The Gospel in a Post-Christendom World : Sean McDowell
In our rapidly changing society that is increasingly skeptical and sometimes intolerant, how can we effectively meet the challenge of demonstrating the good news of Jesus with truth and compassion through our lives and our ministries? In this week’s conversation on FrontStage BackStage, host Jason Daye is joined by Sean McDowell. Sean is an Associate Professor in the Christian Apologetics program at Talbot School of Theology, at Biola University. Sean is also the co-host of the Think Biblically podcast and has one of the largest apologetics channels on YouTube. Sean has written a number of books, including Evidence for Jesus. Together, Sean and Jason look at some of the challenges that we have and the importance of understanding the culture around us when it comes to sharing the good news of Jesus. Sean also points out some key insights, including an often-overlooked component that is essential when it comes to sharing the gospel.
Looking to dig more deeply into this topic and conversation? Every week we go the extra mile and create a free toolkit so you and your ministry team can dive deeper into the topic that is discussed. Find your Weekly Toolkit below… Love well, Live well, Lead well!
- Video links to this week’s episode – easily share with the ministry leaders in your church
- Audio links to this week’s episode – easily share with the ministry leaders in your church
- Additional resource links from this week’s conversation – so you and your team can easily find what is mentioned or referenced
- Ministry Leaders Growth Guide – key insights and concepts from this week’s conversation as well as engaging questions for you and your team to consider and process
- Full-text transcript of this week’s episode – review something you heard, pass along snippets, post tweets, create presentations to share, or use in whatever way you find most helpful in developing your ministry leaders
- Shareable Social Graphics – Feel free to post them on your church social accounts, your personal accounts, or use them as graphics in your communications
Share the video with your ministry leaders >> YouTube
Share the audio podcast with your ministry leaders…
Additional Resource Links
www.seanmcdowell.org – Visit Sean’s website for more information and additional resources such as videos, podcasts, books, and much more!
Evidence for Jesus: Timeless Answers for Tough Questions – In their book, Sean and Josh McDowell help followers of Christ answer questions quickly, and confidently, Josh and Sean McDowell adapted the wisdom from their apologetics classic Evidence That Demands a Verdict into an accessible resource that provides answers to common questions about Jesus.
Connect with Sean McDowell – Twitter
Feeling overwhelmed, burned out, or just want to talk? Complimentary Coaching Session for Pastors http://PastorServe.org/freesession
Ministry Leaders Growth Guide
Key Insights and Concepts
- We must be intentional in how we engage the rapidly changing world in which we live.
- Over the decades the main questions have changed from external questions about the world to internal and subjective questions.
- Many are increasingly viewing truth not as something that is objective and knowable, but something that is subjective and can be different from person to person.
- In today’s culture, apologetics need to be done in a holistic way that is rooted in forming and staying in relationship with others.
- Ministry leaders must teach the timeless truths of scripture while also incorporating the timely questions of the culture to demonstrate how Scripture speaks to a myriad of issues.
- Ministry leaders need to differentiate between essential and secondary issues and make sure to not elevate secondary issues as if they are essential.
- For those in Christ, there are far more things we have in common than we disagree on.
- Finding common ground with unbelievers helps develop relationships and can open the door to gospel conversations.
- Essential truth should not be compromised for the sake of unity.
- The way truth is communicated is incredibly important, and the posture with which we engage others should always reflect the love of Jesus.
- We must embrace the ongoing tension between being loving and boldly speaking truth.
Questions for Reflection
- Over the past few years, what kind of changes have I noticed in our culture’s general worldview? What about over the last few decades?
- Have I seen skepticism about truth in my current culture? How have I seen that create more barriers to sharing the gospel?
- Where can I improve in the relational side of apologetics so that I can have a more holistic approach and be better positioned to share truth in love?
- In my preaching and teaching, do I feel that my time between teaching on both timeless and timely questions is balanced? How can I make sure I’m engaging with both well?
