Unless the LORD Builds the House
By Rick Schenker, President of Ratio Christi
“Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.”
Sometimes when people tell me what a great job Ratio Christi is doing and how incredible it is that we are growing so fast, I have the tendency to think that maybe I have been the cause of these wonderful achievements. But it doesn’t take long before I realize that I am just moving along with God as He is unveiling His strategic plan for this generation.
When I first heard of Ratio Christi, I think the Spirit of God was getting my attention. I felt like this could be a “mass movement” about to happen. Further, I believed that the church was poised to move into the “age of the apologist.” From that moment, I became very excited about the mission of Ratio Christi and wanted to play a role in its future.
I just thank God that I was in a position where he could lead me to Ratio Christi, and allow me to participate with Him. It feels like we are at the center of one of the most important things God is doing at this time in history. As Richard Ellsworth Day said, "There are no bona fide mass movements; it only looks that way.” But there are those that see where “God is and where He is going." What a privilege it is to serve our Lord in this way. Please join us as we contend in the university “for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.”
What brought me to Ratio Christi is an amazing story itself. I was the chief elected official of a county government in Northwest Pennsylvania. Although I loved working in government and the public policy arena, I was feeling that my work had such temporal value, and that I wanted to give my time and attention to matters that had eternal significance. After announcing that I would not seek re-election, I started to look for opportunities to serve in Christian ministry. Unfortunately, no one wanted to hire me. I heard many nice ways of saying, “we don’t need you.” After being rejected for many positions, and even thinking about re-entering the political arena, I took a corporate position with a large telecom company. After less than a year, however, the economy collapsed and I found myself, at age 50 something, unemployed.
Toward the end of 2009, I had been thinking about the importance of what the Lord was doing to bring apologetics to the attention of the church. I really didn’t know what to do about this, but I told my wife that I was considering getting a Master’s degree in Apologetics. A Google search led me to a blog site containing a virtual online library of apologetics information called Apologetics315.com. They had a list of schools offering degrees in apologetics including; Biola University, Southern Evangelical Seminary, Liberty University, Veritas Evangelical Seminary, and Columbia Evangelical Seminary.
Since Southern Evangelical Seminary (SES) was the closest to my home, I decided to focus on their program. Through a list on their web site of various student missions initiatives I ran across a program named Ratio Christi. At the very moment I understood that this organization was opening apologetics clubs on secular universities, I felt convicted by the Spirit of God that this was the place I should serve. In order to see how it worked, I sent an inquiry to find out how someone would start a chapter at a particular school. Then. . . nothing happened—there was no response. By the time I did get in touch with someone, I realized that this was an under-funded, under-staffed organization that needed a leader—and I wanted to be that leader.
When I finally had an opportunity to talk to two students who were helping the ministry, I told them that although I knew they didn’t have any money I wanted to work for Ratio Christi and raise my own salary. They were excited because they had been praying for someone with my background to come along. Yet again—nothing happened. I told my wife, “I can’t even get a job when I tell them they don’t have to pay me.”
Making this long story short—the leadership did eventually give me the honor of leading this organization. After two years under SES, Ratio Christi was incorporated, on February 2, 2011, as an independent non-profit organization. We had our first Board of Director’s meeting on February 5th, and in the first 90 days we raised nearly $40,000 in donations and pledges and we nearly tripled the number of university chapters from 12 to well over 40. During these first 90 days, I have been watching the hand of God move on behalf of this organization. I believe God wants us to participate in this movement to show the world that Christianity is not only good, but it is true, and supported by compelling evidence. All of us at Ratio Christi desire to do our part in ushering in the “age of the apologist.” It is definitely the Lord who is “building the house.”
Please join us in this venture. You can help in many ways. Help us get a chapter started at a university. Donate some money toward our current $25,000 matching gift campaign. Pray that we are able to keep up with all the work that God is sending our way. Or, if you have other ideas on ways you can help, I want to hear it. Email me at Rick@RatioChristi.org.
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