Speaking Topics

Cultural Engagement

TRUE FOR YOU, BUT NOT TRUE FOR ME
Don't we live in a "post-truth" culture that cares more about feelings than facts? People often say, “That may be your truth, but it’s not mine,” as if truth changes based upon what we believe about it or how we feel. In this session, we will consider why truth is vital, learn how to properly define it, examine objections against its knowability and existence, and grasp the powerful implications of truth for our daily lives.

CANCEL CULTURE: CLARITY FOR CHRISTIANS
What is cancel culture? And why do we find ourselves in a culture in which both Christians and non-Christians are so quick to "cancel" others? In this talk, Sean carefully defines cancel culture, discusses what societal factors contribute to its rise, and then gives practical strategies for how Christians can respond biblically.

ATHEIST ENCOUNTER
What would you say if an atheist challenged your deepest convictions about God and the Bible? In this session Sean role plays an atheist, raises tough questions against the faith by taking live questions from the audience, and then steps out of character and helps the audience reflect on the experience. Sean has done this presentation in small youth groups and in large stadiums. This is a hands-on experience where you will walk away motivated and equipped to more lovingly and intelligently make a case for Christianity.

THE WORLDVIEW BEHIND TRANSGENDERISM: We are in the midst of a gender revolution. People are reconsidering gender norms and wrestling with what this means for families, schools, sports, health care, the church, and many other social institutions. In this presentation, Sean compares and contrasts the worldview behind this new revolution with the historic Christian faith. It is only when we understand the worldview behind transgenderism that we can wisely address some of the difficult practical issues capturing the cultural conversation today.

USING MOVIES TO TEACH A BIBLICAL WORLDVIEW: Movies, television, and other forms of modern media deeply shape the way we view the world. In this session, Sean walks through how to understand the nature and power of worldviews through analyzing various films. Using short clips, Sean will help the audience learn how to more critically watch movies and also to see how they present a "view of the world" that compares and contrasts with the Christian faith.

Jesus and the Bible

EVIDENCE FOR THE NEW TESTAMENT
In this session, Sean presents the historical evidence for how accurately the New Testament has been preserved through history. Even though publicized opinions often claim there is reason for skepticism, recent findings actually strengthen the case for the reliability and trustworthiness of the Scriptures. Sean presents the three main lines of evidence from within the Bible, the transmission of ancient documents, and from archaeology outside the Bible.

EVIDENCE FOR THE RESURRECTION
The Christian faith is built upon the historical resurrection of Jesus (1 Corinthians 15:14). If Jesus did not rise, then Christianity is false. But if he did rise, then Christianity is true. In this talk, Sean walks through the compelling historical evidence that Jesus existed, died, was buried, and appeared to many people after the third day. This talk is based upon the updated book Evidence that Demands a Verdict (co-written with his father, Josh McDowell).

IS CHRISTIANITY A COPYCAT RELIGION?
One of the most common objections to the Christian faith today is that it was copied from pagan “mystery” religions of the Ancient Near East. In other words, there is nothing unique, and hence true, about the story of Jesus. This objection is rampant on the Internet, in recent books, and in popular movies like Religulous and The Da Vinci Code. Were there “dying and rising” gods such as Osiris, Mithras, and Adonis long before Jesus? Did the first Christians copy from them?The answer, as you will see in this session, is a resounding “No.”

DID THE APOSTLES REALLY DIE AS MARTYRS?
One of the most common evidences given to trust the reliability of the apostolic testimony is their willingness to die as martyrs. And yet, what is the evidence for their fates? And what about others who have died for their beliefs? In this session, Sean examines the historical evidence for the deaths of the various apostles and shows how this helps confirm their sincere conviction that Jesus rose from the dead.

Answering Tough Questions

IF GOD WHY EVIL?
The problem of evil and suffering is undoubtedly one of the greatest challenges raised against God. Christians must respond empathetically, but also with truth. Sean begins this session by providing a helpful road map for personally helping people who are suffering. He then tackles the intellectual challenge of evil, showing that the existence of evil itself is actually a positive proof for the existence of God, and that the so-called “problem of evil” does not pose a trenchant problem for the Christian faith.

