Our Story 

In October of 2020, with Jeremy R. Smith as a common denominator, a unique and diverse group of Christian pastors, professors, and professionals locked arms in an effort to help churches reach, train, and retain more young people. Soon after, ReThink315’s mission, vision, and values were written, bylaws were codified, and ReThink315 became an official 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Since then, we’ve partnered with 100’s of churches and institutions through services and programs including but not limited to student surveys, consulting and training, church and school events, summer camps, student retreats, and apologetics conferences.

What is ReThink315’s mission and vision? 

Our Mission:

To increase the number of Christians clearly and confidently sharing the gospel and to reduce the number of professing Christians, particularly our young people, leaving the church due to unanswered (or poorly answered) questions. 

Our Vision: 

We envision a world where more churches and individual believers are creating space for better conversations, offering better answers to difficult questions, and are engaging non-Christians and struggling Christians with gentleness and respect.

 What does ReThink315 mean?

As a group of Christian apologists, we are all committed to providing a defense, an answer, an explanation, and/or “a word back” to those with pressing questions and deep doubts. 1 Peter 3:15 reads, “…in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect…” At the same time, as much as we love everyone’s favorite apologetics “proof text”, we believe Christians should press pause and ReThink popular interpretations and applications of this verse.

What are we ReThinking?

To begin, it’s important to note that 1 Peter 3:15, in context, is more about suffering well under persecution than it is about modern philosophical arguments for God’s existence. While the apologist’s task is not less than offering good arguments for God’s existence, it’s so much more than that. We encourage Christians of all ages to ReThink Peter’s exhortation and to take seriously the importance of not just offering an apologia, but to offer it in a way that honors Christ the Lord as holy and is, above all else, gentle and respectful. Gentleness and respect, in our cultural moment, is doubly important. If our defense of Christianity is harsh and disrespectful, we may be engaged in apologetics, but it’s certainly not Christian apologetics. 

What is ReThink315’s ministry philosophy? 

We’re excited to see a growing interest in the study and application of Christian apologetics in Churches and Christian institutions, particularly in youth and young adult ministry. As it relates to apologetics specifically and evangelism generally we believe Peter’s call to offer a defense, an answer, an explanation, and/or a “word back” is as important now as it was in the first century. But, understanding and applying Peter’s words in this verse requires us to take seriously 1st Peter 3:15 in its entirety. 

Peter instructs believers of all ages to prepare themselves for the task of defending and explaining the faith as follows:

  • First, the believer is to “sanctify Christ as Lord” in their hearts, meaning, as the old Harvard mission statement put it, “to lay Christ in the bottom” as the only foundation for education and engagement.
  • Second, the believer is to be prepared with a verbal defense (apologia) to everyone who asks. We are to offer a word of explanation or rebuttal back to the objections leveled against the Christian faith.
  • Third, the believer must exhibit and maintain a gracious tone and attitude. While we must have something to say in reply or defense, we must say it with gentleness and respect.

If apologists and evangelists are to be prepared for and effectively engaged in conversations about Christianity, then each of these areas raised by Peter must mutually reinforce each other. Tragically, as too many examples testify, defending Christianity without a Christ centered foundation and without a gentle and respectful tone undermines our claims to possess the truth and cripples our evangelistic efforts.

But don’t take our word for it. Just ask the teens and twenty-somethings you know. They’ll tell you that contemporary objections to the Christian faith are numerous and a general distrust of the American church is now normative. While these trends impact all of us the toll it’s taking on our young people is especially concerning! 

How can you help us here at ReThink315?

1. Pray for us. Prayer is foundational to our health and our success. Email us at info@rethink315.com to join our prayer chain.

2. Consider a donation. As a donor supported ministry we rely on partners like you for funding.

3. Introduce us to your pastor, youth pastor, friends, and/or family. We offer services and programs for anyone and everyone interested in this critical mission.  

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