Every day, we’re hearing more and more stories of deconstruction and people publicly leaving the Christian faith. How can we navigate this issue as Christian leaders, and what are some keys to support people who are doubting?

Deconstruction, Apologetics, and Discipleship with Alisa Childers

 

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In this conversation of the Discipleship Series, Holly and I dive into these topics and more with Alisa Childers. Alisa shares her own story of deconstruction and how that led her into the world of apologetics. We also discuss the connection between deconstruction and discipleship, as well as the value of studying church history.

 

In addition, Alisa shares her insights on how we can support others who may be struggling with doubt, and even what to do if we are doubting ourselves. Finally, we chat with Alisa about her tips for handling criticism and disagreement in the online world.

 

Key Points Discussed:

  • Alisa’s leadership journey [4:18]
    • How Alisa got into apologetics
    • How to get the message out without promoting yourself
    • When ZOEgirl ended
  • What is deconstruction? [15:00]
    • Defining deconstruction
    • Alisa’s story of deconstruction
  • How we reconcile someone’s faith when they deconstruct & why we’re hearing more about it [22:11]
    • Interconnectedness of the internet 
    • Evangelistic tendency of Christians
    • A desire to be authentic at all costs
    • Doubt has become a virtue
  • How leaders can support those doubting or deconstructing [32:24]
    • Give people a safe place to process doubt
    • Be aware of whether someone is actually looking for answers or not
  • How deconstruction is linked to discipleship [35:45]
    • We have not done discipleship well
    • If we could get better at discipleship, we could see a change in the amount of people who are deconstructing
    • Churches need to get smaller or ‘smaller-minded’ 
  •   Apologetics & discipleship [39:50]
    • Apologetics is a key part of discipleship because it helps people who may have doubts and questions
    • Why we have moved away from intellectual faith
  • How Studying Church history is vital to discipleship [45:56]
    • Learn to identify historic Christianity by studying church history
    • We can determine what the essentials of the faith are by looking at church history
  • How to struggle well with our faith as leaders [51:15]
    • Don’t bring those you follow into processing your doubts
    • Go to other trusted leaders, to someone you are being discipled by
    • Be willing to be submissive
    • Be honest about your doubts 
  • How to respond to disagreement and criticism with grace and love [55]
    • When you speak the truth, you are going to receive radically different responses
    • Practical strategies
      • close computer for 2 hours
      • look for people who are glorifying God through what you say
      • use the phrase “Hi, [name]”
      • see people as Jesus sees them
  • Leaders are Learners

Key Quotes from the Episode:

“I always thought music was my ‘big calling’… but I’m more satisfied now than I ever was in music.”

“All of us are leaders in some aspect of our lives… and we need to take that seriously.”

“Leadership is modeling the right way to respond to things.” 

“Deconstruction is the process of going through everything you’ve ever believed about God and Jesus—the Bible, Christianity, all of the doctrines, all of the history—everything you thought about it, and you’re sort of rethinking everything.”

“We have this culture where doubt becomes a virtue, a badge of honor.”

“We need to own the fact as an evangelical church, or even the broader church, that we have not done discipleship well.” 

“All apologetics is, is giving a reason for what you believe.”

“Everybody who does discipleship should at least be familiar with basic arguments for the existence of God and Biblical reliability. They need to know how the canon was formed—why the books we have in the Bible are there.”

“We’re doing spiritual warfare in the realm of ideas, and have to realize that people are going to hate that.”

 

Links and Resources Mentioned:

 

Connect with Alisa Childers:

 

Alisa Childers is a wife, a mom, an author, a blogger, a speaker, and a worship leader. She was a member of the award-winning CCM recording group ZOEgirl. She is a popular speaker at apologetics and Christian worldview conferences, including reThink. She has been published at The Gospel Coalition, Crosswalk, the Stream, For Every Mom, Decision magazine, and The Christian Post. 

 

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In today’s bonus episode of the podcast, you can hear:

  • Alisa’s definition of leadership
  • Tool or resource that has helped her to embrace her gifts
  • Alisa’s habit and routine to stay healthy
  • Alisa’s advice for a woman who wants to grow in leadership

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