photo by jim veneman
The TruthQuest team visited Adelphia Coliseum, home of the NFLs
Tennessee Titans, before heading off on their big adventure. Pictured: front
row, (l-r), Shanna Hawkins, Tim Harms and Josh Merritt; middle row, (l-r), Cara
Yates, Richard Sparkman, Sarah Brown and Janie Jo Allen; back row, (l-r), David
Hicks, Katie Royals, Andy Botts, Freeman Field and Chip Luter. Visit www.truthquest.sbc.net or
BY MEREDITH DAY AND ROZ SINGER
Tim Harms is a member of the postmodern generation. The 14-year-old from
Franklin, Tennessee, qualifies simply because of his age. But he is different
from many of his postmodern peers. While the majority believes there is no
absolute truth, Tim has found truth in a relationship with Christ and is
seeking to share Him with our postmodern culture. But his ministry has a twist:
hes surfing, rock climbing and witnessing at a coffeehouse, among other
In July, Harms joined 11 other postmodern Christian teens in TruthQuest:
California, a two week journey through various unconventional ministries in
California. The teens, which represent eight states and nine Southern Baptist
churches, traveled in a bus while their days were caught on tape by the crew
that accompanied them. Beginning in October, FamilyNet Television will air the
journey in 13 half-hour installments.
But Tim Harms is not concerned with ratings or fame.
Im not going into it as a TV show. I see it as an effective ministry.
The ministry is what sets Truth Quest apart from its reality TV
counterparts. Todd Starnes, assistant editor of Baptist Press, developed the
idea for TruthQuest after watching the MTV reality series, Road Rules.
I noticed they were using faith concepts, talking about trust and team work,
and I thought, Wouldnt it be cool if we could do a show like this from a
Christian perspective? Todd says.
The journey, co-sponsored by Lifeway Christian Resources and World Changers,
a ministry of the North American Mission Board, gives viewers a chance to see
what happens when truth meets culture. The TruthQuesters have two audiences:
those with whom they share the gospel and those of us at home, watching and
learning from their experiences sharing with a postmodern world.
How did they share?Richard Sparkman believes
effective evangelism begins with a gentle approach and a relationship.
People dont respond well to being yelled at. You have to treat them like
theyre your friend, says Richard, a 14-year-old TruthQuester and Tim Harms
classmate. Richard accepted Christ two years ago after Harms invited him to a
Billy Graham Crusade in their hometown. Now, they are sharing the gospel
together through TruthQuest and agree that postmoderns are best reached with a
natural, relational evangelistic approach.
Although the TruthQuesters were limited by the time restraints of their
trip, they showed their willingness to form relationships by stepping out of
their comfort zones to meet people where they are, whether it be passing out
water and gift bags to hikers and employees at Yosemite National Park or
helping at a coffeehouse run by the Page Street Baptist Community Center in San
Along with a relational approach, postmoderns are looking for authenticity.
Chip Luter, an 18-year-old TruthQuester from New Orleans, says a Christians
lifestyle is the most important witnessing tool. When people notice a real
difference in a Christians words and actions, they begin to wonder what causes
Tim Harms says an effective, authentic ministry involves showing Gods love
in practical ways. Our culture is totally based around pleasing ourselves. When
a lost person sees me doing the complete opposite of that, it raises questions
in their mind, which gives me a perfect opportunity to freely share my faith,
As a result of this kind of ministry, people gave their lives to Christ when
the TruthQuesters passed out cold water to vacationers surfing and
rollerblading on San Diegos beaches and boardwalks. As the teens ministered by
passing out free refreshments, they were able to answer the question, Why are
you doing this? with an explanation of Christs love.
What can we learn by watching?TruthQuest gives
Christians the advantage of watching effective postmodern evangelism take place
right in front of us. Through viewing the TruthQuesters experiences, we can
learn effective ways to be on mission to postmoderns. But the TruthQuest teens
are more than just guinea pigs sent to measure what works and what doesnt. They
are examples of postmodern Christians seeking to relationally and authentically
share the Absolute Truth they know. Some things we can learn from them:
Relational and authentic ministry is often personality-driven. Sharing the
gospel with postmoderns can involve shared interests.
Remember that you are different. Postmoderns are looking for a difference
that is real and meaningful in a Christians life.
Be prepared for polite rejections. Postmoderns have heard it all when it
comes to spirituality and have often made up their minds before you start
talking about Christ. But they are continually searching for truth, and the
seed you plant may grow into a personal relationship with the Truth.
Meredith Day and Roz Singer are editorial interns for NAMB.
A Southern Baptist Convention entity supported by the Cooperative Program and theAnnie Armstrong Easter Offering® ©Copyright 2013 North American Mission Board, SBC