IS FAITH BLIND?
One of the most common myths about faith is that it is irrational, foolish, and blind. Movies typically portray faith as a leap into the dark. And the New Atheists portray faith as dangerous. Yet this could not be further from the truth. Biblical faith is best understood as trusting what we have reason to believe is true. Faith is not blind, but is a trust in light of what we have reason to believe is true.

IS THERE GOOD EVIDENCE FOR THE SOUL?
The Bible teaches that humans are both body and soul (Matt 10:28). And yet many in our culture doubt that the soul is even real. Many others believe in the existence of the soul, but are not aware of the case for its existence. In this session, Sean explores the philosophical and scientific evidence for the soul and shows how this relates specifically to Christian living.

Science and Faith

UNDERSTANDING INTELLIGENT DESIGN
In this session we will explore the most recent scientific data in cosmology, physics, biochemistry, and biology that point toward an Intelligent Designer. David was right that the heavens give us knowledge about God (Ps 19:1-2). Those who open their minds to the possibility of an explanation beyond the natural world will find the design hypothesis a powerful explanation for the scientific evidence. This talk is based upon Sean’s book Understanding Intelligent Design (co-written with William A. Dembski)

WHY I DO NOT BELIEVE IN EVOLUTION
Despite its wide cultural acceptance and appearance of invulnerability, significant challenges can be raised against the viability of Darwinian evolution. This session is a cross-examination of the most common evidences given in favor of Darwin’s theory, which regularly appear in textbooks, blogs, and books. When both sides are heard, there is good reason to question the naturalistic story of evolution so frequently propounded today.

Sex, Love, and Relationships

CHASING LOVE: SEX, LOVE, AND RELATIONSHIPS: Through Netflix, social media and the educational system, students today are being bombarded with faulty ideas about sex, love and relationships. In this talk, Sean helps clear away some false ideas about sex and talks about the reasons behind God's design for human flourishing.

THE CASE FOR MARRIAGE
Marriage is important to God. The Bible both begins and ends with a marriage (Genesis 2, Revelation 22). And yet a proper understanding of the nature of marriage, as well as its importance, continues to slip away in our culture. In this session, Sean provides both the biblical and non-biblical evidence for how to make a case for natural marriage. Sean considers some common objections, and he provides some practical steps for how the church can build a marriage culture with both grace and truth.

ENGAGING THE LGBTQ CONVERSATION: COMPASSION AND CLARITY
How do we love our LGBTQ friends? What does the Bible say about homosexual behavior and identity? One thing we know for sure is that God loves gay people. And so should we. In this session, Sean offers a biblically informed, yet gracious approach to this contentious issue to help us respond with both clarity and compassion.

EXPERIENCING THE TRANSFORMING POWER OF FORGIVENESS
In Matthew 18, Jesus tells a story about the extent Christians should go to forgive others. Forgiveness is not offered as a suggestion, but is given as a command. This talk explores why forgiveness is so important, what it really means to forgive someone, and how to practically begin the process of forgiveness.

WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL ABOUT PORNOGRAPHY?
Pornography is more accessible, accepted, and aggressive than ever before. It is a HUGE problem facing all Christians, including Christian teens. Studies show that viewing porn affects how we view ourselves, other people, and God. It even physically changes the structure of the brain and hurts our ability to develop loving, lasting relationships. In this session, Sean responds to three of the most common myths about pornography and offers both hope and direction for avoiding its snare.

THE CASE FOR PRO-LIFE
Abortion is one of the most hotly debated subjects in culture today. In this lecture, Sean graciously and yet persuasively provides scientific and philosophical evidence to demonstrate that the unborn is a distinct human being from the moment of conception. He also provides a roadmap for how to respond to the some of the most common objections raised against the pro-life position.

Biblical Teaching:

WHY MARRIAGE MATTERS TO GOD
Is marriage really that important to God? Should it matter to us? Today we are told marriage is simply a loving relationship between two people, but Scripture says it is meant to be so much more. In fact, it is the primary means God communicates to us about His Love for the church. In this talk, Sean unpacks the case for God-designed marriage that permeates the Bible.

ETERNAL LIFE: THE DEEPEST YEARNING OF THE HUMAN HEART (JOHN 17:1-5)
In his final meeting with his disciples before his arrest, Jesus spoke some of his most important words. Having eternal life, according to Jesus, is to know the only true God. In this talk, Sean explores what these words mean and clarifies why Jesus is the only way to God.

