Beyond the Church Walls” is a Ratio Christi conference in our RCCP (College Prep) division dedicated to training youth leaders and parents to disciple the next generation so that they retain their faith during college and become a passionate missional force therein.

This training is geared toward mentoring high school students to be grounded in the Christian faith through learning to blend apologetics with heartfelt faith. This should happen before they cross the college threshold into varying worldviews that conflict with Christianity and question our faith’s validity.

Training Leaders to Train Students

We are on the brink of an entire generation losing the knowledge of God. Sure, many still believe in God, yet fewer than 6 percent actually have a biblical worldview. It is no wonder that upon entering university or the work force young adults abandon the God they never truly knew. That must change.

We held our first weekend “Beyond the Church Walls” training in Colorado in early February 2018. Michael C. Sherrard, our first Director of RCCP Training and the organizer of the conference, tells how it went:

“The conference was a visual representation of Ratio Christi’s College Prep. We are re-tooling RCCP. It had used a chapter model like our college chapters, but now we are changing to an affiliate model. We want people to know: What is RCCP? How do I get on board? What do I get in return?

We want to integrate some of RC’s ministry partners into this training, so this first time we invited Steven Kozak, executive director of Awana Youth Ministry, as a speaker. Steve holds a Masters in Christian Apologetics from Biola University. He speaks and writes on youth ministry, youth culture, and apologetics. We also had an experienced local RC college chapter director, Noah Myers, from RC at Colorado State University. We feel it was hugely successful.”

Sessions included:
• How You, Yes You, Can Help Teenagers Withstand the Cultural Attack on their Faith
• Who is Generation Z?
• Understanding the Nature of the Attack
• A Plan for Christian Education in the Church
• The Life of the Mind and the Teenager
• Rediscovering Biblical Discipleship
• How to Respond to the Questioner and their Questions
• Practical Apologetics in Student Ministry
• Next Steps: How to Begin Training Students Instead of Merely Teaching

How can YOU help? We need more people to become Ratio Christi high school mentors! Our training is for:

• Pastors and Youth Ministers: Learn how to structure youth and children's ministry to prepare the next generation to be faithful ambassadors.

• Parents and Grandparents: Learn how to talk to your family about difficult questions and social issues.

• Para-Church Organizations: Learn how to train your team to be ready to answer the difficult questions teenagers have about Christianity.

We asked Mike: How can this be implemented in the church?

“RCCP is a resource for the church and community to train their leaders to train the next generation.
This spring we plan to implement a series of online training of short informational videos and then more detailed manuals. We answer questions like how to take advantage of RC partners and curriculum.”

Do you need to be an expert in apologetics already?

“No. But, experts in the field don’t need to start something on their own. They can use us as a resource. Our college chapters know what happens to students and what they encounter on campus (regarding the Christian faith). This is a model for youth ministry.”

People interested in this training can see on the BTCW website that our training focuses on:

Cultural Awareness - Who are the coming generations and what are the cultural attacks on their faith?

Biblical Discipleship - How do we raise up the next generation to be faithful followers of Jesus Christ?

Social Engagement - How can we train young adults to be persuasive and gracious ambassadors of truth?

BTCW training is:

Hands On - Don't think "sage on a stage." The training is highly interactive. There is group discussion, role playing, problem solving, and critical thinking all accompanied by a workbook and a multimedia presentation. It is fast paced and collaborative. You've likely never been to a training like this.

Ministry Oriented - Don't think content overload. You certainly will learn new things, but these things are intended to help you more effectively do ministry. This conference is about application of content. It teaches you how to implement things like apologetics, theology, and worldview into youth ministry.

Really Fun - Don't think nerdy academics. Okay, to be honest, we are a bit nerdy but in the cool kind of way. We are lifelong learners and love books and hobbits and such, but we have collectively spent over 40 years working with youth and know how to have a good time. Though the nature of the conference is quite serious, the atmosphere is relaxed, relational, and rejuvenating.

There will likely be two more BTCW training sessions in 2018 – New York and Georgia. Watch these links on the BTCW website for further information. See some photos of the Colorado training below.

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