- How can I help create a better space for people to discuss the timely issues in a loving and productive way?
- Are there any areas or issues in my personal life or ministry life that have become primary issues that should remain secondary? How can I begin to put those issues in their proper place?
- When it’s easy to give a quick response or jump straight to my standard answer, how can I begin to find common ground with others first?
- Because unity in the Church is rooted in truth, how can I stand firm in scriptural truth when culture calls us to soften the truth for the sake of worldly unity?
- Do I err on the side of trying to be loving or speaking truth boldly? How can I stay more balanced in the tension between the two?
- How can I best equip the people under my leadership to share the Gospel with others?
- In the hard times of ministry, what memories or situations can I bring to mind that will remind me of my calling?
In our rapidly changing society that is increasingly skeptical and sometimes intolerant, how can we effectively meet the challenge of demonstrating the good news of Jesus with truth and compassion through our lives and our ministries?
In this episode, I’m joined by Sean McDowell. Sean is an Associate Professor in the Christian Apologetics program at Talbot School of Theology, at Biola University. Sean is also the co-host of the Think Biblically podcast and has one of the largest apologetics channels on YouTube. Sean has written a number of books, including Evidence For Jesus. Together, Sean and I look at some of the challenges that we have and the importance of understanding the culture around us when it comes to sharing the good news of Jesus. Sean also points out some key insights, including an often-overlooked component that is essential when it comes to sharing the gospel. Are you ready? Let’s go.
Hello, friends, and welcome to another insightful episode of FrontStage BackStage. I’m your host Jason Daye. And every single week I have the privilege, the honor really, of sitting down with a trusted ministry leader and digging into a conversation, all in hopes to help you, and pastors and ministry leaders like you, embrace a healthy rhythm for life and ministry and to really be as effective as possible as we can be for the Kingdom and for Christ. And we are proud to be a part of the Pastor Serve Network. And every week we do more than just record a show. We also create an entire toolkit for you and the team at your local church to really dig into and, again, learn more about the topic at hand. And you can find that toolkit at PastorServe.org/network. In there, you will find key insights, you’ll find videos, audio, and links to resources. But also, you’ll find a Ministry Leader’s Growth Guide. And that has a set of questions for reflection that you and your ministry leaders can go through, again, to really dig more deeply into the topic that we’re discussing. So be sure to check that out at PastorServe.org/network. Now at Pastor Serve we love to bless pastors, and our ministry coaches would love to give you a complimentary coaching session. Give you an opportunity to sit down and talk with someone about what you might be facing in ministry. And just to find some perspective, fresh perspective, perhaps, and some progress on those things that you’re facing. And you can register for that and find more information at PastorServe.org/freesession. So be sure to check that out. Now if you’re joining us on YouTube, please take time to give us a thumbs up and drop your name and the name of your church in the comments below. We absolutely love getting to know our audience better. And our team will be praying for you and for your ministry. And whether you’re joining us on YouTube or your favorite podcast platform, please be sure to subscribe or follow so you do not miss out on any of these exciting conversations. And I am pleased to dive into this week’s conversation and welcome Sean McDowell to FrontStage BackStage. So Sean, welcome to the show.
Jason, honored to be with you.
