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A Publication of RenewaNation: Helping Children Develop a Biblical Worldview.

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Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Christian Education: Milestones or Millstones?

 

Photo by: John Byer from FreeImages


And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea." Matthew 18:2-6

Whether a child is being educated at home or school, the journey can be marked by a series of milestones or “millstone moments”. The Cambridge Dictionary defines a milestone as “an important event in the development or history of something or someone’s life”. In biblical times, a millstone referred to an extremely heavy grain grinding mechanism requiring the force of a large animal to move it. This exhibits the ease in which such a tool could sink the source of condemnation.


Scripture is infallible and the only reliable source of Truth. It is also crystal clear on how our Savior regards ALL children and how they are to be treated. Take into account several verses.


Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Psalm 127:3


And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them.

Mark 10:13-16


"See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven." Matthew 18:10


Ministries involving children, specifically Christian education, should be approached with reverential fear. No calling that has direct access to influencing and molding a child’s or youth’s mind and heart toward Christ should be entered into casually. Whether a homeschool co-op or Christian school, candidates for employment or voluntary service should go through a thorough multi-layered vetting process. Even then, a checks and balances infrastructure should be in place to ensure that sound, biblically-guided accountability is present at all times. The following should be standard qualifications of a Christian educator or administrator.

  1. They have a genuine relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ.   

  2. They are able to share their salvation testimony and be in agreement with ALL of God’s Holy Word.

  3. They should be able to demonstrate how to lead a child to Christ. 

  4. They should be able to verbalize what Biblical Worldview is and how it should directly impact education.

  5. They should be able to answer positional questions on controversial topics such as social justice, the biblical definition of marriage, and sanctity of life.

  6. They should be trained in educational methodologies and pedagogy.


If any one of these criteria are absent or weak, then there should be a serious contemplation of whether the individual in question should biblically educate children. There is simply too much at stake to forgo caution, and hope that training will develop in key areas. Too often, Christian administrators and teachers are thrust into positions of influence out of sheer need and friendly familiarity rather than genuine aptitude and preparedness. As a result, students are the unfortunate beneficiaries of sub-par biblical worldview education and potentially harmful millstone experiences. 

Likewise, Christian school board positions should not be haphazardly filled by individuals who do not have a deep passion for or understanding of biblical education. The responsibility of ensuring righteous leadership of a school is critical to each and every child that is subjected to the policies and counsel of administration. As John C. Maxwell so aptly stated “Everything rises and falls on leadership.” While surface successes and numeric growth may indicate advancement, oversight must be present to make sure the core fundamentals are in place. For example, equality not equity is driving decisions, student athletes are held accountable and shepherded, academic best practices and ethical record keeping are being employed, finances are properly stewarded, professional development is respected and encouraged, and most importantly the spiritual culture is flourishing and supportive of biblical worldview training. If leadership is a mile wide and an inch deep, unethical or apathetic, the school infrastructure will inevitably implode. A Christian school board’s primary function is to implement safeguards to avert such detrimental issues. 


Lastly, a school truly focused on investing in children’s biblical worldview development will exclusively regard and cultivate each student’s strengths and giftings rather than treat them as a collective whole. Leadership must resist falling into the “factory mindset” that is prevalent in compulsory education, and seek to meet the needs of each child in a biblical manner. John Taylor Gatto described it well when he stated, “There is not, nor can there be, a one best way to teach a child; each kid is as different as his or her fingerprint. I’ve often thought that God introduced the anomaly of the fingerprint-or of DNA-to hit us over the head with that fact.” Aside from biblical worldview immersion of subject content, students should be afforded every opportunity to be equipped for and grow toward their individual callings.


The combination of sound hiring practices, a solid Christian school board, and a biblically-aligned intentionality to nurture students establishes a trustworthy and robust biblical worldview institution of learning that will prove steadfast. Such an environment will assuredly produce a thriving biblical worldview journey marked by transformative milestones. Our Lord and Savior modeled biblical education clearly. It is imperative that all Christian education entities are found aligned in every area to His modeling and scriptural guidance on training children. Anything less is detrimental to the purposes of biblical education. There are eternal consequences at stake and time is of the essence.

