Thinking Matters 2016 – The Year in Review
Hello everyone, the year just gone has been an amazing year for Thinking Matters up and down the country and God has blessed us abundantly. To remember all that has happened, here is a brief summary of 2016 for Thinking Matters.
Thinking Matters Team-talk – Auckland
We started the year with a Thinking Matters team building and strategy weekend where the team members from around the country each shared their perspective on the future of Thinking Matters in New Zealand. It was a real encouragement knowing that there are other people around the country all pulling in the same direction.
University Challenge – Auckland
Zachary Ardern, a PHD student from the University of Auckland delivered a Seminar on the 21st on being a Christian at University hosted by Reasons For Faith at Windsor Park Baptist, an apologetics ministry partner. The event was well attended by many young adults.
Are We Alone in the Universe? God and Planet Earth – Auckland
In March, Jeff Zweerink of Reasons To Believe delivered a talk on the subject of whether life only exists on planet earth. Jeff was stopping over in New Zealand on his way home after a series of conferences in Australia. He delivered two public talks, one at Windsor Park Baptist, and one at the University of Auckland, and also spoke on radio Rhema.
The Missional Church Conference – Auckland
We had a resource desk and briefly spoke at this conference organised by Multiple – a multi-denominational church planing network.
NZ Association for Christian Schools – Leadership Conference – Queenstown
Thinking Matters had a resource desk at this bi-annual gathering of principals and leaders from all the Christian schools in New Zealand. Rodney Lake was one of the keynote speakers where he spoke on the importance of apologetics in Christian Education.
The Power of a Question – Alan Shlemon speaking tour
Alan Shlemon, a speaker with Stand To Reason (www.str.org), kicked off his two-week New Zealand tour by speaking at Hamilton South Baptist Church on the 28th of April on how to have conversations about God without losing friends. He also delivered this talk at both Confident Christianity Conferences and also at various churches around NZ. During his 13 day whirl-wind tour of New Zealand, Alan spoke 42 times.
Confident Christianity Conference 2016 – Auckland and Christchurch
Building on a successful conference last year, the Confident Christianity Conference series 2016 was a resounding success with conferences in both Auckland from the 29th to the 30th and Christchurch from the 6th to the 7th of May. A free session on Friday was followed by an all-day series of sessions and workshops on Saturday with subjects as wide and varied as the History of Christianity in Victorian England to how to share the Gospel with Muslims. Alan Shlemon was the keynote speaker at these events.
Truth and Tolerance in a Whatever World workshop – By Alan Shlemon – Auckland, Tauranga, Christchurch
Alan led a workshop for Parents, Pastors, and Christian educators on how to prepare Christian children for an increasingly hostile culture. He addressed the importance of Apologetics, how to have meaningful conversations, the importance of Truth, and thoughts on how to address the subject of Homosexuality. He trained over 550 Christian teachers at these events.
Apologetics Workshop University of Waikato – Hamilton
Thinking Matters University of Waikato organized an all-day apologetics workshop on the 22nd of April for the students covering how to talk to Atheists, how to have God conversations, and the necessity of God for the existence of an objective Moral standard.
Debate: Morality Does Not Need God – Hamilton
In partnership with StudentLife, TSCF, and the University of Waikato chaplaincy, Thinking Matters organized a debate between Drs Ron Smith and Matthew Flannagan about God and Morality on the May 11th, moderated by Professor Frank Scrimgeour. The event was well attended, with over 150 people present and had lively audience participation.
Mining For Truth – Hamilton
During the Month of June, Thinking Matters Hamilton launched a Monthly Apologetics group which hosted several guest speakers and also worked through some Towards Belief episodes each month until the end of the year. They meet on the second Saturday of each month at the Lady Goodfellow Chapel at the University of Waikato from 6:30pm to 9:00pm. For more information on how to get involved, don’t hesitate to contact us.
Faith Bible College – Tauranga
Rodney Lake delivered an undergraduate “Introduction to Apologetics” course throughout a week at Faith Bible College.
Impact Youth Camp – Rotorua
Rodney gave several youth talks to a group of teenagers at a youth camp in Rotorua.
Unshaken Youth Conference – Tauranga
The second annual Youth Conference, Unshaken 2016 on August 12th, was a success, with a high number of high-schoolers and school leavers. Topics covered included Homosexuality, Abortion, Evolution, and the Exclusivity of Jesus.
Apologetics Workshop University of Waikato – Hamilton
Thinking Matters University of Waikato organized a workshop on August the 22nd for students covering topics like the New Age, and evidences for the existence of God.
Jesus the Game Changer TV screening on Shine TV
Beginning the second week in September, Thinking Matters in partnership with Olive Tree Media and Shine TV sponsored a weekly screening of the documentary series Jesus The Game Changer, produced by Olive Tree Media. This provided Thinking Matters with a unique opportunity to reach more people through television using the TV episode to point people to an online article discussing the video episode.
Science and Christianity – Friends or Foes? – Tauranga
Beginning September 11th and running till October 2nd, TM Tauranga in conjunction with St Enoch’s Presbyterian, organized a lectures series on Science and Christianity. Speakers were Professor Jeff Talon, Dr Shawn Means, and Professor George Seber presenting talks on Astrophysics, Evolution, and Mathematics.
Engage Evangelism Conference – Tauranga
Thinking Matters hosted the apologetics track and had a resource desk at this evangelism conference – where both Rodney Lake and John Norsworthly spoke.
Jesus the Game Changer Tour
In partnership with Olive Tree Media, Thinking Matters hosted Karl Fasse to tour NZ and promote his new Series Jesus the Game Changer. From the 6th to the 13th of November, Karl spoke in Auckland, Tauranga, Matamata, Christchurch, Rotorua, Taupo, Hamilton, Porirua, Palmerston, and Wellington.
Evangelical Philosophical Society – Annual Apologetics Conference – USA
Our own Rodney Lake and Dr Matthew Flanagan traveled to the US where they were guest speakers at the EPS Annual Apologetics Conference (Rodney) and the EPS Annual Meeting (Matthew) in San Antonio, Texas. The EPS Annual Meeting is one of the largest annual Christian philosophy conferences in the world – with over 200 speakers and roughly 5,000 in attendance.
2016 Closes and 2017 Begins
As you can see 2016 has been a groundbreaking year with public events happening almost every month. The future is looking even brighter with many more opportunities and events in the pipeline. We invite you to partner with us in prayer, and in addition, if you are moved to give, to assist us financially. Thinking Matters is a volunteer organization, but there are some things that require funding. Join with and stand along side us as we reach New Zealand with the good news of the gospel and encourage Christians to know what they believe and why. The world is changing in incredible ways with political, technological, economical, and social pressures all coming to bear on culture, providing us with a unique opportunity to proclaim the Gospel. Yet in the midst of all the change, remember, God is with us, the great I AM who does not change and who is Holy and perfectly good; we have confidence knowing that God knows and has declared the end from the beginning and will accomplish his purposes, Isaiah 46:8-11. Stand with us as we seek to spread the message of the gospel over this new year of 2017.
May God bless you and yours this year,