Yeah, brother, thank you so much for making the time to hang out with us, Pastors and ministry leaders from across the country, and even around the world. And one of the things that I love about your heart, Sean, is your heart is really helping to come alongside and equip ministry leaders, pastors, and Christ followers. And when it comes to, how do we share the Good News of Jesus, you’ve really dedicated your life to this and we’re going to be spending some time looking, Sean, at a bit of the cultural landscape in which we find ourselves as pastors, as ministry leaders, today. And we’re going to be discussing how we can be effective when it comes to sharing the good news. We live in an increasingly skeptical, sometimes hostile, post-Christendom world that’s changing around us pretty rapidly and we’re experiencing that. And I think all of us in ministry are experiencing that and sensing that. Now, Sean, your father Josh wrote a book that was originally published, if I’m not mistaken, before either of us was probably even born yet, right? Entitled Evidence That Demands a Verdict, a best-selling book has been translated into I don’t know a zillion different languages around the world, right? And then you and your father, you did an updated or revised edition of this book a handful of years ago. Now, Sean, it’s safe to say that a lot has changed in our world over the past 40-plus years. But it’s also true that a lot has changed over the past five or six years, right? I mean, it seems like the last handful of years have been decades compressed into just a few years. Sean, as a professor of apologetics, as one who has literally devoted your life to this topic, I’d love for you to begin this conversation by diving into a question. I know it’s a big question. I’m not asking you to answer this as deeply as I know you can. But briefly, just to kind of get us up to speed a little bit. As we look back across these years, how has apologetics changed really, over the past few decades?
One of the joys of writing this book with my father, who by the way, this fall is celebrating six decades in ministry, is that I’ve had the privilege of asking him this question on many occasions. And so he points out a few things he’d say, number one, when you go back to, kind of, say the 70s. You’re right, this book was written in 72, Evidence Demands A Verdict, I was born and 76, is he said the big questions were external, they were outside in society. That’s where it was viewed that the problem lay. So debates about the Vietnam War, there’s an external problem with the world. Now things have turned internal into somebody’s subjective state, there’s something perceived as being wrong inside of me. It’s as if we moved from an objective analysis to a subjective approach to questions. That’s one huge shift that’s taking place. I think another big shift is that when my father started this time, there was kind of an assumption that there was such thing as truth, and it was knowable, and we could access the facts. So we’d speak on a college campus, and people would say, give me evidence, give me proof, give me the facts. Now, in many ways, there’s a skepticism about knowledge, which is ironic, because we have more tools than ever to access information. And the larger question is not so much is Christianity true, but is Christianity good. And can Christianity personally help me? Almost in the lens that people approach religion like they do a kind of therapy. Those are two of the big shifts that have taken place in culture. Now, we still need to give evidence for the faith, but I think the way we do it, and the manner in which we approach it probably needs to shift.
Yeah, excellent. And that leads us into what we want to talk about today, when it comes to ministry leaders in the local church, right? Because we have two things as we look at pastors and ministry leaders serving. One is how are we sharing the good news, right? But then there’s another layer. How are we helping our people in their day-to-day lives as they’re rubbing shoulders and living in the same culture and same society? How are we helping equip them to share the good news with others? So, Sean, talk to us a little bit about the shift that we need to begin to make, some of those shifts that we need to think about, when it comes to engaging people today, with the good news of Jesus.
Yeah, so one big shift, when my father first wrote Evidence in 1972, there was no chapter on truth. You didn’t need to argue that there’s such a thing as truth. Well, in this updated version that we’re talking about that came out in 2017. We have, I think, three chapters on truth and skepticism and the knowability of history. You didn’t have to do that in the past. And some of that is because there’s such confusion about truth, you hear people say things like live your truth. Be true to yourself. That may be true for you, but not true for me. Now, one clarification I make is you can have your own beliefs, but you cannot have your own truth. You can have your own belief, but you can’t have your own truth. Because truth is when a belief matches up with reality. So one shift in how we equip Christians and also engage non-Christians, is we have to sometimes make a case or an apologetic for truth itself, and the knowability of truth, in a way that we didn’t have to in the past. One other shift that, I would say, I think we have to make is it’s very clear that we’re in a mental health crisis. And I don’t think COVID caused this. I think it exacerbated issues that were already there. Well, when there is relational brokenness, it affects the way that we process truth. So I think a lot of relativism has been brought on, not just by bad arguments, but by broken relationships, and broken community, and a broken sense of the self. So apologetics is always supposed to be done in community and in relationship. And I think it’s 1 Thessalonians 1:9, Paul says, we not only gave you the gospel – truth, but our very own lives – relationship. We need to make sure, today, we get back to that, where we do apologetics and defend the faith in a holistic relational kind of fashion. Rather than just dropping facts and moving on, in the way it’s sometimes maybe been done.
