ICR is best known for its "meaty" books on creation, written for the non-technical but interested reader. Weaving Biblical thinking and scientific information together, these foundational books have led the way in creation ministry.
But the creation movement has come of age, with many qualified scientists building on that solid foundation, and we are becoming more and more known for our scientific research and technical writings. The ICR Graduate School continues to put out well-trained disciples, and more and more of them are acquiring terminal degrees and influential positions in education. This represents the cornerstone of our long-term strategy. Influence the influence makers while buttressing many at the grass-roots level.
How then do we view our growing children's ministry? Actually our most popular books and videos are for young people who aren't yet to the point of understanding deep research nor do they teach others. Should ICR invest its resources of time and money in things that other creation groups can do, or should we limit our projects to those things which only ICR, with full-time staff of professional scientists can do? As you might imagine, these questions are often discussed among ourselves. Let me relate my directive on how we choose activities and allocate resources.
The "meaty" and the technical projects are our core. We can never abandon this long-range view for immediate product sales. As Christians, we are in a sometimes brutal fight for Biblical authority and inerrancy, with the science of origins as a major battlefront. Losing here would entail great casualties at the grass roots and the children's level, and we must not lose. With the Biblical worldview informing our research, and Christian convictions energizing our efforts, we will not lose, as God grants the victory.
In general, my rule is that children's ministry and products will not divert our attention from the long-range winning strategy. They can supplement but not supplant our efforts to reach scientists, teachers, theologians, etc., nor divert support for the research which undergirds all we do. Never sacrifice ultimate victory for short-term gains.
But these short-term gains are not to be ignored. Children are born with an intuitive understanding of creation. It takes years of evolution "education" before they really believe their ancestors were fish. If we reach them with truth before the education system reaches them with foolishness, we will have won a long-range victory. Furthermore, proceeds from the sales of children's products helps fund the more in-depth research and writing. They feed each other.
Perhaps our most successful creation tool for children is the Creation Adventure Series of "Marty" videos. In January we announced completion of the third video in this series, "Marty's Grand Adventure," which was filmed in and around Grand Canyon. A feature length film, it cost quite a bit to produce, and although much of its cost was through gifts designated for this purpose, it did involve an investment of resources. This will rapidly be recouped, however, through sales, if initial interest continues.
And it should continue. The main story line sounds like an ICR lecture on Grand Canyon's formation, presented in a way young viewers can understand. We've already had many letters from parents who finally understand the concepts too, as they watched with their kids. It's an adventurous (comical at times) teaching tool, which packages creation information in a winsome way.
It focuses on Dr. Austin's discovery of billions of fossilized nautiloids in the Grand Canyon region. He is now publishing this stunning research in technical journals and thus the kids are getting a first-hand look at a major Christian creationist victory in a format they can grasp.
ICR's long-range goal would be to strengthen ties with this upcoming generation, which would serve to continue both research and communication into the future. Far from being a distraction, children's ministry might be considered an integral part of our long-term strategy.
* Dr. Morris is President of ICR.