I’ve decided to get most of the bad news over with before I move on to the more positive updates. Sorry everyone, but you’ll have to put up with more negativity for another day. Before I begin, I’d like to preface this by stressing that I’m not writing because I’m angry. I’m writing in order to (1) help me organize my own thoughts about the manner and hopefully come up with some solutions to my problems, and (2) share my experiences so other people can hopefully learn from them and not repeat my mistakes.
So, as I’ve mentioned before, because of my love for apologetics I decided to start an apologetics club on campus. I was blessed with an advisor in my department (philosophy) who is a devout Christian, and he was more than willing to be my faculty liasson for starting a club of this nature. I had the series of videos produced by Ravi Zacharias International Ministries called “Foundations of Apologetics,” which seemed like a perfect curriculum for a group study. I was all set. I let my friends know about it, and they let some of their friends know about it. At the first meeting, we talked a bit about what apologetics is, why we should study it, and we also discussed our plan and vision for the group. Although it was a small crowd, people seemed eager, and I was very optimistic. However, interest quickly dwindled when I introduced the video material.
Although I love Ravi Zacharias, I hate to say that I wouldn’t recommend his “Foundations of Apologetics” series, at least not to neophytes. The videos are a series of lectures by various people in Ravi’s ministry on topics such as the existence of God and the trustworthiness of the Bible. However, they are long and extremely dry. People were falling asleep by the end of the videos, which isn’t conducive to a lively discussion. So, I experimented with different formats, such as only showing clips of the videos, but that wasn’t helpful. I’ve looked around for an inexpensive apologetics curriculum to use instead, but no luck. I’ve finally ended up making up my own curriculum as I go along, which is not easy for a busy college student. Besides that, I feel completely unqualified, which is the vibe I get from the other students as well.
There are a few other students who have at least a vague interest in the topic, and I’ve commissioned them to help me. It’s not easy for them either, because they are all busy and I’m not very good at delegating tasks. And like me, they’re not terribly qualified to speak on the topics, so I don’t get a lot of help in that regard.
And there’s the issue of time. There just doesn’t seem to be a good time to meet. No matter when we decide to meet, no more than a few people can fit it into their schedules. And of course nobody prioritizes it at this point.
I’ve tried all kinds of things to get people interested. Monthly movie nights in which we watch a debate or a film like “The Case for Christ.” Collecting surveys of students on campus regarding various topics of apologetical relevance, but no one wants to do it. And at this point, I’m running out of ideas. I try to get people involved, and their just not interested.
I realize that I sound like a complete whiner. There may be some truth to that. After all, I can’t expect people to be as interested in apologetics as I am. If they were, then they would have started the club.
Here’s a problem I’ve come across. Some people probably don’t come to the club because they sense that it’s somewhat unorganized and I’m somewhat scatterbrained. They probably think, “This girl doesn’t really care about this club.” And if I, the leader of the club, don’t care about it, why should they, the casual attender care about it? But on the other hand, if no one in the club cares about it, how can I?
It’s like this. Imagine you invite a bunch of your friends over for dinner. You want your friends to have a good meal and an enjoyable experience, so you put a lot of effort into finding recipes, gathering the best ingredients, and cooking the delicious food. Even though it’s hard work, you don’t mind because you know your friends will be pleased by the beautiful meal you’re making for them.
But what if the day of the dinner your friends start calling you to tell you they can’t come after all, or they may or may not show up? In that case, will you work so hard to prepare the meal? Of course not. You don’t want to waste the food or effort. You slap something together at the last minute for the people who decide to come after all. And then they don’t enjoy the food, and then they don’t come back when you invite them over again.
That’s how it’s been for me and this club. I hesitate to put a lot of effort into it, because I don’t want to waste my time and energy. But then people don’t come because they don’t want to waste any of their time on a club that no one, including the leader, puts much effort into.
So what do I do? One thought, and going back to the meal analogy, what if, instead of making my own slapdash meal at the last minute, I order a pizza or put a pre-made lasagna in the oven? In other words, I make use of someone else’s effort as opposed to my own. Someone else’s teaching, for example. That’s what I tried to do in the beginning with the RZIM DVDs. But, there are other resources, I just need to find them. We could possibly watch Youtube videos and discuss those. We could do a book study.
I’ve not lost hope yet. I’m convinced this is a good thing I’m trying to accomplish. Some sources say as many at 75% of Christian students lose their faith in college, and so I know the need is there. Am I the perfect one for this job? Absolutely not. There are a lot of people who are more popular, more charismatic, more gifted, more eloquent, and smarter than I am. But they’re not starting an apologetics club on my campus. So, until I can’t do it anymore, or someone else comes along to take over, I’ll try to keep plugging away. Hopefully, I’ll help to get a self-sustaining club going by the time I graduate.