Since I started the website, blog and podcast, several of you have asked me why I’m doing this. What is it that motivates me to put so much time and effort into creating this content? There are several reasons, but when I stop and think about it, they really fall into 5 categories. Listed below are the 5 reasons why you should be a Tent Making Christian.
1) This Will Help You Grow As A Christian
I didn’t convert until I was in my early 30’s. While this was an exciting time for me, it also created a sense of urgency. I realized I didn’t know much about what I had just put my trust in. I wasn’t prepared to communicate intelligently the message of Christianity. This caused me to immediately begin reading as much as I could from the Bible. I also read different teachers and commentaries on the Bible. I would listen to different radio programs. John MacArthur, R.C Sproul, Allister Begg and Hank Hanegraaff the Bible Answer Man were all favorites.
It was on this last show that I heard Greg Koukl from the ministry Stand to Reason. He was talking about his course on “Tactics in Defending the Faith”. I was hooked! I had never heard anyone make as compelling a case for Christianity as Greg. If I was going to continue to follow Jesus, I wanted to be able to speak to the issue in the same way that Greg could. I already had a career, but knew I had to make time to continue to develop myself spiritually.
2) You Can Help Other Christians
What I quickly came to realize was that I was not the only one that couldn’t articulate the message of Christianity well. Before I converted, I hadn’t run across any Christians that could offer a serious argument for why they believed their view was true. It always came back to an issue of faith. I am trusting by nature, but I have never found the “Just have faith” argument persuasive.
The more I learned, the more desire I had to share the knowledge I was receiving with other Christians. I knew that joining the ministry was not in my immediate future. At first, this was hard for me to deal with. But I soon realized that I didn’t have to be in full time ministry to pass on the knowledge I had. All you have to do to teach is know one thing more than the person you are talking to and be able to effectively communicate that knowledge. I could do that. So can you!
3) Our Young People Need Us
I was a youth leader for several years at our Church at the time. I did some research to see what style of ministry I wanted to model my group after the summer before I started. There were plenty to choose from. But what I quickly found was that most groups have a predictable formula. You bring the kids in, play a silly game, give them lots of pizza and candy, and try to get some sort of message about being a good person in there at some point. The other heart-breaking thing I discovered was that depending on which study you look at, 60%-80% of young people that attend a youth group will walk away from Christianity when they reach college. Those numbers should cause us to ask what we are doing wrong.
The Barna Study
A recent Barna study showed the number of Gen Zer’s that identify as atheist is at 13%, which is almost double that of previous generations. I found the following paragraph taken from the report enlightening:
“So what has led to this precipitous falling off? Barna asked non-Christians of all ages about their biggest barriers to faith. Gen Z nonbelievers have much in common with their older counterparts in this regard, but a few differences stand out. Teens, along with young adults, are more likely than older Americans to say the problem of evil and suffering is a deal breaker for them. It appears that today’s youth, like so many throughout history, struggle to find a compelling argument for the existence of both evil and a good and loving God.”
I knew I didn’t want this to happen to my group. If you have a young person in your life that you have influence over, the best thing you can do for them is to help them better understand and articulate what they believe. You don’t have to be an ordained youth pastor to do this. You just have to do some homework so you can pass this information on to someone that knows less than you.
4) Our Society Needs Us
It should come as no surprise to anyone reading this that we are now living in a post-Christian culture. While there is still a majority of Americans that say they are Christian, if you really look at he numbers and listen to what people are saying, we are no longer a nation that has a Christian identity. What we see now is a society in transition from a Christian morality to a secular one. The two views are colliding, and it is causing a deep division in our country.
I am part of several discussion groups that pit atheists against theists. I am often discouraged by how I see our Christian brothers and sisters behave on these sites. They will launch personal attacks and use bad and often abusive language in these engagements.
I’d like to tell you that I never have behaved this way. But if I’m honest, I have slipped a few times. I find usually when I do slip, it’s because I’m being challenged in an area I’m not quite sure how to answer. The more confident I am in my answer, the less likely I am to lash out. As ambassadors for Jesus in an increasingly secular world, we need to make sure we are communicating our message with grace and dignity. That comes from confidence in our answers to life’s biggest questions. If we have a large group of Tent Makers that are both gracious and persuasive, we can at least get our message out and heard by a culture that desperately needs it.
5) It’s Biblical
In my previous post, I told you what a tent making Christian is, and where the term comes from. We know from Acts 18:3 that the Apostle Paul was a tent maker by trade and didn’t earn his money from spreading the Gospel. 1 Peter 3:15 tells us that we all are to be Christian case makers, and no one gets off the hook because they aren’t ordained. While the original disciples did get 3 years of training following Jesus, none of them were trained theologians prior to meeting Jesus (Paul was a Pharisee prior to conversion but was not an original Disciple). They were all common people that had their lives radically altered by an encounter with Jesus. Don’t be deceived into thinking you can only be valuable to the Church if you have been to seminary. If I can do this, anyone can!
I hope this gives you some insight into why I am so passionate about what I do. Are you ready to make a difference too? I want to help you to better understand and defend your convictions, so you can thrive as a Tent Making Christian. Are you ready?
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