Yeah, that’s helpful. As we’re looking at the local ministry of the church. And I can imagine that a lot of pastors have been serving in the local church, many have been serving for decades, right? And there was something that kind of, as you said, worked in a way right there. The ways that we went about doing things at one point. And talk to us a bit about the importance of recognizing the changes that are going on around us. Because sometimes people push back at that and it’s almost like, it becomes almost an enemy that changes are taking place, as opposed to having a posture where changes are taking place regardless. So we need to think about how we enter into those changes and do ministry.
So maybe this will help. Here’s the way I frame this, is that when we look at tough questions, there are timeless questions. And there are timely questions. So timeless questions, does God exist? Why does God allow evil? How do we have salvation? Is Jesus the only way? These are timeless questions people have always asked and always will ask. Is there life after death, etc. But then there are timely questions that arise because of the cultural moment that we’re in. So certain questions about the intersection of science and faith are relevant today. A lot of questions about sexuality are particularly relevant today. And I think the mistake is we only approach timely questions, or we only deal with timeless questions. I think wise engagement is to bring it back to the timeless questions, but sometimes engage them through the timely ones that people are asking. So I think in a sense, we have to approach and we have to do both of those. Now, Evidence For Jesus is asking the timeless questions. Who is Jesus? Is Jesus God? Can we trust the Bible? Did Jesus really rise from the grave? These are the timeless questions about the person of Jesus. But there happen to be certain timely challenges to this that people are facing more so than they did maybe 10, 20, or 50 years ago. So my encouragement to pastors is to keep preaching the timeless truth. Don’t ever pull away from that. But be aware of and be willing to shift and adjust and address the timely questions that are going on. Because if we don’t, we give the message to the outside culture, and to Christians that the gospel doesn’t speak into this particular issue and this cultural moment. I think that’s the dangerous and unbiblical and unwise thing to do.
Yeah, Sean, and so let’s talk about that balance a little bit. Because we know, sometimes there are people that love Jesus, and they get really really amped up. They get really really focused on the timely issues, right? Maybe so much so to the detriment of the timeless issues, right? The flip side of that is, there’s a fear, for some, to discuss the timely issues at all. And so they’re just hanging on to the timeless ones. And as you said, the concern there is that it makes it look like it could be irrelevant to what’s happening in the world today. And people can dismiss it. So talk to us a little bit about that balance between those two extremes. And how can we be most effective in how we’re living Christ out before others?
I’m not going to pretend, Jason, that I have this completely dialed in. Even this morning, I was thinking about that question. And for me, like on my YouTube channel, I have questions about Is the Bible true? Why is there evil? Is there evidence for the soul? Timeless. But then I’ll engage timely topics and whenever you engage topics like sexuality, and race, and whatever, people just lose their minds on all sides of this. So it’s so much easier for me to just say, You know what, I don’t want to deal with that. I’m gonna let it go. But I always ask myself, is that the wise biblical thing to do? So I don’t always get this down right. But one thing I try to say is, I want to make sure I die on the right issues. What are essential issues? And what are secondary issues? So what I see a lot in the church is people making secondary issues as if they’re primary and essential issues. And as best as I can, I want to keep that distinction set. Now, I have actually worked with my pastor at my church recently. And they wanted to have these difficult conversations and I was encouraged, they’ve had conversations about abortion, they’ve had conversations about transgender. I’m not sure if they’ve had one yet on race. They’ve had stuff, like basically taking the thorniest topics on a Saturday morning or Tuesday night, bringing in speakers, sometimes speakers from a different perspective, and just saying the focus of tonight is to listen, to learn, find common ground, and understand where our differences are. And they’ve done a really good job of facilitating these kinds of conversations for people. That’s a wise thing I would encourage pastors to do. So number one, make sure you die on the right issues. Number two, find space for people to talk about these issues, to process them. And I think there’s an awful lot of people who want to be able to discuss these things and see how their faith weighs into them.
