Parkway Stories

When 17-year-olds Caleb Eckerd and Ben Young decided to begin a ministry, it took them just a few hours to launch their website in true Gen Z fashion.  The preparation, however, took years.

 

These best friends, or “Battle Buddies,” as they have dubbed themselves, may be young, but they are using their age as a launching point for serving the Lord right here, right now, not as an excuse to wait until later.  The Parkway teens launched Grounds4Faith.com when they felt burdened to equip others to “share their extraordinary faith in ordinary ways.”  They fulfill their goal with blog entries and podcasts full of topics like “But Who Created God?” and interviews with leaders in the field of Christian apologetics such as J. Warner Wallace and Frank Turek, each one carefully orchestrated for teens, by teens.  But it isn’t just for teens because Truth is for everyone.

 

Leaning Into Big Questions

 

The journey for Caleb began when he was only in the fifth grade.  He had grown up in the church and been taught his parents’ faith from the beginning, but after the death of a family friend, questions about this faith began to press on his mind.

 

Was Christianity accurate, or was there another way?  Did another religion have the answers he was looking for?  

 

It was when he heard a Muslim proclaim that the apostle John served “the One True God” that he redirected his focus back to Christianity.  He realized then that having questions is not wrong, that there must be an unshakable, objective truth that transcends all other beliefs.

 

Caleb and Ben, both self-proclaimed over-analyzers, began seeking and finding the Truth.  They delved deep into God’s word using an Apologetics Study Bible. They studied other sources that would help them understand their faith from the perspectives of science and reason, sometimes reading through books, like Stephen C. Meyer’s Signature in the Cell, four or five times to understand them.  Cold Case Christianity by J. Warner Wallace and Stealing From God by Frank Turek, along with some writings by Greg Koukl and Nancy Pearcey, top the guys’ list of where to begin.

 

Living Out What They Learned

 

They did not have to wait long to begin applying their knowledge, for it was when they were in the 7th grade, mere middle school boys, that they had the opportunity to “partner for the sake of the gospel.”  Though they were in different class periods, the two had the same science teacher who would challenge the Biblical accounts of creation science and a need for a designer. When the bell rang, one would hurriedly prep the other for what was coming and the two would high five and be on their way, tag-teaming a defense of their faith.

 

Fast forward five years and Caleb has written his first book, Destination God, as an account of his salvation and an inspiration to other youths who may be walking their personal journey of owning their faith.  

 

Likewise, Ben had been down his own path.  He had watched his father, Mike Young, leave everything he knew and launch the Noble Warriors ministry.  He had seen his dad’s faith walked out before his very eyes.

 

Helping Others Personalize Their Faith

 

Caleb and Ben both recognize that teens often face an uphill battle when it comes to defending their faith.  With internet access, the age of questioning is becoming younger and younger, and kids are getting smarter.

 

According to Caleb, “The worst thing you can tell people is to just have faith, just believe.  People don’t know why they believe what they believe.” Even apologist Josh McDowell “always prayed for the day that my kids would doubt Christianity because everybody must personalize their faith. If our kids never struggle with their faith, they will have borrowed convictions.”  

 

Teens are hungry for Truth, and at Grounds4Faith.com, they can start to fill their spiritual bellies.

 

Following God into Something New

 

With wisdom beyond their years, these young men have worked out challenges such as lack of time, knowledge, and expertise, which begs the question:

 

How do I respond when I feel God is leading me to do something new, and I am facing similar challenges?  

 

Ben’s advice, “following the path that God lays out and drowning it in prayer,” rings true in all circumstances.  “If God wants something to get done, it will get done. How big is that thing you want to do? If are you asking for God-sized goals, are you asking for a conduit?”

 

And the future plans for Grounds4Faith?  Let’s just say your new favorite coffee shop might be on the distant horizon.  It may be around the corner, or it may even be in another nation as Caleb and Ben both have hearts for international missions.  Aided by fellow Parkway teens Carly Kernstine, Alex Renner, and, Lord willing, someone who is video savvy, they will continue to create content for their ministry. 

 

“You’re never going to know the impact of what you’re doing until you get to the end of your life and step into heaven, and you have to be ok with that,” Caleb advises.  “Just go for it, and once you go for it don’t stop . . . unless the Lord calls you to do something else, you keep following that commandment until He says stop. We’re going to keep rolling with it until He gives us something new to do.”

 

Written by Hollie Gilman
A Member at Parkway Baptist Church