Author: tonya gordon


Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Worldview Building

 

Author: Caleb R. Gordon


When I was a little kid, learning new things was a constant pastime – whether I wanted it to be or not. From figuring out how a trampoline bounced my brother and I to watching the carbonation in soda fizz along the walls of a paper cup, I naturally examined the world around me to make sense of reality and how it related to me. Even when I did not know all the intricate inner workings of trampoline physics or the chemical makeup of Dr. Pepper, I pieced together the things I observed and tested, adding them to a framework, or lens, through which I understood and saw the world. In other words, I was “worldview building.”


This idea of “worldview building” continued far past my early development. In the latter years of childhood, my process of figuring out the world around me translated into the study of History, Math, English, Science, and Religion. Growing up with a homeschool education, my mother embedded in me the idea of “connecting the dots” in my studies at an early age. While at the time, it seemed to be just another time-consuming exercise preventing me from playing outside, I reminisce on these lessons as laying the groundwork to critical thinking and laying the pipeline of coherency to the house called reality in which I lived. Looking back, we were “worldview building” in that sunroom of three desks.


Fast forward to a Christian homeschool co-op in middle school. My experiences in learning about the American legal system and freehanding the charted world from memory began to take on new meaning. Exercises in logic, rhetoric, and persuasive writing proved to be the form and syntax to express the language of critical thinking that had been ingrained into me so long ago. Reading the current issues raging in culture further bridged the seemingly distant reality of “an ancient world in the past'' to a “not so unfamiliar present day” in which I lived. 


Far past middle school, I kept worldview building. My academic career included attending a Christian high school, a real-life application exercise of my worldview. Surrounded by students who had never been taught to “connect the dots” in their subconscious worldview building, I appeared as a bit of an oddity with a different outlook on life. The real difference between those students and myself was that I had been taught the art of connecting numerous beliefs and values into a coherent system. When the Bible teacher poured through the Scriptures in Old and New Testament Survey courses, I saw a historical account of underlying unity and purpose that informed the way that I was supposed to live my life, view the real God who gave this life to me, and worship Him through it. Instead of seemingly unrelated stories of legend or mythology, I realized that the Bible itself was a grand metanarrative of God revealing Himself and redeeming fallen humanity and that I played a role in this divine love story. Through classes in Understanding the Times, I examined political, religious, economic, psychological, and scientific ideologies across cultures that culminated in an awareness of the diverse, complicated battlefield in which this child of the King was called to serve. The students around me in the halls of that small Christian school became real people with real souls in need of the love of Christ. The homework from those dedicated high school teachers turned into opportunities to grow in my knowledge of this reality, informing and adjusting my worldview. Student leadership opportunities called me to invest in others in the way that I had been so long invested in. Through all of these experiences, my worldview revealed true purpose in the seemingly mundane and ordinary life of a student.


Present day, I find myself walking the brick pathways of a Christian university, studying in higher academia for a calling rather than a career. Reflecting on all my educational experiences, I recognize and thank the Lord for the blessing of understanding how my worldview impacts my life and how it has defeated the cultural notion of a divide between my sacred walk with God and a secular walk with the world. Instead, I live with purpose, detecting God at work in my life to advance His Kingdom and seeing every aspect of life and learning as an opportunity to become more effective in fulfilling His purposes for my life. Ultimately, worldview building and connecting is a lifetime process; however, I would never have understood this process and its significance unless Christian educators had not taken the time to invest in me through their calling to show me the importance of worldview. Every child and student can live with purpose. Help them to see how and why they can.


Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Counting It All Joy



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He took a little child and had him stand among them. Taking him in his arms, he said to them, “Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.” Mark 9:37



This past week witnessed an outpouring of appreciation. Social media sites have been rightly flooded with teacher posts and Mother’s Day sentiments. According to nationaldaycalendar.com, discussions occurred as early as 1944 on the need to “thank” teachers. The conversation was tabled until 1953 when Eleanor Roosevelt pleaded with the 81st Congress to create a National Teacher’s Day. It wasn’t until March 7th, 1980 that it became official. In 1985, the National Education Association (NEA) deemed that the first Tuesday of May would be the start of Teacher Appreciation Week. Mother’s Day had a much longer history that started with a woman named Anna Jarvis in 1908, and was solidified as a national holiday on May 9, 1941 by Woodrow Wilson. It took 41 years to successfully legislate a week of educator appreciation, and much less time to highlight mothers. Before the formalities, there was and has always been, incomparable, heart-moving affirmations resonating throughout homes, co-ops, and classrooms far and wide. 


For mothers, it is the unparalleled joy of hearing the first word, watching wobbly steps, and listening to a heaven-touched bellowing of “Jesus Loves Me”. From learner’s permits, first loves, and next season transitions, a mother’s pilgrimage of faith and thanksgiving remains ceaseless until her final breath. For educators, appreciation is purely gleaned when students demonstrate mastered skills of logic, communication, servant leadership, and a deeper comprehension of scripture. The blessed mentoring journey may end with a cap and gown, but the returns from such an investment live on through Kingdom work. It is the mother and educator whose worldview counts it all joy to be stewarding a child’s future that walks reverently on holy ground.


Before I was blessed with children of my own, my elementary students would ask “How many children do you have?” "Twenty-four," I would exclaim. "I can’t wait for you to meet them! They are so very kind, beautiful, handsome, and incredibly smart!”  Believing every heartfelt word, a group hug commenced with reckless abandon. Later, when I homeschooled my own 3 babies and then taught English to older students, I would excitedly explain "God has placed you here and now for divine purposes. What an honor it is to be a small part of your History! Together, let’s steward this time well, and see what our Lord has for each of us!” What followed was a precious time of mutual respect, genuine exchanges of ideas, a reverent uncovering of God’s created mysteries, and treasured memories of laughter, caring, and maturation.  


Having the opportunity to work in an administrative role at a local Christian school, I was humbly blessed to serve several hundred kiddos and their families. Hindsight, as they say, is 20/20 and like every mom and educator’s propensity, I have reflected on and mourned every opportunity lost to have done it better. Over time however, I have humbly resolved that every decision made whether right or wrong originated from a deep compassion and concern for our students. Every child the Lord brought through our doors was His own, and we had been entrusted with a brief, but monumental task. We were to shepherd their hearts and minds to know Him more intimately and prepare them for their Kingdom calling. Unfortunately, tIme moves swiftly. Like watching your child drive away to the next season of their life, Graduation should cultivate similar emotions for every educator.  


During my tenure, I was given the honor and privilege to call the graduates’ names to receive their diplomas. To the overall crowd, it may have appeared as a simple recognition for the next graduate to come forward. For the moms and dads, hearing their child’s name elicited a rush of memories baptized in happy tears, but for those educators who had also lovingly poured prayer and Kingdom purpose into that child, it was an emotional, purpose-clarifying moment in time. With the utterance of each given name, a fearfully and wonderfully fashioned child turned young adult rises and moves anxiously forward. With each step, a slight bit of youthfulness is left behind. With a handshake, grasp of diploma, and tassel shift, the once blurred realities of adulthood suddenly gain overwhelming clarity. Immediately, there is a silent, breath-taking moment of questioning. Parents and educators alike ponder, “Did we give this child our very best?”   


It is no happenstance that Teacher Appreciation and Mother’s Day fall so closely together, as motherhood and education are Biblically intertwined. Although scripture clearly tasks parents with the job of instruction, our culture offers educational choices that share that responsibility. The Biblical mandates on teaching apply to all who commit to that role. With the transformative power and influence each wields, both mothers and educators should reverently kneel each day in gratitude, petitioning the Lord for discernment, wisdom, and strength. To be entrusted by our Heavenly Father to shepherd and disciple one of his own as a parent, educator, or both is an amazing calling. Sometimes it can wearily feel like a thankless job until a May calendar marker; however, the profound reality is that you have an audience of One who sees “how you are receiving and investing in His children, and thus for Him”.  


