Apologetics As Worship by Joey Ooi

My Bible never felt heavier than the time I held it under one arm with my Apol box, checking my name off the door posting for the first time. I begged as many competitors to go into my room before me, delaying what I thought was the inevitable fate for being called out for a lack of content, lack of understanding, and a shipload of heresy.

Along with Impromptu, I was forced into Apologetics. Impromptu wasn’t hard for me – no wrong answers meant no fear about topics. But Apologetics- I didn’t like Apol. at all. Specifically, I didn’t like feeling inadequate. No matter how much I prepared because I always knew that there was something I was missing. Above all, I was terrified that I would say something wrong about Scripture and God.

My first year in Apol went by. I did okay. I only had one topic that I had absolutely no clue what to say about. I slowly became less scared as I prepared for the topics, but I’d still pray not to draw certain topics and I’d pray that the judges would be gracious to look past my stumbling over Scripture I wasn’t necessarily familiar with. My mother had encouraged me to work from Mr. Chap Bettis’ Fearless Apologetics, and while it helped, it felt too simple. I was relieved when the Apol season ended for me at Regionals, and I smilingly put away my box. I’d survived fifteen rounds of Apol and I was done.


Sometime over summer, God graciously reminded me of how little I knew about the living Scripture on my desk. Sure, I read the Bible every morning, and sure, my journal was messy with my chicken-scratch handwriting, but I realized that merely reading Scripture was different from loving Scripture. In my Apol, I didn’t love Scripture as the word of God. I did Apol for competition, and that was why I felt so inadequate.

There it was. Inadequacy. The root of my fear was grounded in pride. Pride that I would be called out for a lack of content, a lack of understanding, and a shipload of heresy. I sat on my bed, conflicted, and wondering where the urge to do well had overshadowed a love for being His vessel. And that day, I promised myself I would never say I disliked Apol again.

This struggle between competition and learning to love the message God has inspired me with is never-ending, the increase in struggle seems to exponentially grow each year. Earlier this year, I sat on the hotel bed before the first tournament, nearly tears. I had messages on my heart, but I struggled to reconcile His message with my desire to do well. I was scared about not doing justice to His faithfulness. I wanted my life to show that He has been faithful every step of the way, but in my mind, I wasn’t prepared for anything. Apol included. But my mom reminded me of something I have been carrying in my heart since – could I speak to worship in front of God? That way, even if I didn’t break, I would be worshipping fifteen times over the tournament. I said yes, and I cried. Who am I not to be faithfully worshipping the God who is faithful to me?

And that is why I do Apol. My Apol the time I stand in front of the one Judge that matters and reflect on His goodness. As Psalms 119:68 says, “You are good, and what you do is good; teach me your decrees.” I’m not the best speaker, I don’t know the Bible cover to cover. But God has been faithful to give me my work, and I will not let this moment pass to be grateful for it.

Besides, after these years of carrying the Bible and running around the facility, it’s not as heavy 🙂

Lasting Impact! is offering TWO opportunities to learn and grow with Apologetics – Foundations and Digging Deeper. Clubs meet weekly first semester, starting after Labor Day. Check both clubs (and all the other amazing clubs and classes) out in the SHOP. Joey Ooi will be assisting both Apologetics clubs, and would love to join you on your journey growing deeper through this very important speech category. And remember, You Got This… cuz He’s Got You!