1st Annual Bob Pitman Essay Contest

“It always seems impossible until it’s done.” – Nelson Mandela

Background: In 1991, Austin Seminary graduate, Rev. Dr. Bob Pitman, founded Knox Fellowship, a 501(c)3 corporation in suburban San Francisco and dedicated to PC (USA) evangelism.  First Presbyterian Church San Mateo, CA was the founding church.  The nationwide Board of Directors gathered in Santa Cruz, CA for annual meetings in many early years.  Since Knox’s initial formation, Bob Pitman led task-organized Knox teams in conducting or financing over 600 evangelism events stateside in exclusively PC (USA) churches and presbyteries.  An additional 50 evangelism events were held in Presbyterian and Reformed churches in Africa, South America, Europe, and Asia.  Under Bob’s leadership, Knox Fellowship helped launch four immigrant church planting ministries in the United States:  two Spanish; one Portuguese; one Nepalese.

Who is eligible: The Bob Pitman Essay Contest is open to any full or part time student enrolled at any seminary related to PC (USA) through General Assembly’s Committee on Theological Education or by covenant agreement with the General Assembly (GA).

What:  The question to be answered using acceptable academic standards is two-fold:  “Why should course work in Practical Evangelism and Christian Apologetics be required for ordination to the office of a PC (USA) Teaching Elder?”  All submitted essays become the shared intellectual property of the author, PC (USA) and related seminaries, Academy of Evangelism in Theological Education and Knox Fellowship.

When:  The Bob Pitman essay contest, will be announced February 1, 2016 through press release to all PC (USA) related seminaries and the PC (USA) Office of Communications and other Presbyterian related media.  Submissions will be due April 1, 2016.  Winners will be announced on May 1, 2016.  Knox Fellowship will submit the winning essay for publication to the AETE journal, “Witness” and PC (USA) Office of Communications.

Where:  Graduate students work in their respective homes and three top winners will receive an all-expenses paid trip to the Academy of Evangelism in Theological Education (AETE) in June, 2016 in St. Paul Minnesota

Why:  To advance practical evangelism and Christian apologetics throughout the PC (USA) enterprise.


  1. Winners will receive cash prizes: 1 x $3,000 prize; 2 x $2,000 prizes; and 6 x $500 prizes.  Knox Fellowship, Inc. will also award the top three finishers with an all-expenses paid trip to the meeting of the AETE which meets concurrently with the American Society of Missiology annual meeting, Friday, June 17 – Sunday, June 19, 2016 at University of Northwestern–St. Paul, St. Paul, Minnesota.
  2. Required Submission Specifications:
    1. Original student scholarship mandatory submitted in two versions:  Microsoft Word and PDF.
    2. Length:
      1. One Cover sheet with only the title which includes the essay question:  “Why should course work in Practical Evangelism and Christian Apologetics be required for ordination to the office of a PC (USA) Teaching Elder?”
      2. Essay contents are limited to 10-page double-spaced, Times New Roman 12-point type with 1-inch margins, and numbered pages with footnotes all at the end.  Up to five tables behind the footnotes are acceptable  –not more
      3. The last page should include your name and contact information: cell phone and physical address.  (This will not be shared with the essay contest readers)
    3. Key Points of reference you may want to use in footnotes:  2014 book, The Rise of the Nones  by James Emory White.  Sub-titled “Understanding and Reaching the Religiously Unaffiliated.”
    4. Visit among other surveys for historic trends to be footnoted or referenced
    5. Anti-plagiarism checker software will be used to weed out student who do not adhere to the highest academic and professional standards expected of PC (USA) Teaching Elders.
    6. Submit finished essays in electronic form no later than 12:00 a.m. April 1, 2016 to the following email address: