Printed from http://tektonics.org/2pt3.php
This year's manifesto is an announcement of a major change in Tekton's mission. We will be continuing with most of our usual projects, but will be adding some new ones...and this will also mean a new level of support is required, though not as much as you might think.
Our 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, one I've mentioned on the site before; but when I last did so, we didn't have the means, timewise, to get it off the ground. My local ministry partner, Carey Roesel, came up with this idea, but because he had four boys of his own in the house, he didn't have the time he needed to help me work up this program, and because I needed his subject expertise, I couldn't do the whole thing myself. Now that two of Carey's boys are in college, he's free to take the needed hand.
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. We have designed a "mascot" for the program: A cartoon soldier bearing the mark of the cross.
The design of this program will be 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 add an extra need for 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.
Since we'll be starting by doing this program locally (Central Florida), the 2016 expense will be relatively low, but it will grow as time goes on and the program gets more interest.
This is one of our "old" missions -- the production of e-books. I've committed to doing the research and writing needed to produce one of these about every two months.
The next books ahead include Volumes 3 and 4 in the inerrancy encyclopedia series (covering the Old Testament), and an e-book on "Jesus Only" teachers who think Paul is a false teacher. I'd also like to put together more depth material on claims that Jesus didn't exist, as a way to update Shattering the Christ Myth. Also expect an e-book on Jonathan Cahn's "Harbinger" theories, and a book on Calvinism.
Under this category we'll also include all of our other writing activities: The E-Block ezine, the Ticker blog, and freelance assignments I get from places like the Christian Research Journal.
The E-Block will have at least 8 regular issues in 2016. The Tekton Ticker will continue to be used for 1) back E-Block postings over three years old; 2) book reviews; 3) the fresh post now and then.
The only expense for this writing is the same as it has always been -- the time needed to do it.
This mission is a fairly simple one: We'll be converting 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.
This is also one of our returning missions. As of now, Tekton's YouTube channel, TektonTV, has 561 videos. Our team of helpers for various tasks like voice work and background art has also continued to grow, and our subscriber base is now just short of 3000 (it was at 2375 last year).
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. My goal now is to have at least 650 videos on the TektonTV channel by this time next year -- if not many more.
The good news again -- no extra cost to Tekton, other than for art supplies so I can do my animation. (As a bonus, these videos can be used as teaching tools in the Youth Boot Camp.)
This is our other new focus, and it is a big one. 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. In partnership with Walking with the Prophets, an Orlando-based tour provider, Tekton will lead educational trips to Israel with an orientation towards bringing the Biblical world to life with targeted discipleship and apologetics teachings relevant to the venues being visited. This won't add any cost for the ministry in terms of things like travel -- Walking with the Prophets allows my way to be paid in full if a given number of people are on the tour.
The second avenue is a foreign mission, directed towards Christians living on the mission field. In partnership with other organizations, Tekton 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. More partnerships will be sought to further this mission, and we'll pursue them with groups like Campus Crusade, local churches, and missions organizations.
It is this second aspect of the missions ministry that will also add to expenses for Tekton. Like any missionaries, with organizations like Campus Crusade, it will mean travel expenses and basic support which must be raised by Tekton, from supporters. We'll start small on this, but a major goal is to serve our brothers and sisters in Indonesia sometime in 2017, for what will probably be a month-long stint.
What's this going to take in terms of time and money? Of course, the B and E aspects of the plan are the ones that will flex out according to receipts. But as noted, we'll be starting slow. For 2016-7, Tekton is establishing a minimum annual support amount of $27,000 in order to meet the above ministry goals.
The ministry itself has a few basic expenses anually: Fees for state and local authorities as a registered non-profit ($220), Internet access ($420), supplies and postage and server space for the website ($500). The rest would be balanced between "personnel" expense (to give me time to do this work) and promotion and/or travel for the B and E missions.
This past year (2015) saw a major crisis in our household which presented us with a real danger to Tekton's livelihood. My wife lost her job at the end of June, and for a few weeks, Tekton was our main means of support. Because we're such thrifty people, we weren't in any immediate danger, and the fact that I had other work that provided minor support meant that it would have been a few months before things became strained and the ministry would be in trouble. Nevertheless, the situation did make it quite obvious that Tekton's very existence hangs on the support of readers and helpers like you. It must either grow, or die.
We also still have an open line item for our guest writer, Nick Peters, currently a college student, who continues work on his own fledgling ministry. We’re leaving an open line item in our budget for anyone who wants to contribute to his efforts. Right now any support will go towards any joint projects he’ll work with us on. (For example, he and his wife have done voice work for some of our films.)
I realize we still have a hard economy going right now; but we have an ever harder spiritual crisis on our hands, and as my friend Carey likes to say, Tekton gives more "bang for the buck" than any comparable ministry. That said, I have made it very easy to support Tekton even in this hard economy (and it is all tax-deductible).
The most basic way to help: subscriptions and direct donations. You'll get a free sub to the E-Block for this, too. (Note: If your gift is designated for Nick Peters, please indicate this in a message box for PayPal which appears at the bottom of the final page.)
Subscribe to the E-Block: A mere $8 per year will go a long way here without a strain on your pocketbook. And they'll add up quickly in fulfillment of our modest goal.
Purchase materials: The sale of these books and materials helps keep us 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
- Affirming Jesus' Resurrection: Breaking the Black Box -- a response to Komarnitsky's Doubting Jesus' Resurrection
- Easter is Pagan and Other Fables
- Blood Moons Lunacy
- Christian Answers to This Generation's Questions
- The Inside Guide to Becoming a Christian Apologist
- Rendered by Caesar: A Christian Analysis of the Supreme Court's Same-Sex Marriage Decision
- Scripture and Slavery
- The Contextual Encyclopedia of Biblical Inerrancy, Volume 1: New Testament Epistles
- 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)
I should note for the record that Amazon Books and Xulon Press will not pay royalties directly to the ministry because of the way the tax system works. I have asked them to do so, but they say it cannot be done that way. So effectively, I am only able to accept payments from them as royalties paid to me personally, and they report it to the IRS as income to me, and so I pay taxes on those royalties. However, your purchase will still help the ministry's efforts because it means I can draw less on the ministry's resources.
And of course, Tekton also gets commissions when you buy books listed in our bibliographies. You can always help out by buying books from Tekton through Amazon, and we have the whole site available on CD for a modest donation.
You can also donate to Tekton by buying through Amazon Books and their "Smile" program.
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 gradually 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.