The Spiritual Readiness Project is asking apologetics-interested lay people, students, professors, writers and speakers to join in our Apologetics Interest survey. If you haven’t filled it out already, please do so as soon as possible.
But you might wonder why, and where this is heading. It’s a good question; thanks for asking!
Our main purpose is to discover what has sparked people’s interest in apologetics, so we can help create or collate ways to spread that around, and see more apologetics in the local church.
Apologetics in the Church: Understanding the Problem So We Can Solve It
Sometimes I fear we approach the question of apologetics in the church like other apologetics questions: How can we build a case for it? That’s valid, except the very people we’re trying to reach are the ones who aren’t into case-making the way we are! For them it’s not an apologetics problem. It’s a motivation issue.
We’ve gathered a working list of potential motivational hindrances to research, things that may keep churches from investing time and resources in apologetics. Yet it makes sense to start with what’s worked for those of us who really do care about apologetics. We expect that will help us develop better ways to overcome those motivational barriers.
The Loneliness of the Lay Apologist
In this research we’re also exploring the apologist’s loneliness. Informally I’ve seen evidence of its being a widespread concern: thinking Christians feel isolated in their churches. We want to understand this better, so we can explain it to church leaders more compellingly.
We know it’s a real issue that’s causing real harm in the body of Christ, but we won’t get far with just telling church leaders, “Your thinking people feel isolated here.” They’ll file that low on their list of priorities. We’ve got to explain it more compellingly.
That leads to another layer of information we’re gathering along with the survey, by the way: Would you share your story? What’s it like for you?
Long-Term Qualified Research Project
You’ve done lots of surveys and polls on the web. Usually there’s a quick, “Hey, what do you all think about this?” feel to them. This one is different. Our team members all have formal training and experience in survey research. One member of our team, Allen Shoemaker, has both taught research methods at the college level and practiced it around the world. The rest of us have formal training and experience as well.
And this research is part of a focused, long-term, ongoing effort to understand the question of apologetics in the Church. Like you, we believe Christians have always needed reasons for confidence, but like you we also see its importance rising quickly. I for one am making it high priority, and I intend to lead this project through to real answers that we’ll make freely available to you and to the Church — starting with this research, which we’ll report on to you early in 2019.
Please contact us if you’re interested in being involved in the project.