Mind Games

Conference Overview

There’s one thing we do here at Probe that is our favorite part of ministry. Our Student Mind Games Conference is a week-long, total immersion, give-it-all-we’ve-got experience for high school and college students that changes minds and hearts forever.

download-podcastWe teach Christian students how to think biblically on a wide range of subjects: worldviews, basic apologetics, creation and evolution, human nature, the differences between guys and girls, the problem of evil, the value of suffering, campus Christianity, and even how to watch a movie without swallowing it whole. They learn about world religions, a compassionate but biblical view of homosexuality, science and Earth-history, feminism, and genetic engineering. We talk about how not to lose their faith in college and give specific, practical help connecting with the campus ministries at whatever college they’re headed to.

The Probe teachers don’t just give the lectures, though; we continue conversations at meals where we eat and visit with the students instead of each other. We assign readings by authors who don’t have a Christian worldview, and break up into discussion groups to help the students develop their discernment skills and tune up their baloney detectors. There is free time every afternoon for everybody to hike, swim, play basketball or card games, read or nap. They learn how to be discerning in watching movies, and get practice at it by watching several movies during the evenings.

The students are delighted to meet other thinking Christians from all over the country, students eager to think and grow in their faith as they learn to love God with their minds together. They enjoy getting to know us as the instructors, too. We’re not only available the whole week; we look for opportunities to engage in conversations that will encourage and affirm what God is doing in the minds and hearts of these precious young people.

In what follows you’ll hear a little bit from several lecturers, and also from several of our Mind Games alumni.

Sneak Peek of Probe Lectures

Here are snippets from lectures of four of our Probe Mind Games instructors, speaking on Apologetics, Origins, The Value of Suffering, and Nietzsche for Beginners:

Dr. Pat Zukeran:

When we begin apologetics, when you engage the non-Christian world, where do we begin? Worldviews. Very good. Now there are three major worldviews; what are they? The first one is. . . ? Theism. Theism teaches what? God made all. The second one is. . .? Naturalism, or atheism: no God at all. And the third one is Pantheism, God is all. Remember all three of those.

Dr. Ray Bohlin:

That is why many were upset for a long time. Many rejected the Big Bang because of the philosophical implications of a beginning. Where does this particle come from? Here’s the problem. See, something must be eternal. Something has to have always been here. Otherwise, something had to come from absolutely nothing.

Sue Bohlin:

Pat explained to you the philosophical aspects of suffering and pain, and now I want to get intensely practical. l want to share with you five of the things that God showed me over a five-year period about the value of suffering. God never wastes our suffering, not a scrap of it. He redeems all of it for His glory and for our benefit. We have a God who scoops us up, and holds us to His chest where we can hear His heart beating, and says, “It’s okay. l love you, buddy. Dad knows the way home. It’s gonna be okay.” And in the midst of our suffering, that’s when God is holding us the closest.

Todd Kappelman:

What Nietzsche says is, “Listen, there are smart people, there are strong people, there are the artistically gifted, there are geniuses which comprise one percent or less of the population, and then there’s the ninety-nine percent.” What Nietzsche as an atheist wants to do is, he wants to look at good art. He wants to make a place in our culture for good art to be produced. The problem with good art being produced is you need a good audience that appreciates good art in order for good art to be produced.

Comments from Alumni, Part 1

Sarah relates how she happened to come:

I’m Sarah, l have an older sister, this is her third year, and she got me into this. She’s, like, “This, is the most awesome thing ever, you gotta go.” I’m like, “Whatever.” I came because she would always come back saying that she had this awesome time and everything. l was just like, “Okay, I’ll go, I’ve been to other conferences before so I don’t think it’ll be anything different.” This was really amazing because other conferences that I’ve been to, it’s been just lectures, lectures, lectures. But like Sue and Pat and Todd and Heather and Ray, they would talk back to you. They wanted to get to know you, they wanted to know what you thought, they let you ask questions and they would answer it in the best way that they do, and it was just really nice to have someone older and wise that could give their information to where you could understand it, and it’s free to ask questions.

Here’s Kayla:

I really enjoyed the variety of the workshops, realizing that Christianity does apply to all aspects of life, that we have a worldview that is livable, and that whether it be about homosexuality or abortion or genetic engineering, our worldview applies to that too, and knowing those answers will help me that much more in the secular university.

Austin shares what helped him the most:

It especially helped with the readings, the secular readings. It helped me to point out the flaws in their teachings and to see, okay, he’s wrong here, here, here, here; he’s kinda right here; this is where he needs to change a little. It helps me interpret what I’m reading better.

And Bekah responds to my question: Do you feel equipped to handle the anti-Christian, the hostile influences on the college campus?

Yes, because we had to interact with the “devil’s advocate” so much here, and I think it really just prepared us for situations we’re actually going to face.

We love and enjoy the students who come to Mind Games, and they know it.

