Changing How The Next Generation Thinks

Slide1This past week I was interviewed for a radio program that goes out to pastors around the country.  We discussed how so many of our youth are leaving the church soon after graduating from high school.  The program hosts asked me what I thought were some of the causes for this large exodus from the church.  When I shared with them that this is the result of our children receiving a secular education over the past several decades, the moderators asked me why pastors weren’t speaking out about the dangers of secular education.  Here is part of our discussion.

We have all heard sayings like the following.

Our children are the future!

Children are 1/3 of the population and all of our future!

Today’s children are tomorrow’s leaders!

Mind - trashEven though these statements are commonly repeated when today’s adults talk about the next generation, the truth of the matter is that studies show that between, 60-85% of young people in the church today will leave the church within two years of high school graduation.  When we ask ourselves why are we in this condition, we must realize that this didn’t happen overnight.  It is the result of a slow and steady slide to becoming a totally secular society.  This has taken place by a secular educational system changing how the populace thinks.

We can never underestimate the power of one’s mind.  Consider what the Bible has to say about the power of the mind.  Proverbs 23:7 says that as one thinks in his heart, so is he.  Paul writes in Romans 12:2 that we should not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  In 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 we find these words.  The weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but are divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.  We are destroying speculations and taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.

There is no question about it.  How and what a person thinks will eventually determine how he lives.  I learned a little saying years ago that has proven to be quite true.  It goes like this.

Sow a Thought, reap an Act.  Sow an Act, reap a Habit.  Sow an Habit, reap a Character.  Sow a Character, reap a Destiny!

Because of decades of secular education, we have become a totally secular society.  Through this educational system God has been declaredSmoking mind dead and, if not dead, He has been made to be totally irrelevant to everyday life.  The secularization of society is intricately linked to the mass exodus from the church by our youth.  I am convinced that how we have educated our children and youth has played a huge role in bringing us to our current crisis condition.  Even now, the vast majority of Christians continue to provide their children with a secular education.

If we are going to turn this dangerous situation around, we must give our attention to changing the way our children and youth think.  We have to train them up in the Lord and instill within them a biblical worldview.  However, it won’t be easy.  While I was attending the annual board meeting for Renwanation we were given some alarming statistics.  A children’s pastor from a church in Minnesota reported that only 19% of evangelicals possess a biblical worldview.  What was even more disturbing was learning that less than 1% of millennials have a biblical worldview.  It is impossible to give our children something that we don’t possess ourselves.

In the forward of my book, Kingdom Education, Josh McDowell wrote:

The ideal way to help our kids not only reject the postmodern worldview but also embrace deepened Christian convictions is to align church, home and school into a unified whole that arms our children with the truth and protects them from distortions.

I wholeheartedly agree with McDowell’s statement.  The problem is how can we do this if the church, home and school are not equipped themselves with a biblical worldview.  This is where we need to give major attention.  Parents, pastors, church leaders and Christian educators must renew their minds and be equipped with a biblical worldview if they are going to have the ability to change the way their children think and act.  We can’t wait.  We must act now.  Where do we start?  It starts with you and me – we must renew our minds before we can teach others to do so.  The question remains, What worldview will we pass down to the next generation?

adult giving world to boy

Glen Schultz

Author Glen Schultz

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Join the discussion 10 Comments

  • Terry says:

    Well stated, yet very scary. We will continue to fight the fight of the desperate need of education from a biblical worldview. Thank you for being a rally cry!

  • Sheila Carpenter says:

    The scriptures, the saying regarding “sow what we reap” and Josh McDowell’s statement are great reminders of our responsibility to our families and students. I struggle with understanding why people do not see this responsibility even though the scripture tells us why.

    • Glen Schultz says:

      We have to stay committed and consistent and pray that God will open more parents’ eyes to this reality. Thanks for commenting.

  • Mark says:

    Excellent article. Here is food for thought regarding the educational choice we make.

    Why Should You Consider a God-Honoring Education For Your Child?

    By: Mark Koscak, Director of Development
    Providence Academy, Johnson City, TN

    If you are considering a God-honoring education for your child, you need to know that it is not a guarantee of multi-generational faithfulness. I can give you many reasons to provide your child with a God-honoring education, but a guarantee is not one of the reasons. A child won’t be a Christian because he/she was born into a Christian family, attends church regularly, or receives a God-honoring education.

    If there isn’t a guarantee, then why consider the hassle and expense of a God-honoring education? Why not go with the flow and give your children the education that your taxes already provide? Why not give them access to the best sports program, humanities department, saxophone teacher, etc. These are good questions worth contemplating.

