Good Questions Deserve Good Answers

#Christianity #College #Conversation #Culture

Our Speakers – Base Camp West

These teachers were carefully chosen based on their expertise, commitment to their respective churches, and their love for Jesus. Base Camp topics were carefully chosen based on the questions Christian teens are asking (and being asked) as reflected in our research and survey results. For Base Camp Central (St. Louis, MO) Speakers, CLICK HERE.

Questions that will be covered include but aren’t limited to:

  • Is truth relative? Can something be true for me but not for you?
  • Does science contradict or complement Christianity’s creation account?
  • Is the Bible reliable and trustworthy? How do we know?
  • Is the historical Jesus the same as the Jesus of the New Testament?
  • Was the resurrection a real historical event? How do we know?
  • What exactly is the gospel? What are false gospels?
  • Are traditional Christian sexual ethics outdated and bigoted?
  • How do we love our LGBT friends and family without compromising the truth?
  • What do people of other religious faiths believe? How can we love them well?
  • What do atheists actually believe? How can we love them well?
  • What does evangelism look like in a postmodern & post-Christian culture?
  • What exactly are we saved for? What now?

Joe Palmer

Joe Palmer is a former missionary to Chinese people in Los Angeles CA, Tucson AZ, and China. After serving in mission work and pastoral ministry for over twenty years Joe recently narrowed his focus to helping Christians think through the big philosophical and scientific questions of our day. Joe has a D.Min. from Phoenix Seminary in Scottsdale AZ and is working toward his Ph.D. through Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, specializing in Christian apologetics. He is married to Suzy and has three grown children.

Marty Clapp

Marty Clapp has an extensive speaking history in the valley. He enjoys teaching the youth and adults at his home congregation, Chandler Christian Church, and has spent over 17 years speaking at various high school clubs, colleges, Christian retreats, radio shows, and churches. Recognizing that most Christians do not feel adequately prepared to respond to the tough questions and issues they face in today’s culture, Marty’s objective is two-fold: to train other Christians to share the Gospel more confidently and effectively. Secondly, to equip them with the tools they need to persuasively defend Christianity and Christian values in the public arena. You can learn more about his ministry and “Think Again” apparel at A Chandler resident since 1962, when Marty isn’t at a speaking engagement, he enjoys one of his favorite roles – that of a grandparent!

Robby Lashua

Robby Lashua is the Pastor of Apologetics at Desert Springs Community Church in Goodyear, AZ. He has a passion for equipping the church with good reasons to believe in classic Christianity. Robby believes that Christian Apologetics must make a resurgence in the modern-day church and that the next generation of Christians will have to engage people in apologetics in order to evangelize effectively. You can learn more about Robby’s apologetics ministry at In addition to working at DSCC, Robby is an adjunct professor at Mission Bible Institute, a graduate of Phoenix Seminary, and also a graduate of the Christian Apologetics program at Biola University. Most importantly, Robby has a wonderful wife, Kelly, and three amazing kids, Greta, Cohen, and Elsie.

Jannique Stewart

Jannique Stewart was born and raised in Europe and after her family moved to the United States for her high school years, Jannique competed for an Illinois State Title in a National Pageant and chose two issues that she felt most passionate about: Abortion and The Sexualization of Teens. After winning her first title at the age of 15, Jannique began speaking in schools and churches on related topics. Jannique joined First Care Family Resources, the leading Crisis Pregnancy Centers in South Florida in 2005 as a speaker and educator for their Prevention Department. In 2010, Jannique became the Center Director for First Care’s Boca Raton Pregnancy Care Center, leading a team of women to provide counseling and ultrasounds to women faced with unplanned pregnancies and financial hardship. Jannique founded Love Protects in 2011, a ministry focused on biblical sexuality. She speaks to thousands of teens each year in order to help them connect sexual activity with abortion and to discover the importance of sexual chastity.

Jeremy R. Smith
Jeremy R. Smith’s life miraculously changed when Jesus rescued him in 1996. Since then, he’s been passionate about helping the non-religious and the religious to think through and seriously consider what they believe, why they believe it, and why it matters. Since 2010, Jeremy has been serving Faith Ascent as one of the founding leaders.

Jeremy studied select topics related to Christian Apologetics, Evangelism, and Philosophy through Biola University in La Mirada, CA and Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis, MO. Jeremy is a member of The Christian Apologetics Alliance, The Missouri Apologetics Network, and St. Louis’ Reasonable Faith Chapter. Jeremy also serves as a Corporate Chaplain at Cordell & Cordell (A Domestic Litigation Firm).

Prior to Faith Ascent, Jeremy’s 10 year professional history included consultative sales roles in both the legal industry and educational publishing. Jeremy’s 6 year volunteer history included a “Big Brother Bible Study” at The Mill Skateboard Park and youth ministry leadership at his home church.

Jeremy is happily married to Katie and is a grateful father to Elijah, Lucy, and Lorelei Rae.

Amanda Umber

Growing up in a Christian home, Amanda always assumed the truth of Christianity, but never really looked into it until she got to college. While studying Interior Design at Arizona State University, encounters with skeptical classmates necessitated good reasons to think Christianity was true, and tools for productive evangelism. Studying apologetics provided solid reasons and practical tools for witnessing, and Amanda has been studying ever since. She is an editor, contributor, and graphic designer for Examined Life.

James Umber

James Umber has over 10 years of experience in leading comprehensive apologetics teaching in the valley through his “Examined Faith” training course. He has also taught missionaries, youth, and adults and been a guest on the Backpack Radio Show. With a depth of knowledge and a passion for apologetics, James does not just pass on information, but helps his audience examine the tough questions of life for themselves. As a follower of Christ, formally trained in architecture, James provides a unique perspective in his presentations. You can learn more about his ministry and “Think Again” apparel at He attends Chandler Christian Church. James, his wife Amanda, and their daughter Rachel, live in Phoenix, AZ.

Shawn White

Shawn White has earned a BA in Religious Studies from Southern Evangelical Bible College and an MA in Christian Apologetics from Biola University. He is currently working towards a Doctorate of Philosophy in Humanities from Faulkner University. In 2012, Shawn founded Smart Faith, an apologetic ministry focused on “training believers to be confident, courageous, and culturally aware.” Smart Faith puts on an annual conference during which leading local apologists and others from across the country come to Phoenix to present in the areas of science, history, philosophy, the arts, and how those relate to the Christian faith. Shawn specializes in the defense of the resurrection of Christ. By day, Shawn is a computer software developer. He and his wife, Davina, also are active in serving with their home congregation at Canyon Church of Christ in North Phoenix, where Shawn leads the Apologetics Ministry.

Past Base Camp Speakers

Matthew Lee Anderson
Matthew Lee Anderson is the author of Earthen Vessels: Why Our Bodies Matter to Our Faith. Anderson is the founder of and writes periodically for Christianity Today, The Gospel Coalition, and Relevant Magazine. He has been interviewed in media outlets such as The Wall Street Journal, Fox News, and The Associated Press. A graduate of the Torrey Honors Institute at Biola University, he is now a graduate student at Oxford University.

Gregory R. Beabout, Ph.D.
Dr. Gregory R. Beabout (Ph.D., Marquette, 1988) is a professor of philosophy at Saint Louis University. Dr. Beabout has received many awards for his teaching and service to students. He teaches and does research in ethics, Kierkegaard, personalism, and Catholic social thought. Informed by his engagement with the history of philosophy, some of his work involves applying personalism and the tradition of the virtues to business and the professions. His research and publications are in the areas of ethics and social philosophy.
Dr. Beabout has nine books as author or editor, including Ethics: The Art of CharacterApplied Professional EthicsThe Character of the ManagerFreedom and Its Misuses, and Virtue Ethics in Business and Management. Greg is a member at Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Church.

Holly Brand, Ph.D.
Dr. Holly Brand has been privileged to serve as professor of psychology at Missouri Baptist University since 2000. Prior to her service at MBU she taught psychology for three years at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville. Dr. Brand earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Southeast Missouri State University. After working as a mental health caseworker at the Community Counseling Center in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, Dr. Brand moved to St. Louis to attend graduate school at St. Louis University. She earned both her master’s degree and Ph.D. in psychology from St. Louis University (SLU). Her specialty includes child, adolescent, and adult development. Dr. Brand is married to Todd Brand, president of Brand Asset Management Group, a wealth management firm in Chesterfield. They have three young children, Tanner, Walker, and Tori. In 2000 Holly Brand created Yellow Umbrella Ministries, a speaking and writing ministry for both Christian and mainstream audiences. She is the author of a book entitled Christ & Culture. For more information visit Holly is a member at The Crossing Church.

John Eisenring
During his college years John had a passion to reach his campus for Jesus. He started a student led club at Kilgore College and saw many students become disciples during this time. This initial club became the framework that would become realTALK Campus Ministries. This experience led him away from pursuing a Degree in Law but rather to pursue establishing more campus outreaches. John is a Graduate from the University of Texas at Tyler, holding a Bachelors of Science in Political Science & International Relations. John is the Founder of realTALK Campus Ministries and has established several campus ministries in East Texas and Arizona and has also been a youth, young adult and lead pastor. Currently John serves full-time as the Executive of Vision & Partnership for realTALK. He lives in Chandler, Arizona with his wife, Cherie & 3 Children; Roman, Rex & Merit. His passion is to see local churches mobilized to reach students at secular high schools & colleges by equipping student leaders from church youth groups to establish student led clubs on campus, providing a door to the campus and a bridge to the local church. John is also a fierce Dallas Cowboys fan and believes Starbucks is superior to Dutch Bros.

