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How to Teach Your Children a Christian Worldview (With Dr. George Barna)

Family Policy Matters / NC Family Policy
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February 26, 2024 12:59 pm

How to Teach Your Children a Christian Worldview (With Dr. George Barna)

Family Policy Matters / NC Family Policy

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February 26, 2024 12:59 pm

This week on Family Policy Matters, host Traci DeVette Griggs welcomes Dr. George Barna, author of Raising Spiritual Champions, to discuss why it is critical for parents to instill a Christian worldview in their children and some tips for how they can do so. 

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MUSIC Thanks for joining us this week for Family Policy Matters. New research has found an astounding lack of a biblical worldview among, no, I'm not going to say Americans, although that's true. I'm not going to say Christians, although that too is true. But startlingly, this lack was also found among church leaders. Renowned researcher and bestselling author Dr. George Barna joins us today to talk about these findings in his 60th book, Raising Spiritual Champions, Nurturing Your Child's Heart, Mind and Soul. This book is designed to be a dynamic Bible-based research-supported guide for the parents of tomorrow's Christian church. We've invited NC Family President John Rustin to be along with us, too, for the conversation. So welcome to both of you. Dr. Barna, thank you for joining us.

My pleasure. Dr. Barna, let's start with the basics. What is a biblical worldview and exactly how disturbing is the picture, especially among those of us who should know better?

Let's take it back a step. What's a worldview? And essentially, a worldview is the intellectual, emotional and spiritual filter that every person has for their decision making. Every decision you make, every moment of every day flows through your worldview. And that is essentially the element, the filter that helps you to make sense of the world and your place within it. And so because you've got that filter, it enables you to make decisions that are consistent with what you think is right and true and valuable. If you were making those kind of decisions, you just made them randomly and at odds with what you really believed, you'd constantly be wrestling with cognitive dissonance.

You'd feel uncomfortable all the time. Well, it's your worldview that helps you to feel comfortable with your choices because it's shaping them as you make them. Now, biblical worldview is where, as you're trying to understand the world and your place in it and how you're going to become the person that you believe you're supposed to be, all of those kinds of things. What you do is you go back to the Bible to try to understand, well, what are the core principles for life that I need to embrace to enable me to be that person and so forth? So biblical worldview is one of literally dozens of different worldviews that people can choose from.

And unfortunately, not enough Americans are choosing the biblical worldview. Right. And that certainly has consequences.

And I thought it'd be interesting to hear from John Rustin. John, NC Families staff spends a huge amount of time at the legislature and other arenas working toward, quote, a state and nation where God is honored, religious freedom flourishes, families thrive, and life is cherished. Of course, that's our vision statement. But how are you seeing the impacts of this lack of a biblical worldview in your work trying to influence public policy? I've been in this arena for 30 years, and over those 30 years, we've seen dramatic changes in North Carolina politically, socially with respect to demographics, but also in worldview, as Dr. Barna was talking about, and particularly among members of the North Carolina General Assembly. Things that we used to take for granted that people had kind of a standard of what's right and wrong, even if it wasn't driven by a matter of faith.

There was a general kind of baseline knowledge that certain things were right and certain things were wrong. All of that has been turned on its head in recent years. And so we see the dynamics that we're working on in the General Assembly, the perspectives that a lot of legislators come into the legislature with are very different than what it used to be. And not to get partisan about it, but even when Democrats held control of the state legislature, which they did until 2010, except for a couple of terms in the mid 90s in the House, we still operated under a general knowledge that the Bible was right and true, and that that was the standard that we use to judge a lot of the public policy decisions that were being made. Now, that is just not nearly as much the case. And so we're dealing with a lot of people who are coming to the General Assembly to serve in elected offices with a very different perspective, a very different worldview.

Good. Well, thank you for that insight. Dr. Barna, you've mentioned many times that a person's worldview is firmly established by the age of 13. And we've already heard that just because someone is a church leader doesn't guarantee they have a biblical worldview. So where does that leave us?