    Making Decisions

    How do you decide? Some people make their decisions based on experience and/or potential outcomes. As they look around, they can find some students that made it through an education that didn’t honor God with their faith still intact. As they look at outcomes, they also realize that some students that received a God-honoring education don’t live to honor God.

    On the surface, these seem like reasons to take the easy road. Yet, as Christians we are not called to make decisions based on potential outcomes or experience. We aren’t placing a bet or guaranteeing an outcome. As Christians we are to draw from the living Word of God to get our direction and wisdom. After reviewing the wisdom and direction, our job is not to strategize on best possible outcomes, but to obey.

    Wisdom from the Word

    The Bible doesn’t give a specific command regarding public schooling, homeschooling, or Christian schooling. Some would say it is silent on this topic. Yet, the Bible provides endless wisdom on the education of a child. The question is not “How am I commanded to educate my child?” The question is “What is the wise path for educating my child?”

    As you thumb through God’s Word, you will find many verses that apply. Here are just a few.
    1. Luke 6:40 tells us that “A child will be like his teacher when fully trained.” Shouldn’t we consciously strive to have our children under teachers and administrators that honor God?

    2. Matthew 5:13 tells us “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.” Will our children influence the world around them, or will they be influenced by the company (teachers and peers) they keep (1 Corinthians 15:33)?

    3. Deuteronomy 6 tells us to teach our children the fear of the Lord. We aren’t obedient to this command when the education we provide our children ignores, belittles, or contradicts God.

    4. Philippians 4:8 tells us to think on things that are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, etc. A big part of education is thinking on the concepts taught. Mark 12:30 urges us to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” Are we teaching our children to love the Lord with all their mind if we intentionally put them in a position where they will be misled about the truth?

    5. Proverbs 1:7 states, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.” This tells us that not only is it important to teach the fear of the Lord, but also this should be the foundation of our educational effort. Do we build our educational foundation on Genesis and Creation or does our curriculum skip the beginning?

    6. In Matthew 28:18, the imperative is to “make disciples.” Our greatest challenge with our children is to make disciples. To implement this we must baptize them and teach them to observe all that God has commanded. Should we teach that 1 + 1 is always 2 without explaining why? Should we study biology without looking at the origin or sanctity of life? Is the curriculum that our students follow teaching them all that He has commanded?

    7. Matthew 5:14-15 reminds us that “You are the light of the world. …….nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.” The light in this example is lit to provide light to family members in the house. This doesn’t make a case for sending our children out to be evangelists. It makes a case for making our children disciples.

    8. Ephesians 6:4 states, “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” Does our inconsistency exasperate our children? Why would we teach one thing about God at home and at church, and then send them to a school that teaches the opposite?

    9. Can an education be neutral? Remember, “He that is not with me is against me,” Matthew 12:30.

    This topic of a God honoring education is a challenging topic. But there are many challenging topics for a Christian. Tithing and witnessing are others topics that are hard to handle. People can get very offended when you discuss these topics. The choice to honor God in the education of your children is counter-cultural (even within the church). Wouldn’t it be nice if we could say the Bible is silent on the education of our children? Wouldn’t it be nice if parents could use an educational coupon that says

    Educational Exception Coupon

    You don’t need to honor God in this area of your life.
    Good for each of your children (up to 40 hours per week).

    I encourage you to make this topic a matter of prayerful study.

  • David Sibley says:

    I think music and access to the internet are primary ways that the world inserts their point of view into the heads of children and youth. When they leave home, they become a student of everything else…and the world despises Christians. Hard to instill courage and a healthy self image into a person who feels isolated and wants to be accepted by the people around them. There is a place where each individual chooses the hope of heaven through faith in Christ Jesus or they accept a premise that they are good enough on their own. To the world around us (and them) God either does not exist or is all things to all people. Such beliefs push our kids away from the true God of Scripture.

    • Glen Schultz says:

      You are very much on point related to music and the internet. Parents must take action and set up protections for their children when it comes to these and other media sources. Thanks for your input.

  • Pamela says:

    Our church ministry team is currently looking at how we can impact our church parents and begin building families with a biblical worldview. Are there resources available to help us develop some type of program? I really think we need to reach the parents of our students if we want to see lasting change. If what we are teaching in our children/youth programs isn’t supported and modeled in the homes, how can we expect children to develop a true biblical worldview?

    • Glen Schultz says:

      There is a great need for resources to help parents develop a biblical worldview and then what to teach their children. I was recently in some meetings where we discussed the need for such resources. There are some things in the works to identify resources that are already out there and develop additional resources. I will be posting information on this website about resources as I become aware of them.

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