Jessica Eswine
Jessica received her J.D. from Washington University in St. Louis, where she served as a notes editor for The Journal of Law & Policy. She currently works as a law clerk for a judge seated on the Missouri Court of Appeals, and she serves as a visiting instructor in Integrated Apologetics at Covenant Theological Seminary. Jessica is also pursuing a masters degree in Apologetics from Houston Baptist University. For the last 13 years, she has served ministries to children and youth as well as hosting community conversations addressing issues of doubt and Christian faith at Riverside Church in Webster Groves, Missouri.

Taylor Reynolds
Originally from Valdosta, Georgia, Taylor is a transplant to St. Louis, Missouri. He graduated from Washington University where he studied history, psychology, and religion and politics. While attending WashU, he founded Kairos, an undergraduate journal of Christian thought. He currently interns with the Veritas Forum working with their Veritas Labs initiative as well as a coach for the Augustine Collective network. Taylor is a leading member of Midrash St. Louis and frequently facilitates group discussions on the intersection of the Gospel and culture. His aspirations include publishing his book and completing a PhD. In his free time, Taylor writes poetry, fishes, watches romantic comedies, backpacks, reads novels, and is starting a podcast. He prefers dead languages to computer languages, existentialism to analytic philosophy, and people who disagree with him to people who agree with him.

Adam McCleodAdam J. MacLeod
Adam J. MacLeod is Associate Professor at Faulkner University, Thomas Goode Jones School of Law. He serves as consulting scholar for the Massachusetts Family Institute and a faculty member of the Witherspoon Institute’s annual Moral Foundations of Law seminar for graduate students. He is a former visiting fellow in the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University, and he formerly served as a Deputy Attorney General of Alabama, advising the Governor and Attorney General in defense of Alabama’s marriage laws. Professor MacLeod writes and speaks in academic and public venues about the importance of the family, religious associations, private property and other foundational institutions of private ordering. He is the author of Property and Practical Reason, published by Cambridge University Press, and dozens of articles, essays, and book reviews in peer-reviewed journals and law reviews in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia. He contributes to the online journals Public Discourse and Library of Law & Liberty. Before beginning his scholarly career, Professor MacLeod served as law clerk for state and federal judges in Massachusetts and Colorado and practiced law in Boston. He holds degrees from Gordon College and the University of Notre Dame Law School. He is a member of Christ Church in Montgomery, Alabama where he attends with his wife and daughters. A former and founding member of the Pneuma Brass Quintet in Boston, he is a musician, runner, cyclist, skier, hiker, Notre Dame partisan, husband, and father.

Josh McDowell
Well known as an articulate speaker, Josh has addressed more than 25 million people, giving over 26,000 talks in 125 countries. As a young man, Josh McDowell considered himself an agnostic. He truly believed that Christianity was worthless. However, when challenged to intellectually examine the claims of Christianity, Josh discovered compelling, overwhelming evidence for the reliability of the Christian faith. After trusting in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, Josh’s life changed dramatically as he experienced the power of God’s love. After his conversion, his plans for law school turned instead to plans to tell a doubting world about the truth of Jesus Christ. After studying at Kellogg College, Josh completed his college degree at Wheaton College and then attended Talbot Theological Seminary, where he graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Master of Divinity degree. In 1961, Josh joined the staff of Campus Crusade for Christ International (now called Cru). Not long after, he started the Josh McDowell Ministry to reach young people worldwide with the truth and love of Jesus.

Sean McDowell, Ph. D.
Sean McDowell is a gifted communicator with a passion for reaching the younger generation with the Gospel message. He connects with youth in a tangible way through humor and stories while imparting hard evidence and logical support for viewing all areas of life through a Biblical worldview. He serves as Head of the Bible Department at Capistrano Valley Christian Schools where he teaches Philosophy, Theology, and Apologetics. As a high school teacher, Sean has exceptional insight into the prevailing culture and imparts his observations poignantly to fellow educators, pastors, and parents alike. In 2008 he received the Educator of the Year award for San Juan Capistrano, California. His apologetics training was awarded Exemplary Status by the Association of Christian Schools International. Sean is listed among the top 100 apologists. He graduated summa cum laude from Talbot Theological Seminary with a double Master’s degree in Theology and Philosophy. He is pursuing a Ph.D. in Apologetics and Worldview Studies from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Traveling throughout the United States and abroad, Sean speaks at camps, churches, schools, universities, and conferences. He has spoken for organizations including Focus on the Family, the Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview, Campus Crusade for Christ, Youth Specialties, Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the Association of Christian Schools International. Sean has also appeared as a guest on radio shows such as Focus on the Family, Point of View, Converse with Scholars, Stand to Reason as well as shows hosted by Hugh Hewitt, Frank Pastore, Michael Reagan, and others.