You, you are changing the world 

One little heartbeat at a time

Making history with every touch and smile

Oh, you, may not see it now

But I believe that time will tell

How you, you are changing the world

One little heartbeat at a time

-Steven Curtis Chapman



author: tonya c. gordon



Tuesday, April 27, 2021

The Verdict Is In

  



Photo by Bill Oxford on Unsplash


"The great masquerade of evil has played havoc with all of our ethical concepts.  For evil to appear disguised as light, charity, historical necessity or social justice is quite bewildering to anyone brought up on our traditional ethical concepts, while for the Christian who bases his life on the Bible, it merely confirms the fundamental wickedness of evil."

-Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Letters and Papers from Prison


For certain individuals whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license of immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.

Jude 1:4


Hello Friends,


The current social climate is heartbreakingly grievous. It seems that the world has turned upside down and inside out. Historically, trouble and chaos are born out of an individual or group’s illegitimate truth or perspective, or worse, concealed dishonesty, greed, and power.   Currently, society seems to be enamored with revolutionaries who have patiently awaited ideal social conditions of fear, gullibility, profound frustration, and deep mistrust to converge into an environment primed for “liberation”.  Justice is being redefined, while the depravity of sin is largely ignored. Christians are either outwardly jumping on the “cancel culture” bandwagon and celebrating fallen foes, or cowering from distorted theological and philosophical attacks. 


Time has witnessed the recycling of such realities and their ramifications, for the societal answer to issues always seems to be the same...blame and obliterate or turn a blind eye. But why?  

The verdict is in …worldview.  


Heavily influenced by the westernized church’s fear of insulting public school proponents, Christian education institutions and organizations have largely become lukewarm and benign in opposing cultural “norms”.  As a result, we are appearing dangerously similar to our counterparts. The similarities are uncanny. Pioneers of the Biblical Worldview education movement are disillusioned by what former colleagues are supporting, and individuals who flee relativistic public education for the private sector are dismayed to find the motivations, instructional practices, and student outcome boxes similarly being checked.       


  • Secularized curriculum ✔ 

  • Instruction for the sake of the 3R’s and standardized testing ✔ 

  • Championship-driven sports programs ✔ 

  • Administrative progressivism ✔   

  • Worldview intentionality ✔


Yes, both are teaching a worldview, but one unapologetically and cunningly weaves it ever so naturally through every fiber without uttering a word, while the other broadly addresses it with the most sincere and careful intention to avoid controversy. 


In light of the present culture, let’s examine public education’s worldview intentionality and success rate.  While the instances of using K-12 classrooms to push social agendas are too numerous to list, I highly recommend checking out EducationWeek for an eye opening view into the educational environment that many Christians still claim “what was good enough for me, is just fine for my child”. As a former public school graduate and teacher,  I can testify that it isn’t the place of innocent adolescent folly supervised by wholesome mentorship that one recounts.  


Currently, my state’s education system is moving to eradicate the advanced diploma and reformulate math credits for equity purposes, while localities are insisting that the color white is a blight on society, and gender parameters are abhorrent. Interestingly enough, this is happening in areas who once naively felt protected by the number of Christian teachers it employed.  The NEA, state governments, and local school boards have proven to be far more powerful than the missional “salt and light” expectations parents have long placed on the shoulders of their child or teacher. 


Aside from legislative intent, let’s examine a more subtle strategy being used to impart worldview. The following children’s book titles are presently being used in public elementary classrooms across the Nation. In Antiracist Baby by Ibram X. Kendi, a major proponent of Critical Race Theory, one learns that “Babies are taught to be racist or antiracist-there’s no neutrality.”  In An ABC of Equality by Chana Ginelle Ewing, the mnemonic usage of song and brightly pictured common nouns has been replaced with inviting illustrations accompanied by adjectives such as “LGBTQIA, Oppression, Privilege, Xenophobia, and Ze”. What a vast difference from The New England Primer’s alphabetical usage of “Godliness, Holiness, Pray, Remember, and Trust”!


