I use the acronym BRAVE to reflect the various missions I will be involved in. In the list below, sections B and E will be supported by tax-deductible donations to third-party ministries which will be selected according to the need being served. I do not have my own 501(c)(3) at this time. The remainder (R, A, V) are formally personal pursuits, but are still part of the broader plan of personal ministry I pursue.
To support the B and E missions with a tax-deductible donation, please contact me at email@example.com.
To support the V mission, you can become a patron through Patreon.
To support the R and A missions, you can purchase items found linked below.
My missions are encapsulated by an acronym, BRAVE. Here is briefly what the acronym stands for:
Is this a military ministry? No, it's a ministry to youth. My local ministry partner, Carey Roesel, came up with this idea.
A growing trend exists for the enemies of Christianity to "evangelize" for their unbelief - and they are harvesting souls at an alarming rate. Unfortunately, Christian youth are particularly vulnerable, and they are chief targets of our spiritual foes.
To address this problem, Carey and I have put together a program called the Apologetics Boot Camp for Youth.
The design of this program is explained in a brochure for pastors as follows:
"With the Apologetics Boot Camp, we work with you as a pastor to design a program that meets your unique needs. We can meet in homes, in a church, or even in a public, outdoor venue like a camp. The number and schedule of meetings is ultimately up to you, but we will work with you to customize an experience that will be of the greatest help to you and to your youth."
In practical terms, this means I'll teach on one or more of my subjects of expertise (the Resurrection, the reliability of the Bible, etc.) while Carey will teach on one or more of his (his speciality is intelligent design, as well as modern culture). We can also add in other guest experts as needed or available.
A few years back we did some successful preliminary field tests with this program. An especially popular component was an "around the room" Q and A session, in which every youth was encouraged to ask their toughest question.
This is one of the programs that will need support, because it will be out intention to offer this program to youth pastors at minimum or no cost. That means we'd have to pay for any materials or travel expenses. We'll also need to create promotional materials (brochures) to send out in order to publicize the program.
For more on how this will be supported, see the "E" section below.
This is the production of e-books. I've committed to doing the research and writing needed to produce one of these about every year or so. I used to be able to do more, but my local libraries are no longer helpful when it comes to making use of their resources or with interlibrary loan.
The next books ahead include revamps of portions of Defending the Resurrection. I'd also like to look at doing an e-book on "Jesus Only" teachers who think Paul is a false teacher.
Under this category we'll also include all of our other writing activities like freelance assignments I get from places like the Christian Research Journal.
The only expense for this writing is the same as it has always been -- the time needed to do it.
We'll be converting some of our e-books into audio versions, via Amazon's ACX program. This is an essential for the average Christian who is constantly "on the go" and who can only do their reading by popping a CD into a player in their car, and listening while driving to work.
Here again, time is the only resource we need for this project category, and even then, much of the work will be done by readers who are hired via ACX for a share of the sales. I'll try to get at least one of these done a year; but I'll also only convert an ebook to audio if there seems to be a demand for it.
This is also one of our returning missions. As of now, my YouTube channel, TektonTV, has over 920 videos. Our team of helpers for various tasks like voice work and background art has remained steady, and our subscriber base is now over 4500.
YouTube is a creative wasteland that is currently dominated, in this subject area, by people who are virulent fundamentalist atheists. There are very few rational Christians there; the most popular Christians there hold to some very peculiar ideas (like 9/11 conspiracy theories). This is a place we need to stake a firm claim to, as it will undoubtedly continue to grow in popularity.
As a bonus, these videos can be used as teaching tools in the Youth Boot Camp.
The cultivation of Christians requires, first, evangelism. It requires, second, discipleship. We are often excited about the first, but the second is sometimes laid by the wayside. This is shown by way of a mind-blowing question: How can people believe in the Word of God when their knowledge of what it says is so limited?
To enact our mission of discipleship, we've devised two avenues of mission ministry, both with the cooperation of partner organizations.
The first avenue is a home mission, directed towards Christians living here in America. The second avenue is a foreign mission, directed towards Christians living on the mission field. In partnership with other organizations, we will provide discipleship to Christians living in areas where Christianity is still a growing faith. We already have a partnership with an organization headquartered in Indonesia, for whom we have agreed to provide discipleship training at their college in Indonesia. However, we also have fixed a commitment to visit their American satellite churches. More partnerships will be sought to further this mission, and we'll eventually pursue them with groups like Campus Crusade, local churches, and missions organizations.
It is this second aspect of the missions ministry that requires support. Like any missionaries, with organizations like Campus Crusade, it will mean travel expenses and basic support which must be raised from supporters.
What's this going to take in terms of time and money? The B and E aspects of my mission will be developed each year, and I will tie fundraising into specific mission trips. As each set of trips is planned, we'll announce for specific fundraising needs that will cover the need for everything from travel to personnal expense. To meet the goals each year, I will set up a special fundraisers at the blog linked above. (Note: These missions are on hold until the pandemic is over.)
In contrast, the R, A and V missions are now supported independently. The sale of these books and materials helps keep them going:
- The Impossible Faith
- Shattering the Christ Myth
- Trusting the New Testament
- The Mormon Defenders -- I took this off Amazon now since they charge too much to keep it on. From now on they are ordered from Tekton directly.
- Defending the Resurrection
- What in Hell is Going On?
- The Atonement Contextualized
- The Direct Application New Testament
- Hitler's Christianity
- Know Your Enemy: Annotated and Corrected -- a response to a "conspiracy theory" project. Also available in a form that is not a direct response, as Jesus Was a Mushroom and Other Lies You Won't Believe.
- Christmas is Pagan and Other Myths
- Easter is Pagan and Other Fables
- Blood Moons Lunacy
- Christian Answers to This Generation's Questions
- The Inside Guide to Becoming a Christian Apologist
- Scripture and Slavery
- Blood Liable? The New Testament, Anti-Semitism, and the Death of Jesus
- Groundless: The Intellectual Shortcomings of Dan Barker's Freedom from Religion Foundation
- The Trinity Made Simple
- Intellitracts-- our evangelistic helps.
- Hitler's Christianity DVD (from The Apologetics Group)
So it is that there's now a ball in your court in terms of deciding how much time I can spend on defense of the faith. As I have said before, despite what some Skeptics say. If I wanted money, I'd go back to being a professional librarian, where I'd make 2-3 times as much. Or I'd take one of a dozen or more jobs I'm qualified to take. I stay in ministry because I want and love to do it, because I see a need and because it is my calling. But I'll be plain: I can't keep the lights on without power, and I will have to turn those lights out to survive unless the support goals are met.
When I worked for one public library, and their budget was cut, my boss put it this way: "We'll just have to cut hours and services." The same principle applies here.