Yeah, that’s excellent, Sean. You mentioned common ground. And I’ve heard you speak on the idea of common ground, you’ve written on the idea of common ground, and the value and importance of that when it comes to expressing our faith and sharing the good news of Jesus with others. Can you talk a little bit more about the concept of common ground and why it’s so important? Even in many ways, maybe more important today than it has been throughout our lifetimes.
Yeah, you can make the case that it’s more important today, because if identity politics says I can reduce somebody down to their sex, to their age, to their sexual preference, to their race, to their socioeconomic status… fill in the blank. And what happens is it basically focuses on the differences that we have, and really builds a barrier and says, if you’re not my sex, if you’re not my race, if you’re not “fill the blank”, you can’t understand me. Well, there are significant differences that do shape the way we see the world. So there’s some truth to the idea of identity politics. But the problem is, it focuses so much on the differences that it loses that, as human beings, you and I, no matter any of those supposed differences, have far more in common because of our shared humanity than we do differences. And this is especially true for Christians. What we have in common through the gospel transcends any of those differences. That’s why timely today, we’ve got to focus on common ground. Now I found with non-believers… I went up, this is probably 10 or 12 years ago, brought my wife and my pastor to this atheist group, and sat in the hot seat for two hours. And they were just firing questions at me about all sorts of things. And in the back of my mind, I thought, You know what, I want to do as much as I can to find common ground with these people who see the world differently. So I’m not this alien, Christian, evangelical who’s so “other”. At the end of the night, it’s very clear that I gave answers about the origins of the universe, and why I think the Bible’s true. But they walked away going, wow, I have so much more in common with Sean as a father, even politically, we found some common ground morally, we found some common ground. It helps build relationships, and in many ways can help make somebody more receptive and open to not only an ongoing relationship, but the gospel. So I think it helps with unbelievers. And I’m not saying we soften the message at all. That’s not my point. But I’m always looking to find common ground with somebody of a different worldview. But it’s also true in the church. We have unbelievable division right now on a range of issues. I mean, whether somebody agrees or disagrees with Voddie Baucham, he wrote a book called Fault Lines. And he talked about how he thinks critical race theory is dividing the church. Now, regardless of your views of whether you’re for it or against it or ambivalent. He’s right to the level, that that’s an example of one issue, and there are others, that is just like a fault line going through the church and creating so much division within the body of Christ. So what common ground helps to say, is say, all right, where do we differ? Where do we have common ground? Does the gospel transcend this? Is this actually a gospel issue? It helps bring clarity amidst our differences. The Bible has a lot to say about unity. It’s in the book of 1 Corinthians. It’s all over Ephesians. So I never would say that we should compromise truth for the sake of unity. But we’ve also got to recognize that across the body of Christ, there’s a huge range of differences and backgrounds and experiences. And insofar as we’re not compromising truth, we’ve got to look to try to find some common ground to have unity in the body of Christ.
Yeah, I love that, Sean. And because the divisiveness just in our culture, generally, is so obvious right now. But as you said, the divisiveness within our churches as well. So the idea of finding that common ground, finding those things where we can relate, because if you don’t have some sense of common ground and if you can’t build that relationship, you’ll never be able to have a second, third, fourth conversation with somebody. Right? Because it takes that because they’ll just dismiss you. I mean, as you said, you’re so alien from me, right? You’re so different from me that there’s nothing really to discuss. So when we can find that common ground that helps develop that relationship so that we can continue to build on that relationship. We see this in Christ as well, time and time again. So as we’re looking at the idea of, I mean, this has been fantastic. This idea of effectiveness and what does that look like, and adapting to the changing world around us? One of the things that often comes up is this issue of hostility toward Christians. And we’re living in a changing world. And so sometimes people can take a posture that’s very defensive when it comes to that hostility. Which, I would love to hear your thoughts, Sean, on as we’re trying to engage a culture that is very much post-Christendom. And we sense some hostilities, what are some ways from an apologetic standpoint? Can we begin to process or address or work through some of those perceived hostilities in a way that will help us to remain effective with the gospel?