From PreK to college, is this deliberate exposure successful? Absolutely! How is Darwinism no longer regarded as a theory, and why are multitudes of youth attracted to socialism? Let’s ponder the words of those whose ideas have seeped into and shaped American academia, while comparing them with the infallible truth of scripture.  


“Keep people from their History, and they can easily be controlled.”  

-Karl Marx, Father of Communism 


“Remember the days of old; consider the years of many generations; ask your father, and he will show you, your elders, and they will tell you.” Deuteronomy 32:7


“My object in life is to dethrone God and destroy capitalism.” Karl Marx


“I appeal to you brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine you have been taught; avoid them.” Romans 16:17


“There is no god and there is no soul. Hence, there is no need for the props of traditional religion.  With dogma and creed excluded, then immutable truth is dead and buried. There is no room for fixed and natural law or permanent moral absolutes.” 

-John Dewey, Father of Progressive Education


“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.” Romans 1:18


“Schools should take an active part in directing social change, and share in the construction of a new social order.” John Dewey


“See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.” Colossians 2:8


Which worldview has taken precedence in today’s culture?


More than ever, Christian education must look and function with distinct differences. 

  • Students must be scripturally and logically able to process fallacies and false teachings.
  • Scripture must be written "on door frames", corridors, hearts, and minds.
  • Instruction must be framed in the Dominion Mandate and Theology of Work.
  • Staff, faculty, and students must be Biblically clear on controversial topics.
  • Biblical character development and servant leadership must be a core focus of the school's programs
  • School culture must reflect our Savior's modeling on how to treat and regard others. 


Silence and inaction wields the power to infiltrate the command of our children’s hearts and minds through observational deceit. Words have unimaginable influence, ideas spawn consequences, and worldview renders judgments of redemption or retribution.


Our children are internalizing a worldview daily, the most important question is which one are YOU providing?


Author

tonya c. gordon

tgordon@renewanation.org


Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Education's First Love



If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next.  It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this.

C.S. Lewis


And let us not grow weary of doing good,

for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.

Galatians 6:9


Hello Friends,

In the last several weeks we have had the pleasure of watching a symphony of color burst forth from slumber. Spring is upon us, and our hearts and minds are reinvigorated. Life begins anew as we honor and remember our Savior’s sacrifice and resurrection. How awe-inspiring that God purposefully and creatively provides the visual depiction of seasons to testify to His greatness and love. Seasonal changes also illustrate the ebb and flow patterning of our lives.  We all experience spring, summer, fall, and winters in life, yet our focus and constant throughout it all is our Creator.  Through intentioned time of deep study, prayer, and trustworthy fellowship and accountability, we weather our “seasons” and flourish.


As educators, we transition rather predictably through our 180 days. Summer, a unique perk of our profession, is viewed as a much needed break until we grow restless and excited to welcome back students and decorate classrooms. Fall maintains our energy as it wraps us in warm, colorful reflection, thanksgiving, and fall sports, while winter’s quiet peacefulness dissipates with the anticipation of Christmas and snow dances. By the time spring fights back the chill for dominance, students and teachers alike begin to wither alongside the quick blooming annuals. With all of the demands on Christian educators, these seasonal rhythms potentially become marred by monotony. The calling to share the vibrant, powerful, all-knowing, forgiving, merciful Creator-Savior dulls against a backdrop of methodically checked boxes. Biblical Worldview in the classroom is relegated to a quick prayer and devotion.  


The Designer of Math, Science, History, English, Music, Theatre, Art, and Physical Well-being is waiting to be introduced and intimately known in every one of these divine subjects. They testify to His command of all things, His inspiration, His wonder and power. Tasked with the responsibility to share this life-sustaining good news, are we, as proclaimed Christian educators, taking great care and time to feed our souls through spiritual and professional development? Have we been intentional in our planning to humbly and reverently illustrate our Lord Jesus Christ in the classroom? Although summer breaks, decorated classrooms, football games, snow dances, and spring wrap ups are enjoyable, they are not the seasonal focuses that should take precedence in our Christian schools. Instead, let’s equip ourselves to redeem every season, month, and day to Biblically immerse our schools, classrooms, and selves with He who only breathes wisdom, knowledge, purpose, and eternal life.  


We cordially invite you to join us for a time of recovery, reflection, rest, and renewal at our REAP Conference. Let this summer be the season you not only find rest, but revival, as you and your school work to purely focus on resetting your school’s mission and vision on Him, education’s first love. 


For more information, please contact tonya gordon at tgordon@renewanation.org




Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Why Worldview Matters

 

 

Hello Friends,

Today’s post features Dr. Josh Mulvihill, the Executive Director of RenewaNation’s Church and Family Ministry. He served as a pastor for nearly 20 years and helped launch The Legacy Coalition, a ministry that equips grandparents to pass faith on to future generations. He holds a Ph.D. from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and is the author of Biblical Grandparenting, Preparing Children for Marriage, and Biblical Worldview: What It Is, Why It Matters, And How to Shape the Worldview of the Next Generation. Josh is married to Jen, and they have five children. Please feel free to connect with Josh on Twitter at @DrJoshMulvihill.  

A thorough knowledge of the Bible is worth more than a college education.
- Theodore Roosevelt

Many Christian young people are unprepared to navigate the tidal wave of unbiblical ideas that confront them. If George Barna is correct, over 70% of Christian young people will reject their faith before they reach the age of 30. We all know teenagers who have drifted and walked away from Christ. We never think that person could one day be our own child. When the pressure is turned up, our children will struggle if they don’t have confidence that comes from knowing what they believe and why they believe it.

Who is doing a better job of imparting their worldview to children, the world or the church? If we are honest, many churches and families are struggling to pass on a deep, lasting, actionable faith to future generations. Athletics, academics, and the arts are often prioritized over the nurture of a child’s faith. Children may end up at a prestigious university or receive an athletic scholarship, but their faith lags far behind and leaves them vulnerable to the deception of the world.

George Barna states, “A person’s worldview is primarily shaped and is firmly in place by the time someone reaches the age of thirteen; it is refined through experience during the teen and early adult years, and then it is passed on to others during their adult life. Such studies underscore the necessity of parents and other influencers being intentional in how they help develop the worldview of children.” High numbers of parents and grandparents are not developing their child’s worldview, and the spiritual vacuum is filled with cultural ideas and secular thought.

That’s why worldview matters. Biblical worldview is worthy of our attention and resources.

Below are six reasons why every family and church needs to help children develop a biblical worldview.

 A BIBLICAL WORLDVIEW:

1. Provides Wisdom for Life

When you have a parenting problem, where do you look for answers? When you want to learn how to grandparent, where do you turn for guidance? When you want teaching methods, where do you look for ideas? When you have a decision to make, where do you turn for wisdom?

Through the power of God, we have “everything we need for life and godliness” (2 Pet 1:3). 2 Timothy 3:15-17 says, “The sacred writings are able to make you wise for salvation in Christ Jesus ... and equipped for every good work.” The key word in these verses is the word “everything.” God has given us everything we need to do what he has commanded us in the Bible.

 Today many believe in biblical authority, but fail to help our young people understand how the Bible is sufficient for life and work. We confess its authority of scripture, but we fail to communicate its relevance. When the rubber meets the road, often due to a lack of faith, we discount its ability to do what is necessary to draw unbelievers to Christ, enable us to grow in godliness, provide direction for our lives, and transform and revitalize society. In our day, the battle is against those who would have us use worldly means to do God’s work.”

2. Develops the Foundation for a Lifelong Faith in Jesus

Perhaps you’ve heard about the high number of young people who are dropping out of the church, walking away from their faith in Christ, and about the low numbers of young believers who have a biblical view of life. As a pastor to families for nearly twenty years, I’ve seen the following patterns develop:

  • Biblical illiteracy: Alarmingly high numbers of children raised in Christian homes do not know what the Bible teaches.

  • Biblical confusion: High numbers of young Christians do not know why they should believe the teachings of the Bible instead of other views.

  • Biblical immaturity: When young people encounter a different belief system, many do not know how to defend their faith or explain the basic truths of the Bible.

