Q&A with Glenn Smith, RC's Texas Regional Director
We’re pleased to announce that Glenn Smith is Ratio Christi's Texas Regional Director. He’s overseeing a dozen chapters in various stages of growth at Texas colleges and universities, and also Louisiana State University in its close proximity.
Smith received his Masters in Apologetics and Philosophy from Southern Evangelical Seminary. He got interested in Ratio Christi when some students had a table about apologetics at a conference, and soon became RC’s Chapter Director at Texas A & M University (TAMU). He fulfilled that role for four years before putting on this new hat as Regional Director.
“Back when I started, Ratio Christi was just an outreach,” Smith recalls, “not a full-fledged organization.”
But things advanced fast for the then-fledgling movement, as RC has exploded into nearly 140 chapters. Smith further explains the leadership needs in his region:
"About a year and a half ago, Blake Anderson (Ratio Christi's Chief Operations Officer) approached me about the rapid growth of chapters, and the number of interested students at Texas universities and the one in Louisiana. He said Ratio Christi needed someone to give advice to the chapter leaders as they formed and led the various school clubs. When I accepted the regional position, I stopped being the Chapter Director at Texas A&M, and coached the student members to take over."
That was Smith's first step in teaching multiple chapter leaders, and leading them in how to have healthy organizations.
RC: What type of person generally becomes a Chapter Director?
GS: The chapter director is often a volunteer expert apologist with other job responsibilities beside their involvement in Ratio Christi. They may have a regular career or occupation outside the college, or they may in fact be a teacher or faculty advisor [a school-sanctioned chapter must have a staff advisor]. Some are also full time paid missionaries with Ratio Christi. The Chapter Directors must be able to devote time, apologetics skills, organization, and mentoring skills.
RC: What makes a healthy RC chapter?
GS: In order to be a healthy and successful chapter, I believe the following should be true:
- There must be at least two students in leadership roles beside the Chapter Director. The Chapter Director must find one student with good natural organization skills to keep meetings on target and delegate others to do tasks. There should be another student who is already into apologetics– someone who enjoys studying apologetics and things like Bible history outside of the RC meetings. I like students to take leadership instead of it simply being a Chapter Director who commands the group and "gives a class."
- The Chapter Directors shouldn’t act as "teachers." I tell them, don't make it "your deal.” If the group is student led, the chapter members have more of a sense of ownership. Discuss, don't lecture.
- The students should be encouraged to have a social attitude, not to get trapped in a “geeky,” intellectual bubble. Do other activities, like socializing with others in places such as campus ice cream or coffee shops; invite other people outside of the usual students to the meetings and events, or even skip a meeting once in a while to go somewhere with other people. This shows that you like to socialize, and you’re interested in what they’re doing.
- The chapter should have momentum and direction, so that if the leader changes or there isn't one for a while, the students should be able to keep meetings going, schedule events, and create excitement and enthusiasm amongst the group and their peers.
RC: What might make a chapter fall apart?
GS: The students might be too swamped with school work to commit to anything else on a regular basis. Usually, a leader-type student is involved in many things. Or perhaps the desire is there, but no one has a clear vision or organizational motivation for what a chapter can or should be.
Smith has taken on some tough topics for Ratio Christi's TAMU blog page, like the historical validty of the Bible. Here is a list of the chapters now in his realm of Directorship:
-Texas A&M (TAMU) Corpus Christi
-University of Texas at Arlington
-University of Texas at Austin
-University of Texas at San Antonio
-Dallas Baptist University
-Southern Methodist University
-Houston Baptist University
-Texas Tech University
-Dallas County Community College
-Sam Houston State University
-Louisiana State University
(All of Ratio Christi’s chapters, and links to some individual pages, are listed at our website.)
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