So I love this question. Let me make one further point about common ground. If you look in Acts 17, on Mars Hill, what does Paul say? I see that you’re a very religious people. What’s he doing? He’s partly finding common ground with this search for the divine, this care about religion, with his seemingly foreign audience, before he goes into his speech and some of the differences between their belief in God and the Christian God. So we see Paul modeling this in Acts 17. Now, why is there just so much hostility today? I think there can be a few reasons for this. Like one reason is, we have a really broken culture, hurting people hurt people, we’ve heard it said. I think some of the hostility is just because we have an angry culture, and people are looking for somebody to express it at. So we’re angry about everything today. But it seems to be more so with Christianity. Why? Part of it is the nature of our message. When I’ve been studying 1 Corinthians in the morning, Paul makes it clear that we have a resurrection faith. And the cross is a stumbling block to Jews, and it’s foolishness to Gentiles. It’s offensive, the message that we preach. Now, we better not add offense to the Gospel. And we’re pretty good at doing that many times. But we also can’t take it away. So some of the inherent nature of the gospel is offensive. And I think we’re seeing a new worldview, especially emerging in the West about identity, about sexuality, that is irreconcilable with a Christian way of seeing the world. So, some of that hostility we can’t do anything about and we shouldn’t do anything about it. I mean, Jesus let the rich young ruler walk away. They hated Jesus and crucified Him because of the message that He preached. Now, what can we do about it? I think a couple of things. Number one, I think it’s building relationships with people. A lot of what happens if you look at somebody in the eye and you know somebody, then what happens? They’re not just an object that’s out there. They’re not just a political movement. This is a human being that I love and I care about. So when people hear that Christianity is bigoted and hateful, and it’s hostile, and they’re voting this way, and they’re tempted to believe the narrative that’s so processed in our culture. That their next thought is, but I know Jim, who’s my neighbor, he’s a Christian. And he doesn’t treat me that way. I know Jessica, she’s a co-worker and she’s a Christian. And she doesn’t treat me that way. That begins to change some of the hostility towards Christians and at least potentially opens up the door to hear the Christian message. So we have to be careful with our rhetoric and our communication. Let’s face it, you’ve got a YouTube channel podcast, I’ve got a podcast, YouTube channel, a blog, it goes through my mind that if I can come up with a provocative title, and I could demonize somebody, I’m going to get hits, I’m going to get views, I’m going to get attention here, which can translate to money for somebody, like, all these things are behind it. But what happens is, when we play that same game, I think we lose more for the sake of the gospel than we ever potentially gain. So we’ve got to be careful how we talk about atheists and Muslims and post-modernists and the LGBTQ community. We’ve got to think through the rhetoric and the language that we use. Again, I’m not telling people to soften it. I’m telling us to be wise, and to be thoughtful, and like Colossians 4 says, have our language seasoned with salt. So I think, I guess in summary, the gospel message is offensive. Let us never water the gospel message down. But we’ve got to build relationships with people, and be thoughtful and careful how we communicate, and not play by the metric of the world. Even preaching. I was, gosh, I was speaking… Oh, the group I mentioned earlier when I went to meet with this atheist group, I asked them, and I said to this group at the NSA, can I ask you guys some questions? They said, Sure. I said, what are some things that Christians could do better to reach skeptics? And I’ll never forget this atheist. He said, Stop slandering atheists. He used that word. And I said, that’s a pretty strong word. What do you mean? He goes, every time I go to a church, I hear some cheap shot from the stage, about some atheist group or non-Christian group. And on the drive home, I told my wife, I’m like Man, this guy’s got a complex, we’re not that bad. You know, I was defending us. And I’m telling you, Jason, within a week or two, I’m sitting in church, and the pastor from the pulpit told a joke at the expense of atheists. And I thought, wow, I would be embarrassed if some of my family members who are atheists were here. I’d be embarrassed if somebody came up off the street, and listened to the language and rhetoric that we used. I think that guy was more right than we realize. So our relationships and the way we communicate can help lower the hostility in appropriate ways. And I think let’s remove barriers, so people can maybe be open to the goodness and beauty and truth of the gospel.
