What is The Forge

The Forge is a monthly Thinking Matters gathering held in Tauranga (Bethlehem Community Church) which seeks to deepen people’s understanding and awareness of various Christian issues and culturally relevant topics discussed from a biblical worldview.

Every month, we invite a guest speaker to present on a given topic with periodic breaks in their talk to encourage discussion both with the speaker and those around you.  The point of this is to allow you to soak up the information you just heard, process it with your neighbors, and perhaps even challenge others with a different point of view.

A forge is a place where a blacksmith “makes or shapes an object by heating it in a fire or furnace and hammers it to create something strong, enduring and successful”.  This definition is what our vision was built on. Our desire is for these interactive events to be a place where messy and difficult topics can be cleaned up, re-shaped, and smoothed out to help uncover God’s beautiful designs in this crazy world.

Also, check out Reasons for Faith | Hamilton CLICK HERE


The Faith of Science

Are faith & science truly incompatible?

Presented by Matthew Price

The Forge Tauranga team welcomes you to our second session for 2021.

This month Matthew Price of Mining for Truth Hamilton, will share his talk: The Faith of Science

Many people today believe that science and religion are incompatible; that both do not and should not mix. Yet is that a reasonable position to hold? In this talk, mathematician and geneticist Matthew Price will show how both the history and philosophy of science deliver a very different conclusion – that Christian faith is not only thoroughly compatible with science, but is necessary for science!

We are looking forward to seeing you there!

For enquiries or to show your interest in joining The Forge Tauranga volunteer team please contact: michelle@thinkingmatters.org.nz.


When: Wednesday 24th March 2021
Time: 6.30pm
Where: Bethlehem Community Church | 183 Moffat Road, Bethlehem | Tauranga
Cost: FREE – a Koha for the speaker will be appreciated
What: Two part presentation with Q & A and discussion

About Matthew Price

Matthew Price helps run one of The Forge’s sister groups in Hamilton. Having been raised in a Christian environment, and having studied science here and abroad, he has a keen interest in the interaction of faith and science, and more fundamentally, in the philosophies upon which they rest. He is passionate about dialoguing with and helping others understand the rich and robust heritage we have as believers in Christ.



The best reasons why theism is more intellectually honest & tenable than atheism.

Presented by Todd Funk

The Forge Tauranga team welcomes you all to our first session for 2021. We jumped at the chance to have Todd Funk speak for us this month while he is in Tauranga. Todd is a dynamic speaker who presents clearly into what can be confusing apologetics topics.

This month Todd will share his talk: U.R.W.I.S.E.

This teaching based on Todd’s own acrostic gives the top 6 best reasons as to why theism is more intellectually honest and tenable than atheism. A great tool to have when someone asks “can you prove that God exists?”

U- The universe…that it exists and is highly ordered with laws etc.
R- Reason…that humans have the ability to think rationally
W- Wrong and right…that there is a universal moral code
I-Information…specifically that found in DNA
S- Science…not in opposition to theism but rather having its foundation on it.
E- Evil…can actually “prove” theism

We are looking forward to seeing you!

Enquiries: michelle@thinkingmatters.org.nz.


When: Wednesday 10th February 2020
Time: 7.00pm – 9.00pm
Where: Bethlehem Community Church | 183 Moffat Road, Bethlehem | Tauranga
Cost: FREE – a Koha will be taken
What: Presentation with Q & A and discussion

Enquiries: michelle@thinkingmatters.org.nz

About Todd Funk

In 2004, Todd, along with his wife Donna of 26 years and their two children, Alixx and Nikki, lay down the safety and security of their teaching careers and immigrated to New Zealand from the United States. In response to his obedience to fulfill God’s ministry call on his life, God has opened doors of opportunity for teaching, preaching, and training throughout the USA, New Zealand, Ukraine, Australia, the Pacific Islands, and beyond.

Todd‘s messages, teaching, and ministry have powerfully impacted people of all ages on several continents. He has spoken for Thinking Matters at our Confident Christianity conferences and Unshaken Youth & Young Adult Conference and has been involved in men’s ministries and accountability groups for over 15 years. Todd is also the Director of Speaker Development for Thinking Matters.

The Bible & Social Justice Today | A Critical View

Presented by Dr. Shawn Means

This talk has two parts. We will have a coffee & cake break between part one and part two.

Part One: The Rising Tide of Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity

Part Two: Fighting Oppression or Just Another Distraction from Jesus?

In these talks, Shawn expands on the presentation he gave at Faith & Culture Tauranga adding further research and going deeper into the ideologies taking prominence in western culture today, such as social justice, identity politics, and critical theory. In his second talk, Shawn will bring the Biblical perspective to these ideologies.

Shawn is a lively, engaging speaker who intelligently cuts to the heart and seriousness of the issues he presents. 

Please join us for another thought-provoking evening.


