The Culture Imagine a pastor doing a series of sermons on Ephesians. Twenty years later, with a very different congregation, the pastor believes it is time to preach on Ephesians once again. Should he simply use his sermons from twenty years ago, based on the rationale that God’s Word never changes? Or does he study the topic anew and present a message that speaks to a generation that has been challenged by the change of many years? Maybe he has changed, too?
It is true the Scriptures are living…sharper than any two-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12). It is also true that our culture has changed. Our students need to be challenged where they are—today!
The Stoa Board of Directors and several Stoa members recently asked: “Can we do better?”
Can Apologetics better support “Speaking Boldly. Changing the World for Christ”?
Can Apologetics better prepare students for the worldview/social issues questions they will face after high school?
Can we increase Apologetics participation?
The Process Last fall, the Stoa Board of Directors directed the Speech Committee to evaluate the current 100 Apologetics questions. The Apologetics Subcommittee edited the existing questions and drafted new questions with the following goals:
Uphold the event description and goal
Decrease the total number of questions and eliminate duplicate concepts
Maintain similar concepts in edited questions so competitors may use existing cards
Add more true Apologetics-type questions that are being asked by the world today including worldview and social issues
Ensure all questions are appropriate for 12–18 year-olds
The overall number of questions has been reduced to make room for new questions. In addition, the structure was simplified with the removal of subcategories. Apologetics coaches across the league were solicited to give feedback on the changes with an overwhelming positive response. Their input helped create an even stronger end product.
The Result The changes will be an easy transition for most since the Speech Committee has documented and published references that link to the 2019–2020 Apologetics questions. Thus, it will be easy to transfer old cards to the new system. The cross-references clearly show the students the changes are either a combination of old original questions, a revision/rewording of original questions/topics, or the content of new questions with old topics. There will only be 23, easily identifiable, new topics added to the questions list, ensuring current Apologetics competitors will not have to complete too much more work to prepare for the 2020–2021 season.
New apologetics students will have an even less daunting task, thanks to the reduction in overall number of questions, better organization of questions, and simplified rewording of original concepts.
We can’t wait to hear your Apologetic speeches in the upcoming year!