I recently learned that some college students who had been active in our church were not following Christ. I was saddened to hear that one now describes himself as an atheist, another as an agnostic and a third came to believe that “The God of the Bible was immoral.” Evidently these students had been influenced by the “New Atheists” and a general climate that was hostile to a biblical worldview.

As a result, I begin to think through how we could better prepare these students and the church to give a defense for their faith, about how I, as a pastor, could help people be better prepared to live out I Peter 3:15 through the local church? Here are some ideas.

1. Environment. As the pastor, I wanted to state clearly that the biblical worldview has the best answer to all the questions of life. That means there is no question that is off limits. I communicated clearly that our church would be a safe place to ask questions, and together we will explore the biblical answers. I am convinced that skeptics or those antagonistic to the Gospel get heard by many of our students when we don’t deal with the hard questions.

2. Preach/teach on apologetic issues. Once a year, I do a short series on an apologetic issue. I began with a series on why it is reasonable to believe in the inerrancy and authority of God’s Word. Looking biblically at the existence of God, the Resurrection, science/evolution is helpful. In our current cultural context, the questions are a little different. The question is not, “Is the Bible true? But if it is, I am not sure I like the God of the Bible. Or is God really good?” Pastors must be willing to address biblical morality in terms of truth and God’s design for human flourishing.

3. Special classes. We have taught a few different classes on Wednesdays and Sundays. Walking through some general apologetic texts such as “I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist” by Frank Turek and Norman Geisler; or “On Guard” by William Lane Craig can lay a foundation for any Christian. Another good apologetics study is “Tactics” by Greg Koukl.

4. Educate yourself. Work on staying well informed on current apologetic questions. There are many good resources. Apologists like Turek, Craig, Kokul, Alisa Childers and Sean McDowell not only have books but regular podcasts.

A couple of good books to get started with are “Christianity for People Who Aren’t Christians: Uncommon Answers to Common Questions” by James Emery White and “Why Believe?: A Reasoned Approach to Christianity” by Neil Shenvi

5. Share the journey with your people. Some believers wait to hear God’s answer to their BIG questions, and when they find them, it will ignite their faith.

May these suggestions help you better equip your people to be disciples who make disciples.