Well, we're in a situation where we've misunderstood how worldview works anyway. What's happened in America is that we've changed the way that we parent. And of course, biblically, it's the parents responsibility to develop the worldview of their child, to hold that child accountable to it, to encourage them in that process, to model these things for them. But instead, because parents have become so busy and have so many other interests, they love their children so much, they say, well, let me go out and hire the best experts to raise my children. And so we hire tutors for education.

We hire private coaches for sports. We drop kids off at a church hoping that the religious experts will impart religious stuff to them. But parents, by and large, are just trying to make sure that they're earning enough money to keep food on the table, clothing on the children, have cars to transport them around.

So parenting has become the practice of outsourcing. And biblically, that's not permissible. You go back to a passage like the beginning of Deuteronomy 6, which talks about how critical it is that every single day you'd be talking about these things, you'd be thinking about these things, you'd be holding each other liable or accountable for these things. And these things means God's words, God's principles, God's ways of living that he gives to us in the Bible. And so we're supposed to be in the Bible all the time, consulting it for wisdom, praying, waiting for the Holy Spirit to guide us, to point us in the right direction, being sensitive to the Spirit moving us in every situation and trying to do all things to honor God. We've pretty much lost that. Even when people drop their kids off at churches, what we know now is that the most important pastors in any church are the children's pastors.

Why? Because it's the children whose life is being determined at that time. Their worldview is going to shape every choice they make for the rest of their life.

Worldview doesn't change much after 13, if at all. And so the children's pastors are critical. And yet our research is showing that only 12% of the children's pastors in churches across the country, Christian churches, have a biblical worldview.

Why does it matter? You can't give what you don't have. Seven out of eight of our children's pastors are not going to be leading our children to Christ.

Gosh, Dr. Barnard, that's really concerning. What can the church do to help correct that situation? Number one, what we've got to do is make sure that churches understand their role is to support parents in raising spiritual champions. To do that, they've got to have deep relationships with the parents.

It can't be, you know, run and gun. We drop them off Sunday at 11. We're out of here at 1230.

See you next week. There's got to be a dynamic relationship happening where the people working in children's ministry have continual, constant contact with the parents. They know what the parents are doing.

They're supporting the parents in what the parents are doing to raise spiritual champions, helping them, informing them. Secondly, parents have to be a lot more careful about the kinds of churches that they choose to go to. Their top criteria ought to be, what is the children's ministry like? Because they've got to know what that children's pastor is, the people who are going to be in the classrooms with their children.

They've got to know the curriculum. They've got to understand the goals of the church. They have to look at the measures that that church has of how are we doing? If there are no measures, trust me, they're going to live up to those measures.

They're not going to get anything done. So you've got to take this very seriously. Churches in America today, I don't mean to be pejorative, but we've got to be honest, churches use children as bait. The idea is to get adults in the door.

Why? Because churches measure success based on five factors. More than 80 percent of senior pastors say, yeah, my church is effective in ministry. We ask them, how do you know that? They say, well, because we measure things. What do you measure?

They measure how many people show up, how much money they raise, how many programs they offer, how many staff they've hired, how much square footage they build out. I'm a measurement guy. I'm glad they're measuring. But you get what you measure.

And Jesus didn't die for any of those outcomes. So they're the wrong measures. So churches are barking up the wrong tree. We've got to change that.

We've got to be much more cautious as parents in where we're going to take our children and what we're going to allow them to be exposed to. OK, excellent point. So talk a little bit more about what happens in the home then. You spend a lot of time in your book talking about that.

Just briefly, could you give us a synopsis so that we can go grab your book later? I wrote Raising Spiritual Champions really to try to help parents know what to do, not just know how tough it is. They already know that. But I would suggest that you have at least four things that you're doing. Number one is you've got a plan.

You can't raise the spiritual champion spontaneously. You've got to have a strategic idea of what am I trying to accomplish? How am I going to do it?

How do I know when I'm doing it? So you've got to have that plan, which, of course, assumes an a priori deep commitment to the process of raising a spiritual champion. So once you've made that priority and you've put together a plan, a critical part of that plan is knowing what beliefs it's important for your children to embrace.