Comments From Alumni, Part 2

Here are a few more: Jon, Ashli, Jonathan and a returning alumnus, Daniel:


It was more than I expected. I thought I was going to come here and learn ways to defeat people’s arguments and destroy what they believe, but that’s not what I learned. I actually learned WHY people believe what they believe, and so because I can understand what they believe better, I can love them better as a person, and that’s really how you witness to them: you love them first and then they’ll ask you, “What‘s so special,” and then you can do it. So Mind Games for me was about learning and understanding more of what other people believe so I could understand and love them better.


The lectures—l loved them, because my dad’s always about, he wants you to gain the knowledge, he wants you to know stuff, and I . . . don‘t. I learned so much, and I got so much out of it, and I had so many questions that I had answered. I was almost embarrassed by the questions, that I should already know the answer, but I felt comfortable enough to ask them, and they answered them clearly, and it was awesome.


There’s just something amazing about this place where everyone wants to be here. The lectures were really great, there’s just so much emotion and information to it. They just tell sides of things you never hear in the culture, it’s just so informative. Like Ashli said, you really get just a zeal for learning about this stuff and you realize how little you know about your faith, and how much you want to learn, so I’m definitely going to come back and try and learn some more.


I thought Mind Games was fantastic. It was a great experience, and while I did go to some of the same classes, I took more away from them than I did last year, partly because I stayed awake during different parts but mostly because I was paying better attention and you take different things away every time you go to the same lesson. So that was still valuable even though I’d been here before. And there were definitely talks that l hadn’t attended last year that were really, really interesting, downright fascinating actually, which l was very glad to be a part of, some of which l felt pretty strongly about, so I was glad to be able to participate in those discussions.

Why Go to Mind Games?

We now know that three out of four high school seniors who had been part of a church youth group drop out of church within a year.{1} One reason for this is that they don’t own their faith; they don’t know that Christianity is true, and they don’t know why it’s true. They tend to equate faith with a warm fuzzy feeling that doesn’t stand up to the challenges of life. Many students are afraid to express their doubts so they never learn that there are good, solid answers to their questions. They are sensitive to the disconnect that happens when those who profess to be Christ-followers act no differently from unbelievers.

For over fifteen years, Probe’s Mind Games conferences have been preparing young people for the challenges to their faith. In that time, we have witnessed firsthand the incredible thirst for a reliable trustworthy faith. Again and again we hear that some had despaired of ever finding something like Mind Games. The conference consistently exceeds expectations, and students often tell us they wish they had brought their friends.

Alumni from these summer conferences are going on to become leaders on their campuses and beyond. This weeklong immersion truly changes lives, giving them a new confidence in their God, His Word, and in their role as His ambassadors. We know this because some of them come back as alumni a second or third year, and because they contact us from college and let us know how Mind Games continues to impact them. Others have gone on to become leaders in ministry and heroes in the military.

Mornings start with an informal devotional by Probe staff and a time of prayer. They receive twenty-five hours of lecture using video clips, role play, Q and A, and other teaching techniques. They build their discernment muscles and sharpen their critical thinking skills by reading and analyzing articles by non-Christians, which we discuss in small groups. They worship together, they play together, and they make dear friends. We instructors share our meals and some of our free time with the students, which allows us to get to know and truly love them.

The Student Mind Games Conference is for those who have finished their junior or senior years of high school, and for college freshmen and sophomores. [Note: especially motivated students younger than that are welcome, though!] Please go to our Web site, Probe.org, and check out the reports and pictures of the last few Mind Games conferences. You can look at a typical schedule, and find out all the details. And then register someone you love. It will make a difference in time and eternity.


1. Steve Cable, Is This the Last Christian Generation? www.probe.org/last-christian-generation.htm

© 2009 Probe Ministries

Sue Bohlin is an associate speaker/writer and webmistress for Probe Ministries. She attended the University of Illinois, and has been a Bible teacher and conference speaker for over 40 years. She is a speaker for MOPS (Mothers of Pre-Schoolers) and Stonecroft Ministries (Christian Women's Connections), and serves on the board of Living Hope Ministries, a Christ-centered outreach to those dealing with unwanted homosexuality. Sue is on the Bible.org Women's Leadership Team and is a regular contributor to Bible.org's Engage Blog. In addition to being a professional calligrapher, she is the wife of Probe's Dr. Ray Bohlin and the mother of their two grown sons. Her personal website is suebohlin.com.

What is Probe?

Probe Ministries is a non-profit ministry whose mission is to assist the church in renewing the minds of believers with a Christian worldview and to equip the church to engage the world for Christ. Probe fulfills this mission through our Mind Games conferences for youth and adults, our 3-minute daily radio program, and our extensive Web site at www.probe.org.

Further information about Probe's materials and ministry may be obtained by contacting us at:

Probe Ministries
2001 W. Plano Parkway, Suite 2000
Plano TX 75075
(972) 941-4565
[email protected]

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