There was a slight delay in posting the manifesto this year while laid some groundwork and worked to get in touch with some people who could give me some advice and direction. In terms of what the goals are, this manifesto is much the same as the last one, but you'll see some changes and additions in two of the sections -- the "B" and "E" section.
Our missions are encapsulated by an acronym, BRAVE. Here is briefly what the acronym stands for:
- Boot Camp Ministry
- Readers' Ministry
- Audio Ministry
- Video Ministry
- Educational Missions Ministry
Boot Camp Ministry
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. 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.
For more on how this will be supported, see the "E" section below.
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 a revamp of Shattering the Christ Myth, Volumes 4 and 5 in the inerrancy encyclopedia series (covering the Old Testament), and 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: 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 6 regular issues in 2017. The Tekton Ticker will continue to be used for 1) back E-Block postings over three years old; 2) 2) the fresh post now and then. I've also linked up with the Chistian CADRE where posts will be duplicated.
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 645 videos. Our team of helpers for various tasks like voice work and background art has remained steady, and our subscriber base is now over 3500 (it was just under 3000 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 740 videos on the TektonTV channel by this time next year.
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.)
Educational Missions Ministry
I first announced this one last year but it needed some time to develop. 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, 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. However, for 2018, we have fixed a commitment to visit one of their American satellite churches in Philadelphia. 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.
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. That said, having now determined the logistics of these projects, we find that the expense is much less than I anticipated last year. We also have no need at this time to announce any particular amount needed. Why?
As the B and E aspects of the mission develop, we will tie fundraising into specific mission trips. As each trip is planned, we'll announce for specific fundraising needs that will cover the need for everything from travel to personnel expense. All of this will be done through a non-profit partner ministry specifically oriented towards enabling such missions trips. The details are still in the offing, and we'll probably make our first specific announcement in the fall of 2017, and most likely for the visit to Philadelphia described above. If you want more details, write me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How You Can Help
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; Volume 2: Gospels and Acts; Volume 3: Wisdom and Prophets
- 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
- The Misinformation Maelstrom
- The Antichrist is Orange and Other End of the World Weirdness
- Intellitracts -- our evangelistic helps.
- Hitler's Christianity DVD (from The Apologetics Group)
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.
You can also support 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 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.