By Tyler Howard
I’ve just wrapped up my first semester in the Center for Faith and Culture’s (CFC) mentorship program and I can say, without a doubt, I have thoroughly enjoyed my time. The knowledge I’ve gained and the friendships I’ve developed have made it a truly unforgettable experience.
I actually came across the mentorship by chance. I was a new student at Southeastern Seminary, trying my best to navigate my way around the school website, when I stumbled across the link to apply. I am so glad that I did.
Here are 4 reasons why you should participate in the CFC’s mentorship program:
1. Back porch meetings.
Twice a month, you will have the opportunity to hear from a scholar or expert in a particular field related to your discussion topic. They will walk you through the ins and outs of a particular issue and help you to think about difficult topics from a uniquely Christian perspective. I am sure that I can speak for the rest of the mentees when I say that these dialogues have been invaluable. And did I mention, we share a delicious meal together?
Christianity is a faith best exercised in community, and the CFC’s mentorship is an incredible avenue to do just that.
2. You connect with students who are passionate about apologetics and cultural engagement.
One of the things I have most enjoyed during my time as a mentee is getting the opportunity to connect with students who, like me, have a passion for apologetics and cultural engagement. Each participant in the CFC’s mentorship brings their unique background and perspective to bear in our discussions, and I have greatly benefitted from our times of fellowship. Christianity is a faith best exercised in community, and the CFC’s mentorship is an incredible avenue to do just that.
3. You will learn how to speak gospel truth into difficult conversations.
Have you ever found yourself stumped by difficult question about the faith? Yeah, me too. If I am being honest, there have been one too many times that I was not prepared to speak gospel truth into difficult conversations. But I can say, truly, that participating in this mentorship has given me the resources to speak more confidently from a Christian perspective on issues of faith and culture. And, should you choose to participate, you too will find yourself beginning to acquire the tools needed to speak into tough conversations with gospel clarity.
4. You get to go on some pretty incredible field trips.
It doesn’t matter how old you are; everyone loves a good field trip. And, if you decide to participate in the CFC mentorship, you will find yourself on some incredible outings. My favorite trip thus far has been our outing to the University of North Carolina’s planetarium to watch their “Carolina Skies” presentation. This presentation reminded me that our incredible universe stands as a testament to the beauty and creativity of our Maker. I can promise you: your trips will be fun and engaging, and they will help you to get a better understanding of the material discussed in the your back porch meetings.
As a child growing up in church, I often felt that difficult questions about the faith were downplayed. The reply was something to the effect of, “We aren’t meant to know everything. You just need to have more faith!” Now, don’t get me wrong: we certainly aren’t going to know everything this side of heaven, and faith is paramount in the Christian life. But these truths should never be an excuse to sidestep difficult conversations. We are called to love God with all our heart, soul and mind. Yet we often harp on the first two and neglect the last — an oversight which perpetuates the stereotype that Christians are anti intellectual and uninformed.* But ours is not a faith that requires us to check our brain at the door. We are to always be ready to provide a defense for our faith (1 Peter 3:15) and to speak into the difficult issues of our day with gospel clarity. The mentorship with the Center for Faith and Culture will prepare you to do just that.
Tyler Howard was a part of the Center for Faith and Culture’s mentorship program in 2019-2020. This year’s theme will be faith and the public square.
* See: Moreland, James Porter. Love Your God with All Your Mind: the Role of Reason in the Life of the Soul. Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2012.