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What do students believe? What do they need?

Think Christianly: What do students believe? What do they need?

Friday, August 8, 2008

What do students believe? What do they need?

Here is some insight from a recent lecture by Sean Mcdowell for Stand to Reason.

STR Cruise Lecture #4
Save Our StudentsSean McDowell


Judges 2:7 "The people served the Lord all the days of Joshua....Another generation grew up that forsook the Lord and did evil in his sight."

58-88% of Christian high school graduates will deny their faith within four years of college. The difference between those who falter and those who don’t is having an ingrained Christian worldview. It's being able to think biblically about all components of life.

32% of students who fell away did so because of intellectual skepticism, they didn't think that Christianity answers significant questions about life. One of the primary reasons that ministry to teenagers fails to produce a lasting faith is because they aren't being taught to think.
There are two main areas of students' lives that the church is missing. Students are hurting relationally. They're separated and alienated from significant relationships with adults that will give them the support they need. And teenagers don’t know how to think. They don’t have the rational skills to develop a coherent worldview. Consequently, they compartmentalize their beliefs.


A worldview is a mental map of reality. If our mental map matches up, we know the truth; if not, it leads to confusion. The more accurate our worldview is, the better able we are to live in the power of God for His Kingdom.

10% of conservative Protestant students believe God created the world, but is not involved in it today.

8% believe God is impersonal like a cosmic force. Put these first two statistics together and almost 1/5 of students don’t think God is involved in their lives. This has real consequences in their lives.

One third say they maybe or definitely believe in reincarnation.
23% are not assured of the reality of miracles. They apparently don’t believe the resurrection is real.


42% are not assured of the existence of evil spirits. How can they deal with the onslaught of temptation when they don’t believe they are being tempted.

Nearly half believe many religions may be true. They won’t evangelize and they may hold loosely to their convictions if they think there aren’t real consequences to them.
People who have a biblical worldview are much more likely to act like jesus because they see such things as life, people, and crises differently than most people do.


If we don't intentionally and consciously train our children to have a biblical worldview they will unintentionally and unconsciously adopt contrary views. Our job is to train young people to know that they know truth. Our people are filled with people who know truth, but they don’t know that they know truth. And that’s where courage and conviction comes from.
Which word is used more in Christian circles – faith or knowledge? Faith. Which is used more in the Bible? Knowledge. 1 John has the word "know" or a derivative in about 1/4 of the verses. Many Christian students believe Christianity is a preference claim rather than a truth claim.


67% of college students said that faith is very or extremely important in their lives. However, when the same question was posed open-ended, what is important in your life, hardly any mentioned religion or spirituality. Few mentioned any significant way religion influences their lives. Religion is compartmentalized and doesn’t shape their lives. The language that dominates adolescent interests and thinking about life is personal feeling and desire. But that is also the case with adults. That's where they get it.


Engage in worldview discussions with children. The best way parents can help their children become and stay Christian is to engage in discussions about Christian values and how it interprets and directs life. Conversation is the best way to shape worldview. Discuss movies. Discuss decisions. Discuss ideas. Model and explain how Christianity provides solutions and ways of thinking about the practical aspects of life.

Sean's experience is that teenagers are more open and interested in discussions these things than we often think. They'll respond well when engaged consistently and seriously.

Welcome to College

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1 Comments:

Blogger Barry said...

I think Sean is right that teenagers leave the faith when they enter college because they are not trained to think. BUT, thinking involves asking tough questions. Questions that might lead you to disagree with someone elses observations. Such as what a biblical worldview actually is.
Would Sean encourage thinking that was outside of his biblical worldview? And who determines what the biblical worldview is anyway?
Overall, I think he is right. He should also take into consideration that college students are pretty selfish, me included. We will deny it up and down but our number one priority is us. This means we are more likely to do what makes us happy and that isn't something that fits into anyones biblical worldview.

August 17, 2008 at 2:03 PM  

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