RUNNING THE RACE OF FAITH (PHILIPPIANS 3:12-4:1)
Living the Christian life is not easy. We have all experienced times when we want to quit. In this lesson, Sean considers common reasons why people quit running the race of faith, and provides practical steps and encouragement to finish well.

STANDING STRONG FOR THE FAITH (DANIEL 1)
What does it mean to stand strong as a Christian in our culture that is increasingly antagonistic to Christian beliefs? Sean shares some powerful insights from the life of Daniel that apply specifically to young people today in school, with their friends and online.

JESUS WAS NO MORALIST (MARK 2:15-17)
Jesus built relationships with "sinners" and others despised by society. He never compromised truth, but he spoke truth graciously and lovingly. In this teaching, Sean unpacks the teaching and example of Jesus in Mark 2:15-17, and offers some specific lessons for evangelism today.

KNOWING GOD’S WILL (UP TO A TWO-PART SERIES)
One of the questions people ask most often is, “What is God’s will for my life?” In this session we will explore common myths about God’s will, what the Bible actually says about God’s will, and how to make wise decisions in all aspects of life. Sean presents a decision-making model, but often begins by breaking down the teaching in 1 John 2:12-17.

IS FAITH BLIND? REFLECTIONS ON EXODUS 7-11 One of the most common misunderstandings about Christianity is that it is based on blind faith. Isn’t faith believing something without evidence, or even what goes against the evidence? In close analysis of Exodus 7-11, and Mark 2:1-10, Sean shows that the Bible teaches that Christians are to have an intelligent faith.

TAMING THE TONGUE (James 3:1-12) The Apostle James warns about the power of the tongue, comparing it to a rudder that controls a ship or a bit in a horse's mouth. He says it can lead someone to personal and eternal destruction. Yet how many of us can truly control the tongue? Sean unpacks the biblical teaching in James 3 and offers on how God can help us overcome the dangers of the tongue.

Focus on Leaders:

PASSING YOUR FAITH TO THE NEXT GENERATION (Deuteronomy 6:4-7)
How do I raise my kids in the faith? How can I parent my children so they will embrace Christianity? While there are many great books recently exploring this topic, the best advice comes from the Old Testament. Deuteronomy 6:1-4 provides a roadmap for passing our faith to the next generation. This session is filled with personal examples and stories from the McDowell family that will encourage and equip you for your own. This talk is both motivational and practical for those concerned in raising kids according to the biblical model.

HOW TO HAVE SPIRITUAL CONVERSATIONS: LESSONS FROM ACTS 17. Paul's speech at the Areopagus is one of the most famous passages in the New Testament (Acts 17). It is not only insightful and interesting, but offers some practical steps for how to engage non-believers. In this talk, Sean offers five simple steps for how to have spiritual conversations with people that naturally flow from Paul's speech on Mars Hill.

CONNECTING WITH THE HEART OF A YOUNG PERSON
Truth is best learned through relationships. What's the key to building healthy, meaningful relationships with the next generation? In this session, Sean brings biblical principles and his personal experience as a speaker, writer, teacher, and parent to help adults with practical ways to connect with young people.

UNDERSTANDING AND REACHING GENERATION Z
What does Generation Z believe? What unique beliefs do they hold? In this session, Sean provides a glimpse into the beliefs of Generation Z in contrast to other generations, and provides a roadmap for how to best reach equip, challenge, and reach this generation.

WHAT SKEPTICS WISH CHRISTIANS KNEW
Many skeptics are open to genuine dialogue with Christians. In this session, Sean shares about his visit to skeptic group and the lessons he learned about how Christians can more effectively engage skeptics. And he will provide a specific roadmap for having genuine dialogue with skeptics and other non-believers in a constructive and positive manner.

Focus on Non-Believers:

WHY ANY SERIOUS SPIRITUAL QUEST SHOULD BEGIN WITH CHRISTIANITY
The goal of this talk is simply to persuade people that if they seriously want to know truth, then Christianity is the place to begin. The following reasons make this clear: 1) Christianity is testable; 2) Christianity offers free salvation; 3) In Christianity you get an amazing worldview fit; 4) Christianity has Jesus at the center. This is a great talk for a skeptical or non-believing audience.