I consider apologetics to be a necessary part of any youth pastor’s teaching rotation. Most teenagers are in a stage of development where they are coming to the realization that countless worldviews exist, yet they often aren’t equipped to think critically and investigate worldviews in a logical way. Teaching apologetics isn’t about winning an argument, but rather about helping teenagers to 1) Do some digging and investigate the evidence for a biblical worldview and 2) lovingly and intelligently interact with others who do not share their worldview. As Mack Stiles puts it in Speaking of Jesus (IVP, 1995), “No one was ever argued into the Kingdom; but no one ever entered the Kingdom without a reason.”
I wish all youth workers had a good handle on some basic apologetics topics, but I know that isn’t always the case. Many youth workers know that they should teach on apologetics, but they don’t because they don’t feel like they know enough about apologetics themselves. Everybody has to start somewhere, and a lack of confidence shouldn’t keep you from exposing the teenagers you serve to apologetics.
With that in mind, what follows a list of free resources that you can use to teach on apologetics in your youth ministry. However, let me first offer a few notes of warning:
- These resources aren’t meant to be a substitute for your own study of apologetics or an invitation to be lazy; they are simply meant to provide a starting point if you don’t know where to begin when it comes to teaching on apologetics.
- Most of these resources are best for students who will be engaged and motivated to learn in a small group setting. As much as I believe that apologetics should be at least introduced to all teenagers in your church, I wouldn’t just choose one of the resources below and hit the “play” button at your next youth group expecting that everyone will be engaged.
- Remember, these are free resources. There are also a lot of great apologetics resources out there that are for sale. I may post on those some time in the future, but the purpose of this post is to point to free resources that are a great first step.
The Veritas Forum (www.veritas.org)
The Veritas Forum hosts lectures, forums, and debates at college campuses, primarily in the United States. On their website, they state that “We host university events that engage students and faculty in discussions about life’s hardest questions and the relevance of Jesus Christ to all of life.” Hundreds (perhaps thousands at this point) of audio and video recordings of forums are archived on the Veritas website (www.veritas.org). Yes, the vast majority of the talks are over an hour, so you may need to make popcorn or show only part of a forum. However, the content is solid, and while it is very high level thinking, it’s accessible to high school students. If you’d like to look through some shorter clips as more of an illustration or teaching aid, check out their YouTube channel.
Sean McDowell (www.seanmcdowell.org)
There are several great apologetics videos on Sean McDowell’s site, but like the Veritas videos, most are over an hour long. However, it feels like Sean’s videos are more accessible to high school students, and it might be a great place to start.
Video of William Lane Craig Speaking to High Schoolers About Jesus’ Resurrection
William Lane Craig is probably my favorite apologist because of the clarity with which he speaks on complicated issues (not to mention he is from my dad’s home town of Keokuk, Iowa). This is a great introduction to the evidence for Jesus’ miraculous resurrection from the dead, a cornerstone of the Gospel. You can find the talk on YouTube here, but I’ll also embed it here:
This site is full of plenty of audio and video resources on various apologetics topics. One of my favorites (though it’s just audio and not video) is Tim Keller’s message on “How Can There Be Just One True Religion?” Not only is Tim Keller a great speaker, but the topic is one that I think most teenagers wrestle with.
Are there any FREE Resources you would add to the list?