Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

November 11, 2013

Mailbox Club speaker tells about Christianity’s fight against skepticism

VALDOSTA — The Internet has created new challenges for faith, especially with youths of a much younger age, says a best-selling evangelical author scheduled to be the keynote speaker for the Mailbox Club’s annual Harvest Dreams dinner later this month.

Churches are having to battle skepticism at a “younger and younger age” each year, says Josh McDowell.

“Kids have more access to information at a much earlier age and it poses challenges to the Christian faith,” McDowell says. “There is a pervasive skepticism due to the Internet.”

Such skepticism used to arise when a youth went to college. McDowell’s ministry has emphasized maintaining and kindling college and university students’ Christian faith. He had become accustomed to seeing college students, even ones raised in Christian homes, struggle to maintain their faith in the face of being away from home for the first time, encountering new ideas, meeting people who are vocal unbelievers. Several of McDowell’s books and his ministry have worked to arm college students against skepticism, but they just keep getting younger.

“It used to be 18,” he says. “Now it’s 12 years old when we have to reach them.”

People peripherally familiar with McDowell’s half century of ministry, his travels to 115 countries, including the U.S., where it is estimated he has given 23,000 talks to more than 10 million young people, his dozens of books such as “More than a Carpenter” and “Don’t Check Your Brains at the Door,” may be surprised to learn that McDowell understands such skepticism because he was once such a skeptic.

In his youth, McDowell was a self-described agnostic who, according to his biographical information, “believed that Christianity was worthless. After being challenged to intellectually examine the claims of Christianity, Josh discovered compelling and overwhelming evidence for the reliability of the Christian faith. After believing in Jesus Christ, Josh’s life changed dramatically  as he experienced the power of God’s love.”

His discovery changed his career plans from work in the law to the seminary. But he honed an attorney’s skills in providing skeptics with evidence of God, Jesus and Christian faith. He began teaching young people ways they could not only maintain their faith but convincingly debate those who would challenge their faith in a manner that has proven successful in winning others to  Christianity.

Young people are often not taught how to defend their faith, McDowell says in a recent phone interview with The Times.

“Christians need tools for faith,” he says. “Too often, Christians do not have convictions. They have beliefs. Teens can tell you everything they believe but can they give you reasons why they believe it?”

In the past year, the Mailbox Club has been

developing Venture Clubs in churches here and across the nation. The first one started at Bemiss United Methodist Church in Lowndes County and the Mailbox Club has been developing chapters at churches across the nation ever since. The idea behind the Venture Clubs is to provide young people with evidence for their beliefs.

John-Mark Eager, whose parents founded the Mailbox Club, says Venture Clubs hope to create a new relationship with youths, in addition to the international organization’s mailed literature.

Based in Valdosta, the Mailbox Club annually sends printed Christian lessons in dozens of languages to millions of children in nations throughout the globe. The Harvest Dreams dinner raises money so the Mailbox Club can continue its ministry both near and far, from Bemiss United Methodist Church’s Venture Club to mailed literature to other countries.

McDowell expressed excitement as Eager explained the Venture Club’s mission. McDowell emphasized, too, that the most important job a parent has is discussing what children learn in programs such as the Venture Club.

“The smartest thing you can do as a parent is interact and discuss these things with your children,” McDowell says.

The Mailbox Club’s Harvest Dreams Dinner, featuring speaker Josh McDowell, is scheduled for 6:30-8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 19, James H. Rainwater Conference Center, 1 Meeting Place. Seats are still available. Reservations, more information: Contact the Mailbox Club, 404 Eager Road, Valdosta, Ga. 31602; or call (229) 244-6812; or visit www.mailboxclub.org.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Baytree Animal Hospital LB copy.JPG Animal hospital named Business of the Week

    Baytree Animal Hospital was named Leading Business of the Week by the  Valdosta-Lowndes Chamber of Commerce for July 14.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gavel-courtroom.jpg Water treatment plant discussed

    The Lowndes County Board of Commissioners discussed purchasing two pieces of equipment for the Alapaha Water Treatment Plant and the Spring Creek System for a total of $1,638,000 during its Monday work session and is expected to vote on the issue tonight.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • education.jpg Charter school petition denied

    Both the Valdosta City and Lowndes County school boards unanimously denied the joint charter petition from Scintilla Charter Academy during their respective meetings Monday evening.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • echols_alapapa.jpg WWALS gets grant from river network

    The Willacoochee, Withlacoochee, Alapaha, and Little River Systems Watershed Coalition, Inc. (WWALS) received a $500 Alapaha Water Trail Grant from the Georgia River Network

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140718-ARJim2.jpg Teacher at home anywhere in the world

    Variety is the spice of life. South Georgia is home to a diverse group of people, each with a unique life story. One man with glorious tales of travel and selfless volunteer work is Jim Kokoruda.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • fire2a.jpg Blaze damages North Lowndes home

    Lowndes County Fire Rescue responded to a fire call Sunday at 3756 Cross Creek Circle near Bemiss Road.

    July 20, 2014 2 Photos

  • 140719-KidsInc3 copy.jpg Kids get a taste of retail operations

    Valdosta Mall shoppers may have noticed a few additional shopping options Saturday as they walked through center court.
    Children ranging in age from 6 to 15 years old set up booths and sold products to consumers.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140719-UnseenProject7 copy.jpg CrossPointe welcomes ‘Unseen’ travelers home

    CrossPointe Church members gathered Saturday to greet their pastor and fellow congregationalists returning from a filmed two-month-long motorcycle trip across the nation and back.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • election.jpg Runoff set for Tuesday

    Advanced voting ended Friday for the runoff election from the May 20 primary.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Modern Woodmen RC copy.JPG Woodmen welcomed to Valdosta

    The The Valdosta-Lowndes Chamber of Commerce and its Ambassadors welcomed the Valdosta chapter of Modern Woodmen Fraternal Financial with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Tuesday, July 15.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

Top News
Poll

School starts again in about two weeks. What do you think?

It's still summer. School starts too soon.
Seems like the right time to return.
Abolish summer recess. Make school year-round.
     View Results