The battle is intensifying — a pitched fight for the very soul of the nations. Christians in the Western world are facing more hostility than ever before. It’s not new to Christianity, but it’s new to us, and we’re not ready for it.
For months now, a team of experts has been building toward the launch of an important new initiative to build spiritual readiness among Western Christians. Today the Spiritual Readiness Project is ready to announce its official public launch.
Christian leaders in many places are working on the same readiness issues, but our approach is unique.
First, we know that readiness happens through prayer, developing strong community, and practicing self-sacrificial outreach. These get a lot of attention in the church, and have for a long time. (Whether our practice matches our preaching is another question, but at least we preach on these things.) Two crucial factors are missing, however, from both our practice and our preaching: Knowing what we believe and why.
Think about it: When hostility comes, who will stand? Those who know what they believe about the Lord Jesus Christ and his teachings, and why they believe. Others may remain faithful, too, but they’re at much higher risk.
A recent Ligonier/Lifeway Research study shows once again how little basic theology Evangelicals know. As one who’s long been involved in studying, writing, and teaching Christian apologetics, I can attest that we know even less about reasons for Christian confidence.
Understanding the Issues
We’ve seen hand-wringing among preachers wondering why Christians’ doctrinal education is so weak — and we certainly sympathize! We’ve seen more of the same among apologists wondering why churches aren’t more welcoming toward apologetics. We also know of shining exceptions, churches doing really well in all aspects of spiritual readiness.
What we haven’t seen — until now — is anyone digging deep into these “why” questions: Why don’t churches teach these things more effectively? What’s slowing or stopping them? What would help? With lots of research experience on our team, we intend to fill that void with a strong research-based approach to understanding what helps and what hinders churches from growing in these crucial areas.
The first full-scale research study is now underway. It’s a survey especially for lay persons and leaders who care about apologetics. This is phase one of learning what works and what doesn’t work in apologetics ministry in churches. If you’ve got any interest at all in Christian apologetics, we urge you to take this survey now.
We’re convinced teachers, apologists, seminary professors, denominational leaders and others will be very interested to find out what motivates pastors and lay persons to teach and learn these topics. So we’re planning, over the course of two to five years, to release our findings as widely as possible through the Spiritual Readiness website, books, conferences, and more. We want to serve you with this information.
We view the coming years with sober eyes, knowing that anti-Christian hostility is likely to grow, and that the Church is at risk of being caught sleeping. Yet we also see great hope for God to shine his light through his people. They’ll need to know how to shine it in truth. We’re committed to helping make that happen.
A Project 360 initiative.
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