Jun 1, 2017

Shaping Kids' Worldview is Crucial

There are lots of worldviews competing for children's attention.  Most are in direct opposition to a Christian worldview and if adopted by children will turn their hearts away from God's truth. 

A recent study by Barna reveals just how critical it is that we teach kids and their parents a Biblical worldview.

Currently, among professing Christians...
  • 38% are sympathetic to some Muslim teachings
  • 61% agree with ideas rooted in New Spirituality
  • 54% resonate with postmodernist views
  • 36% accept ideas associated with Marxism
  • 29% believe ideas based on secularism
It is important to note that Millennials, who are the young parents of the children in our ministries, grew up in a less Christianized context, and as a result, are up to eight times more likely to accept these views than their parents and grandparents.  This shows we must not only focus on teaching children a Biblical worldview, but their parents as well.  Since parents are the primary spiritual influence in their children's lives, equipping parents with a Biblical worldview must also be a priority.

There are 4 major worldviews that are competing for the heart of children and parents. Let's take a look at them.

New Spirituality
This worldview holds a positive view of religion, emphasizes the supernatural and simultaneously feeds into a growing dissatisfaction with institutions.  It says all people pray to the same god or spirit, no matter what name they use for that spiritual being.  It says that "meaning and purpose come from becoming one with all that is."  It says "if you do good, you will receive good, and if you do bad, you will receive bad (Karma)."  And it says "God helps those who help themselves." 
  • 28% of Christians have embraced "all people pray to the same god or spirit, no matter what name they use for that spiritual being."
  • 27% of Christians have embraced “meaning and purpose come from becoming one with all that is."
  • 32% of Christians agree that “if you do good, you will receive good, and if you do bad, you will receive bad.”
  • 52 percent of practicing Christians strongly agree that the Bible teaches “God helps those who help themselves."
  • Overall, at least 61 percent of practicing Christians embrace at least one of the ideas rooted in New Spirituality.
Secularism
The secular worldview prioritizes the scientific method as an explanatory framework for life and advances a rational and materialistic view of the world.  While most Christians resist scientism and Darwinism, they are inclined toward an off shoot of secularism, which is materialism.  Materialism is the view that the material world is all there is.  Here is an example.
  • 20% of Christians believe that meaning and purpose in life comes from working hard to earn as much as possible so you can make the most of life."
  • 13% believe that a person's life is valuable only if society sees it as valuable.
Postmodernism
Postmodernism advances the idea that there is no such thing as objectivity.  A Postmodern worldview says that claims on ultimate reality are subjective by virtue of their context—that is, we are all limited by our experience, and at best we can know only what is true for ourselves.  Here are some examples of how this worldview is infecting Christian's thinking.
  • 19% strongly agree that “no one can know for certain what meaning and purpose there is to life.”
  • 23% strongly agree that “what is morally right or wrong depends on what an individual believes.” 
  • 15% say if your beliefs offend someone or hurt their feelings, it is wrong. 
Marxism
Marxism as a worldview stands in opposition to the economics of capitalism and falls more in line with socialist or communist political ideologies.  Marxism, though, is also founded on an irreligious—or even religiously hostile foundation.
  •  11% strongly agree that “private property encourages greed and envy.” 
  • 14% of practicing Christians strongly agree that “the government, rather than individuals, should control as much of the resources as necessary to ensure that everyone gets their fair share.” 
  • 15% strongly disagree that “if the government leaves businesses alone, they will mostly do what’s right.”  In other words, this proportion believes significant government regulation is necessary for the good of society. 
These findings should not be taken lightly.  They confirm a continuing shift away from a Christian worldview by each succeeding generation.  There is increasing pluralism, relativism and moral decline in the church.    

It is critical that children's and family ministry leaders help kids and their parents know why they believe what they believe and develop a solid, Biblical worldview.  We must help them see that things that are different are not the same.  There cannot be absolute truth if all things are held as equal.  We must inform them so they can maintain a healthy worldview and faith.  This will also enable them to have productive dialogue with people who adhere to other beliefs. 

Recently, we created a series called Pranksters to help kids develop a Biblical worldview.  It's a four-week series that teaches kids why we believe what we believe.  It helps kids grapple with the hard questions and come out with a deeper faith.  It shows the unique differences of the Christian faith and equips kids to share Biblical truth in a world that says there are no absolutes.  You can get more information about obtaining this series for your ministry at this link. 

Barna made this statement that resonates so clearly.

"In the race to a child's heart, the first one there wins."

Like never before, it is critical that we get there first with a Biblical world view.  

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