Gregory R. Perry, Ph.D.
Dr. Perry is the Associate Professor of New Testament & Director of the City Ministry Initiative at Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis, Mo. Dr. Perry came to Covenant Seminary in 2003, following over ten years of ministry in local churches and on the mission field. While teaching theology in Australia, Dr. Perry chaired a task force to assess and support Australian church planters. He has also served on pastoral church staffs in Atlanta and Northern Virginia, working with small groups, pastoral care, and ministry to single adults. Dr. Perry has been involved in several creative nonprofit ministries seeking to embody the Gospel while addressing social challenges in urban Atlanta and D.C. He is currently a board member of Third Millennium, an organization created to bring theological education to church leaders in the developing world. Dr. Perry has a heart to disciple students in creative cultural applications of the Gospel, which he carries out through the Seminary’s City Ministry Initiative.

John Richardson, M.Div.
John Richardson is a professional mediator and pastoral counselor at Level Path Ministries in St. Louis, MO. John also serves as the Pastor of Congregational Care at First Free Church in St. Louis, MO. At First Free, John oversees multiple care ministries including Celebrate Recovery, Visitation Ministry, Pre-Marital Mentoring, and general Counseling. John has a Master of Divinity from Covenant Theological Seminary and a B.A. from Fort Wayne Bible College. He is a Certified Christian Conciliator with the Institute of Christian Conciliation and serves on the board of directors for the Association of Missouri Mediators.

Lee Strobel
Atheist-turned-Christian Lee Strobel, the former award-winning legal editor ofThe Chicago Tribune, is a New York Times best-selling author of more than twenty books and has been interviewed on numerous national TV programs, including ABC, Fox, PBS, and CNN. Described in the Washington Post as “one of the evangelical community’s most popular apologists,” Lee shared the Christian Book of the Year award in 2005 for a curriculum he co-authored with Garry Poole about the movie The Passion of the Christ. He also won Gold Medallions for his books The Case for Christ, The Case for Faith, and the The Case for a Creator, all of which have been made into documentaries distributed by Lionsgate. Lee was educated at the University of Missouri (Bachelor of Journalism degree, 1974) and Yale Law School (Master of Studies in Law degree, 1979). He was a professional journalist for 14 years at The Chicago Tribuneand other newspapers, winning Illinois’ top honors for investigative reporting (which he shared with a team he led) and public service journalism from United Press International. After a nearly two-year investigation of the evidence for Jesus, Lee became a Christian in 1981. He joined the staff of Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, IL, in 1987, and later became a teaching pastor there. He joined Saddleback Valley Community Church in Lake Forest, CA, as a teaching pastor in 2000. He left Saddleback’s staff to focus on writing.

Frank Turek
Dr. Frank Turek is a dynamic speaker and award-winning author or coauthor of three books: I Don’t have Enough Faith to be an Atheist, Correct, Not Politically Correct and Legislating Morality. As the President of, Frank impacts young and old alike at colleges, high schools and churches with hard yet entertaining evidence for Christianity. He hosts a hour long TV program each week called I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist that is broadcast Wednesday nights at 9pm and 1am Eastern on DirecTV Channel 378 (the NRB Network). His radio program called CrossExamined with Frank Turek airs on 144 stations every Saturday morning at 10 a.m. eastern. Frank also writes a column for and has appeared on many TV and radio programs including:The O’Reilly Factor, Hannity and Colmes, Faith under Fire, Politically Incorrect, The Bible Answerman, and Focus on the Family. He has debated atheist Christopher Hitchens twice. A former Aviator in the U.S. Navy, Frank has a Masters from George Washington University and a Doctorate in Apologetics from Southern Evangelical Seminary. To help reverse the exodus of young people from the Christian faith, Frank conducts dynamic I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist outreach events on campus. At these events, Frank presents the evidence for Christianity, cross-examines arguments against it, and answers student questions.

Lilian Werner
Lilian Werner is the Director for Women’s Ministries at FirstLight Ministries, a para-church ministry helping Christians align their sexual lives to the teaching of Scripture. Since 2003 FirstLight has been helping men and women who are struggling with sexual brokenness, as well as their families, find hope and healing in Jesus Christ. Lilian has worked as an LPC for 12 years, and has been involved in ministry in various ways. She has worked in church planting, women’s ministries, children’s ministries and adult Sunday School. Her degree is from Covenant Theological Seminary. She and her husband Brad live in South City have 3 children: Inna who is 20 and lives in Philadelphia with her husband and new baby, Ivan who is in kindergarten, and Anya who just turned 3.