 What leads to lifelong faith for children? According to the apostle Paul, a Scripture-saturated, Bible-based upbringing of engaged faith shapes the beliefs of children. Paul instructs Timothy, “Continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it, and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings” (2 Tim 3:14-15).

 One of Paul’s goals for Timothy is firm belief which is the result of three things: what Timothy learned (biblical truth), who he learned from (parent, grandparent, and spiritual mentor), and how he learned (being taught the Bible from childhood). Notice, the Bible is concerned with what children learn, who teaches children, and how children are to learn. If we want children to live a godly life, for their entire life, then these are God’s methods toward that end.

3. Shapes Character and Conduct by Truth

A common phrase used to communicate how to pass on faith to future generations is this, “Faith is caught, not taught.” It sounds spiritual. But it is an unfortunate perceived dichotomy. In the Bible, learning occurs relationally, experientially, and verbally. Faith is caught and taught!

 Faith is caught, which is why we must be able to say to young people, “Imitate me as I imitate Christ” (1 Cor 11:1). Faith is also taught. The Bible prioritizes teaching as the primary method of helping future generations know Christ and grow in maturity. Let’s explore a few passages (paraphrased) that command parents and grandparents to teach the truth of God’s Word to young people.

  • Teach these things to your children and your children’s children (Deut 4:9).

  • You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk about them when you sit, walk, lie down, and when you rise (Deut 6:7).

  • Hear, my son, your father’s instruction and forsake not your mother’s teaching (Prov 1:8).

  • Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord (Eph 6:4).

  • Older women ... are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind and submissive to their own husbands. Older men ... urge the younger men to be self-controlled (Titus 2:2-6).

 Parents and grandparents are to use the Bible to shape who a child becomes and how the child lives. This is the pattern and command of Scripture.

4. Defends Against Counterfeit Ideas

A biblical worldview helps children defend their faith. Raising children today requires a Colossians 2:7-8 mindset: “As you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.”

 The strategy that Paul provides is simple. We are to teach the core truth of Scripture so that a Christian is established in the faith, then introduce a competing belief system and dismantle it by exposing why it is false. When I teach kids, I refer to this as the Bible’s big truth and the world’s big lie.

 In a post-Christian society, children are going to face strong opposition and competing belief systems, and unless they are rooted in the Bible, they will absorb the ideas of our day and assimilate to the beliefs of our culture. Our aim is to shape the beliefs of young people, and to do that, we must train children to defend their faith against deceptive and competing belief systems.

5. Answers the Big Questions of Life

A biblical worldview answers the big questions children ask: Where did I come from? Why am I here? Who am I? What went wrong with the world? What is the solution? What is the purpose of life? What happens in the future?

 Young people are hungry for truth and are searching for answers. They desire open and honest face-to-face conversations. Young people want real answers and are attracted to authenticity. Due to an abundance of information, young people do not know what information is trustworthy; thus they have a prove-it-to-me mindset. One of the most compelling proofs for young people is an authentic life. The individual that speaks the truth in love and practices what he or she preaches is incredibly influential in a young person’s life. Here are three suggestions to answer the spiritual questions children will have:

  • Ask questions before children ask them. Don’t be afraid to talk about difficult topics. Encourage children to think deeply about the truths of the Bible.

  • Answer with Scripture. Encourage children to become a student of God’s Word. They either know the answer or know where to get the answer.

  • Aim to be an askable parent, grandparent, pastor, or teacher. Invite questions, take them seriously, and answer them diligently so that the child who is weighing the claims of the Bible will be persuaded to believe in Christ.

 6. Equips Individuals for Service to Christ

The world does not need Christians who are culturally saturated. It needs agents of the gospel filled with the aroma of Christ. A biblical worldview not only shapes what a child believes but also equips the child to live in a manner worthy of the gospel, for the good of others and the glory of God through their future vocation. A biblical view of topics such as science, law, medicine, and education will provide the framework so that children can positively impact the world for Christ. A biblical worldview equips children to serve God using the gifts He has given them.