Whenever I talk about becoming a “One Dollar Apologist,” I immediately think about the importance of being a lifelong learner. Christian Case Makers are leaders; we lead people to the truth and help guide them through the skeptical minefields of the culture. Leaders must, by definition, lead; we have to be a few steps ahead of the folks we hope to escort to the truth, and every leader must also be willing to be led. The best leaders are also conscientious followers (see Matthew 8:5-9 for the excellent example of the centurion). If you ever hope to become a good Christian Case Maker, you’re going to need to become a good learner, submitting to the leadership and wisdom of the many case makers who have preceded you. Here are three truths that may help you accomplish that goal:
Become a Lifelong Coach
Nothing is more likely to motivate you as a learner than being tasked with an opportunity to teach and train. When you know you’ve got to teach a particular subject, you are far more likely to master the necessary material, and once you’ve coached others, you’re far less likely to forget what you had to learn. Start looking for opportunities to teach and coach. Volunteer at your local church, open your home to your church’s youth group, start a small Bible study; get in the game. Consistent opportunities to teach produce teachers and coaches who are constantly researching in preparation for the next lesson.
Become a Lifelong Collector
Lifelong learners are lovers and collectors of resources. I eventually had to give over an entire room at my home to my collection of books and videos. Most good Christian Case Makers I know are unashamed book hoarders; collecting apologetics resources like trophies and proudly organizing them on their shelves for all to see. Do your best to resist the idolatry of such book collections, but begin your collection none the less. Lifelong learners are lifelong readers and many Christian apologetics resources are “evergreen;” they remain important reference materials for years to come. Start putting those resources at your fingertips.
Become a Lifelong Consistent Contributor
This is perhaps the most important step I’ve taken in my effort to be a lifelong learner. When I decided to write a daily blog, I knew I was committing to a daily education. You cannot contribute consistently without learning consistently. All of us, as “One Dollar Apologists” need to find a way to contribute as frequently as we can. Start a blog, create a Facebook page, write a column for your local paper; do whatever it takes to be a consistent contributor. You will experience an exponential increase in your knowledge and sensitivity to the latest developments in the world of apologetics.
It’s impossible to become a good Christian Case Maker without a proper love of learning, and it’s very easy to allow the hectic pace of our lives drain our passion for education. That’s why it’s so important to become intentional about coaching and contributing to necessitate our learning experiences. If you want to make a change in your own life as a learner, start with your calendar. Schedule the opportunities to coach and contribute (as well as some time to surf the web for a few good books).
For more information about the nature of Biblical faith and a strategy for communicating the truth of Christianity, please read Forensic Faith: A Homicide Detective Makes the Case for a More Reasonable, Evidential Christian Faith. This book teaches readers four reasonable, evidential characteristics of Christianity and provides a strategy for sharing Christianity with others. The book is accompanied by an eight-session Forensic Faith DVD Set (and Participant’s Guide) to help individuals or small groups examine the evidence and make the case.
J. Warner Wallace is a Dateline featured Cold-Case Detective, Senior Fellow at the Colson Center for Christian Worldview, Adj. Professor of Christian Apologetics at Talbot School of Theology, Biola University, author of Cold-Case Christianity, God’s Crime Scene, and Forensic Faith, and creator of the Case Makers Academy for kids.
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