone give the supporting reasons behind them.
Loving God with our mind is a part of giving God honor and worship! Imagine not wanting to learn more about your spouse or best friend. It is simply unimaginable. We wouldn’t call that a proper relationship. Neither, is it the case, that we can neglect this aspect of our relationship with God and call it a healthy one.
#2 – Meet leading thinkers and find good resources.
Take advantage of the opportunity to learn from some of the best in the field of Christian apologetics. Better yet, get to meet them personally and ask questions. Also, don’t forget all the other apologists and Christian thinkers who will be present and likely eager for such discussion.
Find excellent resources. Aside from learning about additional resources from the speakers and others at the conference, there will be ministry tables where you can purchase materials and learn about other related ministries and educational opportunities (including local ones).
#3 – Understand culture better.
Understanding the culture is a key component to reaching them with the Gospel message and in doing good apologetics. To properly communicate, you need to know the ‘language’ and their worldview. By language, we mean the terms and words that are in play in culture, along with their typical meanings (which might not be the same meaning you think!). Without such a common language, we tend to talk past one-another. This not only breaks down communication, but often adds unnecessary anger and frustration.
Understanding the worldview of those you speak with is also important. Not everyone shares the same base assumptions, or even necessarily thinks about things in the same manner. This also leads to confusion and frustration in a conversation. Having a better understanding of some of the major worldviews you might encounter will save a lot of frustration and effort required to dig them out.
#4 – Become a fully engaged disciple of Christ.
Know what you believe and why. You may know what you believe but can you defend why you believe it? You can certainly believe in Christ without knowing all the details of why, but you can’t really become an engaged disciple (learner) without engaging the why. First, your own faith should be undergirded with a knowledge of the why. Once it is secure, you gain the confidence to share. People who lack this confidence often either hide, or lash out in angry emotion when they are pushed into a corner by a challenge to their beliefs. That doesn’t help anyone.
Second, it is hard to “make disciples” if you are not yet a properly equipped one yourself. We are no longer in a culture where a few stragglers simply need to be rounded up and invited to church (if we ever really were). Pastors can’t (nor should they be expected to) do all the heavy lifting! We are all called to be disciples and to take on the burden of sharing the hope that we have! (1 Peter 3:15)
#5 – A good conference to bring a friend.
This conference addresses the questions people are asking and does so in a way that both Christian and non-Christian can appreciate. It isn’t only the non-Christian that has many unanswered questions. Many Christians were raised being told WHAT to believe, but never really grasping why they should believe that and not something else. This conference is a great opportunity to learn some of the answers to those questions, and begin down the path to getting the rest answered.
It is also a good place to bring non-Christians so they can get some of their questions answered and be exposed to good answers that Christians give. This can lead toward a more respectful exchange in dialog and begin to clear away some of the misunderstanding that often exists. If they are going to reject Christianity, they should be rejecting what it actually teaches and how the best minds answer the questions, not caricatures of Christianity or poorly-thought-through responses they likely have been exposed to.
What more reason do you need? Come to the Apologetics Canada Conference 2012 and bring a friend, or several!