Tom Gilson

New Small Group-Friendly Apologetics Course Coming!

I’ve just finished the second of eleven sessions in my new online apologetics course at the Spiritual Readiness project. Called (for now at least) the Stand Strong Apologetics Course, it’s completely self-contained and fully available online, and designed for easy use in any small group environment. You can go through it individually, too, if you like.

Need a speaker for your distance-learning or distance-fellowship event? Check out my topics list here!

What sets this course apart? Five things.

  1. The design puts small groups first. It’s not the only curriculum that does that, in fact I’ve very gratefully used this one from Lee Strobel and Mark Mittelberg. But it’s one of a relative few to center on small groups as its primary purpose.
  2. It puts the most current challenges first. I’m convinced that fewer skeptics (including churched teenagers) are worried about whether Christianity is true, and more of them are convinced Christianity is bad. They see the faith as intolerant, homophobic, and arrogantly exclusivist, and then there’s also the problem of believing in God in the new era of the coronavirus.
  3. Speaking of which, it’s very up to date, and being online it can remain so. The second session is “God, the Coronavirus, and the Problem of Evil.”
  4. It’s immediately accessible online.
  5. It’s accessible in another important way as well: Just about anyone should be able to go through it and learn. That includes people who don’t think they’d like apologetics. Teens, too!

Of course this is a preliminary announcement. Only two of the planned eleven sessions are immediately accessible today, but the plan is to make them all that way as quickly as possible. I’ve already taught a small group through eight of the remaining nine sessions, but it’s going to take another two to three months to package that teaching properly for use here.

Want To Begin?

If you want to use this in your small group, it should be ready for you to begin weekly use by mid to late May. I won’t have all sessions completed by then, but if you give me that much head start I’ll stay ahead of you to the end.

I could use your feedback before then, if you’d look through it and give me that. When you begin, I’d like to be in the loop with you for even more feedback, as this is still in final beta. And if I can schedule it, I’ll be glad to join in with your group as a live resource to you as you lead it.

There’s room to grow with this — more sessions and potentially a more graphically-rich platform. I won’t be doing multi-camera studio-based video shoots until the coronavirus lockdown is released, but that could come. The content is there, at any rate. I also have plans to migrate this to a more full-strength learning management system, but that depends on a certain software product whose expected release date is early in June.

There’s room for comment. I warmly invite you to go through the two sessions already posted, then come back to this page and offer me your constructive feedback.

2 thoughts on “New Small Group-Friendly Apologetics Course Coming!

  1. Me: 60 year old white Canadian, BA, Lutheran and Anglican church background, supplemented by lots of Piper, Lawson, Comfort etc. Solidly evangelical. Intellectually lazy; If I watch enough videos, the content will seep in.
    • SO: discussion questions. Can you offer one or more that are easy please, for the nominal or untrained or newish, or mainline Christian who happens to end up in the class? Perhaps icebreakerish (personal experience- biblical content not required): “Can you remember a time when you were having a discussion about the faith and you didn’t know what to say?”
    • Navigation. If an arrow > faces right, I expect to click on it, and let it reveal contents in a further indent, NOT to jump somewhere away from the page. If you want to jump to a page give me a hyphen or a square or something. (Like in a mac folder navigation…)
    • When you throw in the Stand to Reason video, I’m confused a bit cause they want to have you visit THEIR site for more (at the end of the solidly good content/presentation.) Maybe add a bit more text/blurb for “Stay with us. or clip out the last 10 seconds.”
    • Did I miss the bit contrasting apologetics with evangelism?
    • One of the aspects of life for someone my age (and church background) is that I have sorta settled into the relationships I have, and pressing to have a conversation about faith that runs beyond a few sentences is difficult. SO, maybe offer some content about “How to get into a conversation with your neighbour about the faith.” Seriously, school life is full of discovery, and it’s very hard to sustain a learning attitude once / life / work/ family begins. Witness the binge watching going on with stay at home in the coronavirus lcokdowns. Mind you the nature of apologetics may mean it’s limited to those who can enter ‘learning mode.’
    Peace. Brian. Toronto.

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