Yeah, I love that, Sean. That’s so helpful. And really that emphasis on rather than just labeling people, and just mentally dumping them into a bucket. Actually knowing their name, and thinking of them as an individual person, right? I think that perspective helps change the way that we go about ministry, the way we go about just sharing the hope of Jesus. Because it takes away, as you said, whenever we focus on that relationship, it takes away the kind of nameless, you know, it’s easier to speak negatively about someone when it’s just a nameless group of people, right? But whenever you’re thinking of a particular person and a relationship you’re building with that person, it dramatically changes everything. I think that’s so key. One more question, as we lean into this just a little bit more, Sean, is, how can we then be effective? I hear everything you’re saying, this is fantastic. But specifically in the idea of holding out truth, while at the same time demonstrating the compassion of Christ and the love of Christ? Because sometimes those two things feel like there’s a lot of tension there. And rightly so, you know, there is tension between those two. As you’ve said, the gospel is offensive, although we don’t want to add offense to the Gospel, right? Because it’s something that is radically, radically different than the worldview. And so how do we hold these two, this idea of truth, and this idea of compassion, both that are deeply embedded in the person of Jesus, in the way that we converse with others?
So, Jason, this is probably not the answer you’re looking for. But it’s the best answer that I have. I think we have to live in that tension. And if you’re not living in that tension, you’re airing too much on one side or the other. If you don’t ever feel the tension like gosh, I need to be more loving here. Then you’re probably speaking too much truth and not being loving enough. If you never feel like, now I could have spoken truth more boldly, there’s probably a decent chance that you’re softening the message and not speaking enough truth. Even this morning, I was thinking about a recent interview going, you know it, Should I have pressed this person more? Should I, like I go back and forth, and I don’t always land the plane where it needs to be landed. But I live in that tension. And the reality is some of us have maybe more of what we would consider a pastoral voice. Some people have more of maybe a prophetic voice, and that’s okay. God has wired us differently. But I get asked some of the most impossible situations about using preferred pronouns, about going to same-sex weddings, about all kinds of stuff that Christians differ on. And part of my answer is, you’ve got to live in the tension and make sure you’re balancing grace and truth. If you’re not living at attention from the pulpit, with your friends, and evangelism, in a blog, on YouTube, or a podcast like this, then probably it’s because we’re erring too far on one side than the other.
Yeah, that’s excellent. That’s excellent, Sean. Excellent, brother. It has been so good to have you hanging out with us today, chatting through these things. I want to give you a couple of opportunities as we wind down this conversation, it’s been golden brother. And I know a lot of people we’re going to get a lot from this. But two things. One, I want to give you an opportunity, just to speak some encouragement to brothers and sisters who are serving on the frontlines of the Kingdom. It’s been a challenging time, the last handful of years have been even more challenging, it seems. So just some words of encouragement that you’d like to share with them.
