According to General Conference and North American Division statistics, more than half of our Adventist youth and young adults are leaving the church before their 35th birthday. Additionally, many of today’s millennial generation don’t value membership status in the church as much as previous generations. Some interpret this to mean that the church is at risk of losing young people to the world or losing the Adventist identity of those who remain as church members.
Apologetics, especially from an Adventist perspective, isn’t being utilized as it should be for the millennial generation. When properly executed, it carries evangelistic potential in addition to restoring and strengthening the faith of our young. Apologetics is the most needed and relevant response for the current challenges that young Adventist’s are facing.
About the Symposium
The symposium is presented by the Center for Adventist Ministry to Public University Students (CAMPUS) in Houston, TX at the annual GYC conference. CAMPUS is the birthplace of GYC and houses its headquarters. This symposium will be carried out in cooperation with GYC and the Center for Youth Evangelism located at the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary.
The symposium will begin a day prior to the GYC conference and will be integrated into one of GYC’s seminar tracks once the conference begins. Attendees will have the option of attending the symposium and GYC by registering separately for the two events.
The symposium will be structured into 2-hour slots composed of three parts:
- A timed, 25-30 minute presentation delivered TedTalk style, comprised of solid academic information within the speaker’s personal narrative. We request that speakers take time to view some of TedTalk’s top presentationsto get an idea of how to best deliver their own presentations. A fresh, creative delivery is as crucial as the content itself. Speakers for this symposium have been selected based on our confidence in their apologetics content and ability to deliver a creative presentation.
- Following each presentation the audience will engage with other attendees in table discussions. We are requesting speakers to submit 1-3 questions regarding their topic that will enhance the group discussion.
- At the conclusion of each table talk, we will have a panel discussion moderated by Andy Im. The panel will further discuss the presentation and will be primarily composed of other symposium speakers but may also include others.
The theme for the symposium is: Why Am I An Adventist?
Adventism is under attack. Modern science, theology, and cultural trends promote a worldview that is contrary to Adventist beliefs, ethics, and lifestyle. Our goal for the audience is to find a conclusion for the following: How have you, as a successful professional in your field, been able to maintain your strong Adventist identity? We are asking that each presentation be shared in such a manner that takes into consideration the speaker’s field of labor. In other words, the audience should get the feel that they’re listening to a discussion that speakers are sharing with their peers on why they are Adventists. The following is a suggestion on how to structure the narrative:
- Present the dilemma: How your field explicitly or implicitly challenges Adventism
- Create tension: Demonstrate the strength of the opposing arguments
- Provide resolution: Demonstrate why you have decided to remain an Adventist by providing a response to the dilemmas posed
Our ultimate goal is to hold these symposiums annually. For this initial conference, our aim is to:
- Evidence contemporary Adventist heroes who are faithfully serving the church in antagonistic environments
- Provide credible narratives of successful individuals who have succeeded in their profession and in their Adventist faith
- Provide digital and print resources through video recordings and by publishing the content of the presentations