Where do you start? And so in the book I talk, I've got a whole chapter about this thing called The Seven Cornerstones of a Biblical Worldview. It serves as a great foundation.

It's not a full biblical worldview, but it's an excellent foundation on which you can develop a true biblical worldview. Once you help your children embrace those beliefs, then you've got to help them convert those beliefs into a lifestyle. You know, we do what we believe. And so it's important that we take God's principles and not just give intellectual assent to them, but we live in harmony with them. And then fourthly, as parents, we're responsible for evaluating how our kids are doing and giving them feedback and pointing them in the right direction when they get off track.

That's part of our job. So when we can do those things and that becomes consistent and strategic and intentional, fully biblical, then we're going to see some magnificent results. Dr. Barnum, one of the real challenges, obviously, in today's society are all the pressures that is influencing our young people. How best do you see the role of parents in helping to kind of create filters and guardrails for their children with respect to all of these societal pressures that are impacting them on a daily basis?

In the book, I talk a bunch about what's working in discipleship today. You know, it's important that you have deep, intimate, positive relationship with your child that's based on them being able to trust you. And you seeing yourself as their primary life coach, being there all the time, observing what they're doing, giving them feedback. But also, biblically speaking, being able to have what I call Socratic dialogue with your children on a regular basis. You're not always telling them what to do. You're not always criticizing them.

Instead, what you're doing is you're asking them questions. What do you believe? Why do you believe it? Why did you do this? How do you feel that worked out for you? You know, what are your friends suggesting that you do?

What do you think about that? Giving the child an opportunity to start thinking through what they believe, why they believe it, why they do what they do, and to be able to own their own philosophy of life, their own worldview as they're shaping it. But you're helping them shape it through this kind of dialogue that takes place. But you've also got to model that biblical worldview for them so that as they're trying to figure out, OK, if that's what I believe, what does it look like in practice?

That's a critical dimension. And inviting the child into another part of that relationship where you're asking them to hold you accountable for you living like a disciple of Jesus, just as you're going to hold them accountable. That's what the church is, where believers are together, living the faith together, encouraging each other, calling each other out when we need to.

Even if it's with your child, ask them, say, you know what, I'm teaching you these things, but if you see me blow it, you tell me. So you see there is hope, but it's good. It just takes hard work, right? It's going to take hard work. It's going to take a real solid focus on what we're trying to accomplish because there are so many distractions and it's going to take time. America didn't get in the tough situation it's in today overnight.

We're not going to get out of it overnight. But we've got to make that long term commitment that each of us is going to do whatever we can as a parent, as a grandparent, as a teacher, as a coach, as a pastor, whoever we are. We have the opportunity to influence children and we've got to get on top of that.

Well, I feel like we could have a much longer conversation with you and that would be a pleasure. But I feel like at least people know that they can go get your book and you've written so much on this and you have resources galore. So tell us where people can go to follow your good work and to find out about your books. Yeah, if they're interested in the book, they can go to a website, raisingspiritualchampionsbook.com. They can also go to our site at the university where we put all the research that we're doing on there for free.

And that's at culturalresearchcenter.com. And hopefully between all of that, that'll help people to get a perspective on what we're up against and how we can move forward in power. Dr. Barna, thank you so much for being with us today and for your incredible years of service and providing practical advice to parents and church leaders and others. We're really grateful for you and all the good work that you do. Thanks, John. And, you know, I see it as a team effort.

You guys are the boots on the ground. So thank you for what you're doing to keep it up. Well, George Barna and John Rustin, thank you both for being with us today on Family Policy Matters. Thank you for listening to Family Policy Matters.

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe to the show and leave us a review. To learn more about NC Family and the work we do to promote and preserve faith and family in North Carolina, visit our website at ncfamily.org. That's ncfamily.org. And check us out on social media at NC Family Policy. Thanks, and may God bless you and your family.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-26 14:35:33 / 2024-02-26 14:42:08 / 7

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