Outreaches and DebatesOne way Come Reason seeks to share the Gospel is through different outreaches and debate opportunities, particularly at college campuses. 2013 was a great year for outreach as we were able to interact with students at four different college or university campuses this year. I was invited to participate in open forums at both UC Irvine and Riverside Community College. Open forums are where a panel of Christians take questions on morality, biblical Christianity, and other issues from the students. The latter event was covered in the college newspaper with a great write up.
In May, Come Reason co-sponsored with Harvest's The Well Club the second Great God Debate held at UC Riverside. This year's debate focused on the question of life's origin and pitted Dr. Fazale Rana against Dr. Michael Ruse. Over 1,000 students attended the event, which was webcast to countries around the world, thanks to Biola University's apologetics department.
Apologetics Missions Trips are another type of outreach we provide. These trips are where we take a group of high school and college kids to locations that are culturally non-Christian. This year, we visited Dearborn, Michigan for the first time, which boasts the highest Muslim population in the U.S. and has the largest mosque in North America.
The 22 students I took on that trip got to interact with imams, Muslim apologists, speak with ex-Muslims as well as go out on the streets at shopping centers and the University of Michigan Dearborn to witness one on one with the Muslim population.
ConferencesOur Dare to Defend apologetics conferences have been a staple of Come Reason since the ministry's beginning. This year we held two such events, with the first at The Well Church in Oak Valley. Pastor Ron Wood and his congregation graciously hosted a three-day event covering the existence of God, the facts of the resurrection, and other topics. We look forward to holding a similar event in 2014.
The highlight of our year was certainly the outreach at the U.S. Army Garrison in Vicenza, Italy. Entitled “A Reason for Hope,” I was able to give four talks to the troops and their families stationed at Caserma Ederle. I was able to talk about things like the problem of evil to those who had just a few weeks prior returned from the war zone in Afghanistan. Army Chaplain LTC Scott Hammond hosted the event and we are especially thankful to Jeff and Kim Neill for their organization and hospitality in letting us stay at their home.
Speaking and TeachingSpeaking and teaching opportunities continue to play an integral role in the ministry. I continued teaching the monthly apologetics classes at Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, CA. I was also blessed to help teach Pastor Daniel Eichelberger's Deepening Your Faith classes, which are more in-depth theology studies. We covered topics on logic and argumentation, revelation and authority, the person of Jesus, and historic Christian heresies. Other events included services at Calvary Chapel San Diego and Calimesa, and radio interviews on stations in Michigan and New Jersey. If you would like me to visit your church, I would love to come out! Just let me know.
Internet OutreachOur online ministries continue to grow. Over the past year, we've had over 300,000 visitors to the Come Reason web site from nearly every nation around the world. I've been writing nearly daily in the Apologetics Notes blog, which now averages over 10,000 views monthly. The podcast saw 485,000 hits this year and over 30,000 downloads of the weekly teaching. Our YouTube channel also continues to expand as we add more teachings there, and Facebook and Twitter conversations have been bristling. If you aren't following the ministry through one of these channels, I encourage you to start!
PublishingOne new project that I'm excited about is the upcoming release of True Reason: Confronting the Irrationality of the New Atheism by Kregel. I was blessed to have contributed a chapter on the argument from reason, made famous by C.S. Lewis. The book is due to be released on February 1.
Lastly, after several delays, I was happy to see my debate against Richard Carrier released on video. This was the first Great God Debate, and as you can see it was a packed house with great interaction by the audience. If you'd like a DVD of the deabate, comlete with the Q&A and bonus features, you can get one with your contribution to the ministry.
I can tell you that God opened more doors this year than ever before. It has made me deeply humbled to see how He continues to work and excited to see what He has in store for 2014. It promises to be filled with even more ministry opportunities. I also wanted to say thank you to all those who have prayed for this ministry or contributed to its support. Without you, it would be impossible to accomplish so much. He has truly blessed me and I pray that in 2014 He will bless you as well.