When: Wednesday 9th December 2020
Time: 6.30pm – 9.00pm
Where: Bethlehem Community Church | 183 Moffat Road, Bethlehem | Tauranga
Cost: FREE – a Koha will be taken
What: Presentation with Q & A and discussion

About Dr. Shawn Means

Shawn is a mathematician who uses maths to help biologists figure out biological problems — ranging from signals for muscles to contract, to livers surviving viruses and neurons networking together. He loves to teach on diverse issues from a Christian perspective such as politics in science and how mathematics itself reflects a great mathematical Creator.

Dead or Alive | Is there evidence to show that Jesus rose from the dead?

Presented by Tim Conder

In this talk, Tim will explore the evidence for and against the resurrection of Jesus through a historical lens. Beginning with the original accounts of Jesus’ resurrection and the empty tomb, we will explore the different possible explanations for the evidence and which hypothesis best fits what has come down to us and whether the evidence is sufficient to justify believing in a miraculous account.

Please join us for this thought-provoking evening.


When: Wednesday 25th November (our apologies, the date shown in our first mailout is incorrect)
Time: 7.00 pm – 9.00 pm
Where: Bethlehem Community Church | 183 Moffat Road, Bethlehem | Tauranga
Cost: FREE – a Koha will be taken
What: Presentation with Q & A and discussion

About Tim Conder

Tim Conder is a trial lawyer who also has a background in biblical languages. He has professional experience in assembling, analysing and presenting evidence in Court, which are skills he is able to bring to bear in evaluating the texts of the New Testament and other literature from that period

The Case for the Resurrection | How Can We Know Jesus Rose from the Dead?

Presented by Michelle Englehardt

The Resurrection of Jesus is pivotal to our Christian faith. Without the Resurrection, Christianity immediately loses its foundation and meaning.  Yet, how many of us can defend the Resurrection as a true event well-grounded in human history?  When the world tells us that to believe in the Resurrection of Jesus is to foolishly believe in myths and fairy-tales, can we respond with clarity and truth? Yes, we can. Join Michelle as she looks at the compelling evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.


When: 15 May 2019
Time: 7.00 pm – 9.00 pm
Where: Bethlehem Community Church | 183 Moffat Road, Bethlehem | Tauranga
Cost: FREE – a Koha will be taken
What: Presentation with Q & A and discussion

About Michelle Englehardt

Having completed the RZIM Academy Core Module in 2018, Michelle is currently studying towards a Certificate in Apologetics through Biola University as a potential Masters student. Michelle believes passionately that apologetics training is vital for Christian evangelism in today’s culture. Working full time as a Community Programmes Specialist, Michelle lives in Tauranga with her youngest daughter, Eden and writes when she can for the Thinking Matters Blog

The Scientific Evidence for the Existence of God

Presented by Rodney Lake | National Director | Thinking Matters

Everything that begins to exist has a cause – including the universe itself.  Is there any scientific or philosophical evidence for a creator as a cause of the Big Bang?  In this presentation we examine the nature of the Big Bang and look at the evidence a divine supernatural cause was at work.  We’ll also examine how the original purpose of science as a way of understanding the natural world around us has become distorted, resulting in biased outcomes in scientific inquiry that unnecessarily exclude the possibility of God.


When: 17 April 2019
Time: 7.30 pm – 9.00 pm
Where: Bethlehem Community Church | 183 Moffat Road, Bethlehem | Tauranga
Cost: FREE – a Koha will be taken
What: Presentation with Q & A and discussion

About Rodney Lake

Rodney LakeRodney Lake is the National Director of Thinking Matters NZ Foundation, a national Christian apologetics ministry that encourages Christians to know the reasons why we believe what we believe. Rodney speaks at churches, youth groups, conferences and to non-believers at outreach events around the country on the reasons why Christianity is true. He teaches staff, parents and youth at various Christian schools, and is an adjunct apologetics lecturer at Faith Bible College and Bethlehem Tertiary Institute. He teaches regular ‘Introduction to Christianity’ courses to parents at Bethlehem College and serves on the board of Bethlehem College Limited.

He is passionate about seeing people loving and seeking God with all of their mind, developing a resilient faith that is supported with solid reasons to believe, while confidently and graciously sharing that faith with others. See More About Rodney >


WHEN: Wednesday nights, please check event for dates. 

TIME: 6.30 pm – 8.30 pm – subject to change 

WHERE: Bethlehem Community Church, 183 Moffat Road, Bethlehem, Tauranga 3110

COST: Free – but a Koha for the speaker is appreciated

RSVP: None needed – just turn up and bring a friend or two!


Michelle Englehardt

EMAIL: michelle@thinkingmatters.org.nz

Thinking Matters Calendar

View the Thinking Matters Events Calendar

Please ensure you are signed up to our email list here (with Tauranga ticked) to be notified of these events as they come up.

Also please contact us here if you want to help us run these events on the night.