Josh and Sean McDowell on Debate

Focus on the Family

Focus on the Family is hosting the Centennial Speech & Debate Tournament this weekend.

Homeschool debaters are chroming the Focus on the Family campus this weekend (see Centennial Stoa Qualifier). The facility rests in the Colorado Springs foothills at the base of majestic Pikes Peak. Tournaments are usually holed up in church basements or college classrooms. Focus on the Family is a welcome change of atmosphere!

The tournament director prepped the students by emphasizing how important it is to remain focused on bigger and better things besides the trophies. “Beyond the Awards” is the tournament theme. It’s a popular theme at Christian debate tournaments. Competition keeps adrenaline flowing, but it’s a healthy reminder that the students are being “trained for action” (1 Peter 1:13) beyond competition.

Focus on the Family attracts some high-profile defenders of the Christian faith. Before the tournament started I had the pleasure of meeting bestselling author and apologist Josh McDowell. He was there on official business with the ministry, but I had the opportunity to let him know that the place was crawling with debaters.

He lit up. “You know who debaters should persuade, don’t you? Not their opponents! They are supposed to persuade the audience!” (We train competitors at our camps to persuade their judge, not their opponents. Mr. McDowell speaks the language!)

Sean McDowell (Josh’s son and evangelistic speaker) kindly spoke to our room full of debaters. It was spur of the moment — unplanned and spontaneous — just another one of those opportunities that hover around the fine ministry of Focus on the Family. He said, “One of the biggest regrets I have is that I did not join debate when I was younger. You guys are training for greater things in life!”

This wasn’t planned, but was right on target. The suited young people walked off to their rounds ready to take on their debates. I can’t wait till they take on the world!

BTW: If you are in the Colorado Springs area over the next three days, we would love to have you come and judge speech or debate rounds. No experience is necessary, and there is complete orientation for judges. Tournaments like Centennial could not run without community support from volunteer judges. Register here and come on by! You will not regret it.

Cynthia is facing her judge at one of her debate rounds yesterday. She and Lydia's opponents (Tess Enos and Preston Malenke) are preparing to refute her arguments.

About Chris Jeub

Chris is the father of 16 children, busily running the family businesses and learning the depths of love along the way.

  • ChrisN

    I sure wish I could be in Colorado Springs for three days! We lived there from 1984-1988, and I miss my friends! And of course, it would be really great to stop by and see you all there at FotF

  • Denise

    Small correction: The theme of the tournament was “Dreaming Beyond the Trophies.”

    I didn’t get to hear Josh McDowell, but our morning assemblies and awards ceremony we heard from Dr. Chris Leland, Glenn Stanton, Focus President Jim Daly, and Public Policy Director Tom Minnery. Tournaments are great, but Centennial State this year at Focus on the Family was awesome!