DEFENDERS is a two-day seminar sponsored by the AIIA Institute, a Maine-based Christian apologetics ministry, for youth ages 17-24. The seminar is intended to equip college-bound and college students who are of Christian persuasion to handle the pressures of non-Christian worldviews and those who promote them, sometimes in an aggressive and hostile manner.
DEFENDERS combines training in basic Christian apologetics with fun and recreation (hiking, kayaking, fishing, moose safaris, etc.) in the northwoods of Maine. All participants automatically also qualify as applicants for a $500 scholarship, to be used for further training in apologetics.
DEFENDERS is based at AIIA’s Study Center in Monson, Maine. Registration is limited to the first twelve qualified individuals to submit a completed application each year. Date, times, and other information are based upon interest in any particular year and are listed on our web site.
Each participants is responsible for making his/her own arrangements for travel, lodging, and meals — except for one major meal, which AIIA provides. A listing of lodging and meal options near to AIIA is available by clicking here.
There is no required registration fee for this seminar, but contributions to AIIA are welcome.
What is DEFENDERS?
DEFENDERS is an annual three-day seminar for Christian youth, ages 17-24, sponsored by the AIIA Institute of Monson, Maine.
What is the purpose and goal of the DEFENDERS seminar?
DEFENDERS is intended to equip college-bound and college students of Christian persuasion how to better handle the pressure of non-Christian worldviews and those who promote them (e.g. atheist professors, other students, secular interests), sometimes in an aggressive and hostile manner.
What happens at a DEFENDERS seminar?
DEFENDERS combines training in basic Christian apologetics with fun and recreation (hiking, kayaking, fishing, moose safaris, etc.) in the northwoods of Maine. Lectures are interspersed with group discussion, personal research, mock debates, and other helpful approaches.
Where is the DEFENDERS seminar hosted?
DEFENDERS is hosted at AIIA’s Study Center in Monson, Maine. Monson is located in the north central part of the State, just south of Moosehead Lake.
When does the DEFENDERS seminar take place each year?
The date of the event is based on interest and can therefore vary from year to year. Date, times, and other information specific to the year are listed on this web site well ahead of time.
Are there any additional incentives for attending a DEFENDERS seminar?
All participants and alumni of DEFENDERS are automatically qualified to apply for a $500 scholarship, to be used for further training in apologetics.
How many young people participate in a typical DEFENDERS seminar?
Registration is limited to the first twelve qualified individuals to submit a completed application each year.
Is there a deadline for registering?
The deadline for registering is determined by the date of the seminar in a particular year. We encourage you to apply now.
What about food and lodging during a DEFENDERS event?
Each participant is responsible for making his or her own arrangements for travel, lodging, and meals — except for one major meal, which AIIA provides. A listing of lodging and meal options near to AIIA is available upon request.
How much does a DEFENDERS seminar cost?
Believe it or not, other than for paying for your own food, lodging, and travel, there is no required registration fee for this seminar. Costs are largely subsidized by those who support the work of AIIA. Of course, contributions to AIIA are never refused.
What if a young person is seeking for faith and truth, but is not currently a Christian?
The material and approach used at a DEFENDERS seminar presumes a basic commitment to Jesus Christ and historic Christian truth. If this is not the case, it would no doubt leave the participant feeling out of place. For this reason, we do not offer the seminar to those who are still seeking for faith. We would, however, be willing to meet one-on-one with seekers on some separate occasion to discuss matters of faith and truth.
What do those who have already attended a DEFENDERS seminar have to say about it?
Response has been almost altogether positive. Here are excerpts from one letter that we received from a 2011 DEFENDERS participant:
“Many of my beliefs and values were formulated around tradition and somewhat ‘blind’ faith that were passed down through the generations.”
“While the things I was taught in Sunday school and sermons were all true and beneficial, I seemed to be missing a crucial link in my faith.”
“Questions such as ‘Is having doubt in our faith okay?’ and ‘How do we know our beliefs are true?’ were just not addressed on the typical Sunday morning at church.”
“So it seemed that apologetics training was exactly what I needed to answer some of my questions and to strengthen my faith.”
“The DEFENDERS sessions were informative and captivating. I do not think I was ever bored or wishing we would take a break.”
“I also appreciated the variation of the teaching. One of my favorite parts of the two days was the session that Rick Carver gave on the Resurrection. I do not think I have ever heard it explained that way, based solely on the facts, so that no one can dispute the authenticity or validity of the Gospel as recorded in the Bible.”
“I felt like our time in Monson was a great mix of learning, relaxation, and fellowship. We had a great time on the lake with the kayaks and row boat, and when it came time for lunch, Spring Creek BBQ was a definite hit! Also, I believe we each were thrilled to see moose in Maine…six at a time!”
“Overall, I had a remarkable experience in Monson — one that has inspired me to seek out truth . . . I will certainly recommend the DEFENDERS program and the AIIA Institute to my friends and others interested in learning about why we believe what we believe — and how to defend it.”
How do I apply to participate in the next DEFENDERS seminar?
An application form can be downloaded on this web site.
Where do I go for further information?
If your questions have not been answered in reading through this FAQ section, you’re welcome to call or e-mail us for a personal response to your specific inquiry.