Looking Back on reTHINK 2019

Last month, Drew and I attended the reThink student apologetics conference in Costa Mesa, California. Although we’ve been to the conference several times before, this year was our first time going since Tent Making Christianity began. We’ve plugged the conference before on the podcast, but I thought it might be worth reflecting on the conference’s history and some of my own experiences with it. It’s an amazing conference, year after year, so please join me in looking back on reTHINK 2019.

What is reTHINK ?

The very first reTHINK happened back in 2012. The great minds at Stand to Reason had a vision to fill a void in the church. There were plenty of fun events for students to be entertained, maybe even to do community outreach and mission-work. But there were very few conferences or events to equip students to understand and defend their Christian convictions. The material has been out there for a long time, but the goal here was to make it accessible to kids without dumbing anything down. Year after year, amazing speakers like Sean McDowell, J. Warner Wallace, John Stonestreet, and many more provide some of the best teaching to equip students to defend their faith.

The First reTHINK for Tent Making Christianity

Drew and I have been doing this for a while. This was our 6th annual reTHINK , having gone every year save for the very first. We’ve come a long way in that time. Back in 2013, I was still in high school and Drew was the selfless youth leader taking all of us wide-eyed little punks to a new conference. That first year is still a favorite memory of mine. I look back on how excited I was to meet and get books signed by some of my heroes like Greg Koukl and Scott Klusendorf. That year was the last time they ended the conference by doing an atheist roleplay. The idea was to test us and see just how much we still needed to learn. I get why they stopped, but I do still like the idea of ending with that note.

Now in my early 20s, I find there’s nothing that makes me feel old quite like going to a student conference where they try to appeal to middle and high school students with references to Fortnite dancing and loud hip-hop and EDM intros to respected speakers. To be fair though, I wasn’t really the typical demographic even when I was a teenager, since I was already in it for the apologetics. I’m probably the wrong person to ask about any of that.  This year was our first ReThink since the beginning of Tent Making Christianity. It took both of us in with a slightly different perspective. Now we came to not only learn about apologetics ourselves, but also about how to present it. How can we better share and defend Christ in our culture and to the next generation?

reTHINK in 2019

Looking back on reTHINK 2019 specifically, this was a good year. The conference has grown massively since 2012. Back then there were around 400 attendees, and it has now grown to over 2,500. Bear in mind that they have been selling out for several years in a row now, squeezing people into overflow. The numbers don’t necessarily reflect the amount of interest anymore. But this is only the California conference. In those 7 years, they’ve also begun doing successful conferences in Birmingham Alabama, Dallas Texas, and coming very soon for the first time, Minneapolis Minnesota. Our culture is hungry for apologetics. We tend to underestimate what Christian teens can handle theologically. If you give them something substantial, they will listen. When you give them something substantial and presented in a fun way, they come out by the thousands.

The Theme: Rethinking False Ideas About God

They have recently been giving the conference an overarching theme. They then construct the conference with its keynote speakers and breakout sessions around that theme. It took some time iron out the kinks, making the themes feel natural, but this year worked exceptionally well. The theme was about rethinking your false ideas about God, with every session addressing a different myth or false idea about God. After introducing the theme and how to see and guard against false ideas, they tackled perhaps the two most critical issues. There is no God, and God is not good. After breaking down those two, topics could fan out a little more into the breakout sessions with more specific topics like, “God is Anti-Gay,” “Christians and Muslims worship the same God,” or “God is Pro-Choice.” Difficult issues that we see regularly in our day to day lives.

Are you ready to give a good defense and clear up these issues? Do you think many teenagers in the church are? They are walking into a battlefield where these kinds of false ideas are the bombs being thrown at them. If you have a child, or know a Christian teenager who is not prepared, consider getting them to your nearest reTHINK apologetics student conference.

Discuss your thoughts for this post on our Facebook Group here.  

2 thoughts on “Looking Back on reTHINK 2019”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Catagories
Archives
Calendar
October 2021
S M T W T F S
 12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
31  
RSS Listen to Our Latest Podcast Here
  • Can Christians Be Demon Possessed? October 14, 2021
    In this episode of The Tent Making Christianity QCQ Podcast, the team answers the question "Can Christians Be Demon-Possessed?". 
    Drew Covert, David Johansen, Paul Yearyean
  • The 300th Show October 12, 2021
    In this episode of The Tent Making Christianity Podcast, the team reflects on reaching 300 podcasts. 
    Drew Covert, David Johansen, Paul Yearyean
  • Can Christians Receive The Mark Of The Beast? October 7, 2021
    In this episode of The Tent Making Christianity QCQ Podcast, the team answers the question " Can Christians Recieve The Mark Of The Beast?". 
    Drew Covert, David Johansen, Paul Yearyean
  • Person Of Interest: The Fallout October 5, 2021
    In this episode of The Tent Making Christianity Podcast, the team discusses J. Warner Wallace's new book "Person of Interest: Why Jesus Still Matters In A World That Rejects The Bible". Part 2; The Fallout. 
    Drew Covert, David Johansen, Paul Yearyean
  • Can Christians Lose Their Salvation? September 30, 2021
    In this episode of The Tent Making Christianity QCQ Podcast, the team answers the question "Can Christians lose their salvation?". 
    Drew Covert, David Johansen, Paul Yearyean
  • Person Of Interest; The Fuse September 28, 2021
    In this episode of The Tent Making Christianity Podcast, the team discusses J. Warner Wallace's new book "Person of Interest; Why Jesus Still Matters In A World That Rejects The Bible".  Part 1, The Fuse. 
    Drew Covert, David Johansen, Paul Yearyean
  • Do I Have To Go To Church September 23, 2021
    In this episode of The Tent Making Christianity QCQ Podcast, the team answers the question "Do I have to go to Church?". 
    Drew Covert, David Johansen, Paul Yearyean
  • A Discussion On Policing And Race With J. Warner Wallace September 21, 2021
    In this episode of The Tent Making Christianity Podcast, J. Warner Wallace joins the team to discuss the subject of policing and race. 
    Drew Covert, David Johansen, Paul Yearyean
  • Was Jesus Wrong In Matthew 24:34? September 16, 2021
    In this episode of The Tent Making Christianity QCQ Podcast, the team answers the challenge that Jesus was wrong in Matthew 24:34. 
    Drew Covert, David Johansen, Paul Yearyean
  • Person Of Interest With J. Warner Wallace September 14, 2021
    In this episode of The Tent Making Christianity Podcast, the team is joined by J. Warner Wallace to discuss his new book "Person Of Interest: Why Jesus Still Matters To A World That Rejects The Bible". 
    Drew Covert, David Johansen, Paul Yearyean