Do you want to know more about how to fight for your kids' hearts in a culture determined to lure them away from Jesus? Check out the Behind the Mike podcast from August 16 titled "Losing our Teens for Eternity," where longtime AACS dad Ed Stolle talks to host Mike Stone about his passion for bringing kids to Christ using their God-given desire to seek and embrace Truth. The Behind the Mike podcast launched in January 2020 and already has thousands of subscribers.
On August 16, thanks to a chance connection on LinkedIn, Stolle, was featured on this growing platform where guests include Christian influencers like Max Lucado and former MLB pitcher Dave Dravecky whose stories reveal God's deep desire to know us and be the Author of our life. Stone writes, "Ed's primary mission is to combat the crisis of 70 percent of youth leaving the church after high school." Even more alarming is that Barna Group, a respected research outfit that studies the intersection of Christianity and culture, estimates 40 percent of middle schoolers leave the faith before high school.
Ed Stolle is driven and determined to combat this crisis on the frontlines. He engages young people at camps, youth groups, and conferences by getting them involved in the pursuit of Truth through fact-based discovery. His presentations to youth emphasize proving the integrity of the Bible and providing answers to difficult questions from the Bible through evaluation of evidence, rational thought, analysis, and historical context, but always in interactive, visual, and fun ways. Stolle developed three presentations to this end: "Evidence the Bible is True" for youth, "Raising Godly Children in a Secular Culture" for parents, and "Why Youth Are Leaving the Church and How to Counteract" for church leaders.
When asked why he thinks God has called him to this ministry, he said, "God has wired me for this. I couldn't have become a Christian unless I evaluated the evidence." Stolle grew up in the Catholic Church. In sixth grade, he was praying to Mother Mary with his class and wondered aloud to his teacher why he couldn't just pray directly to God. That comment bought him three years of weekly meetings with the school's priest while his classmates were in religion class. He realized he had more questions than answers and started reading the Bible. The priest mentored Ed through this growing season, and his doubts were transformed into a steadfast faith that changed his life and the lives of his family members, who witnessed his journey to Christ.
The passages in the Gospel of John about Thomas and Jesus reassure that God expects our doubt and still loves us. "I feel that Thomas gets a bad rap. He was, after all, the first to publicly recognize Jesus as God," Stolle muses. Thomas proclaims in John 20:28, My Lord and my God! Jesus responds in verse 29 with "...one of the most powerful and prophetic statements about faith in all of Scripture," comments Stolle. Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed. "Thomas' cautious approach lays the foundation for evidence-based faith," says Stolle, "and for ultimately sola fide, or faith alone."
The Stolles, Ed, Glaucia, Dylan (10), Kyle (7), and MacKenzey (2), have been a part of the AACS community for ten years. Their oldest, Dylan, entered kindergarten at the Annapolis Lower School in 2010. In his spare time, Ed is a youth leader for the First Baptist Church of Crofton and works for the Federal Government as a certified fraud examiner and certified financial crimes investigator. He would love to partner with AACS parents, churches, and organizations, so more kids have a foundation to remain grounded in His promises through the often tumultuous teen years. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.