So I would just first off say, I get it. I’ve seen the numbers and the number of pastors over the next three to five years who are going to retire. The stress and the difficulty of what we’ve had to work through as a culture. I’ve felt that stress in a different way. And my encouragement is to just take a moment and remember, why did you do this in the first place? What was that joy that brought you to be a pastor that you began with? Because when I start forgetting, why do I speak? Why do we do certain things on social media? Why do I teach? I kind of go back and remember, exactly number one, why I did this. And second, I start thinking about stories of people that have let me know that my ministry made a difference. So I’d encourage you to just take a moment and reflect on, why did you do this in the first place, try to remember that joy, and think of some of the people that God has used you to positively influence because if you’re watching this podcast or listening to it, at some point, I know God is using you or you wouldn’t take the time to listen to this and try to get better, and try to improve. So we need you. We need people, like Jason said, more than ever to lovingly speak truth. Be encouraged, keep fighting the good fight, what you’re doing makes a difference.
I love that, Sean. That’s a great word. And then the second thing I’d love for you to share if people are watching along, listening, and they’d like to connect with you, with your ministry with the books, Evidence For Jesus was one of the most recent that you and I think your father also, the two of you together worked on this one as well, right as a project. What’s the best way people could connect with you, your ministry, those types of things?
So there are a few layers. I use Twitter, I use Instagram. I have a YouTube channel, I write a blog. I use a lot of different mediums, not just stupid cat videos, but my whole goal is to equip and train and resource people. Probably the hub that connects all these different things is just my website, SeanMcdowell.org. It’s got my… literally, there’s the Tick Tock I do only to reach the next generation. Links to Twitter, links to Instagram, to the YouTube channel. Some watching this, I thought you know what I want to connect. And if you’ve ever thought about getting a graduate degree, we have a full-time distance master’s program. And we have a lot of pastors who come and want to learn apologetics, historical Jesus, intelligent design, the problem of evil. If you’re looking for somebody to mentor you, or you thought about going back, check us out at Biola Apologetics. We’d love to have you there as well.
Awesome, brother. I appreciate that. And we will have links to Sean’s social, to his website. We’ll have links to that master’s program as well. All in the downloadable growth guide. You can find that PastorServe.org/network. And you’ll find all that in the toolkit there. So you can check that out. Sean, it’s been an absolute pleasure, brother. Thank you so much for making the time, once again, to hang out with us and just sharing your heart. Thank you for the work that you’re doing for the Kingdom as you’re equipping and encouraging brothers and sisters in their daily walk, in their ministry, in their daily walk as they are sharing the good news of Jesus. We certainly appreciate all that you do.
Thanks, Jason. You’re a pro buddy.
All right. God bless you.
Now, before you go, I want to remind you of an incredible free resource that our team puts together every single week to help you and your team dig more deeply and maximize the conversation that we just had. This is the weekly toolkit that we provide. And we understand that it’s one thing to listen or watch an episode, but it’s something entirely different to actually take what you’ve heard, what you’ve watched, what you’ve seen, and apply it to your life and to your ministry. You see, FrontStage BackStage is more than just a podcast or YouTube show about ministry leadership, we are a complete resource to help train you and your entire ministry team as you seek to grow and develop in life in ministry. Every single week, we provide a weekly toolkit which has all types of tools in it to help you do just that. Now you can find this at PastorServe.org/network. That’s PastorServe.org/network. And there you will find all of our shows, all of our episodes and all of our weekly toolkits. Now inside the toolkit are several tools including video links and audio links for you to share with your team. There are resource links to different resources and tools that were mentioned in the conversation, and several other tools, but the greatest thing is the ministry leaders growth guide. Our team pulls key insights and concepts from every conversation with our amazing guests. And then we also create engaging questions for you and your team to consider and process, providing space for you to reflect on how that episode’s topic relates to your unique context, at your local church, in your ministry and in your life. Now you can use these questions in your regular staff meetings to guide your conversation as you invest in the growth of your ministry leaders. You can find the weekly toolkit at PastorServe.org/network We encourage you to check out that free resource. Until next time, I’m Jason Daye encouraging you to love well, live well, and lead well. God bless.
Shareable Social Graphics
Strengthen Your Church
Strengthening your church, for us, begins by serving you, the pastor!