“Everything kept coming back to worldview.”– Dr. George Barna
What does it take to raise “spiritual champions” – children who are grounded in a Biblical worldview and grow into faithful, bold, unwavering Christian adults? Dr. George Barna’s extensive research, which encompassed over 200 national studies, led him to a resounding conclusion – everything comes back to worldview.
“I think it’s incumbent upon us to crack the code on worldview because if we don’t, we will continue to stumble in the dark.” – Dr. George Barna
In a thought-provoking discussion on the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast, Yvette Hampton sat down with Dr. Barna to discuss his findings and share the lessons he has learned for establishing a sound Biblical worldview in our children. Now a grandfather, Dr. Barna reflects on his own age and the urgency he feels to finish well in the remaining years of his life, while passing on the lessons he has learned to his children and grandchildren. He says, “I don’t know how many years the Lord’s going to give me yet, but I figure, okay, I’ve got more years behind me than in front of me. So, I’ve got to figure out how to finish well.” Drawing from his vast research and experiences, he shares some key insights that we can all apply in parenting and discipling our own children.
Understanding the Worldview Crisis:
“Currently only 4% of adults in America possess a Biblical worldview.” – Dr. George Barna
Throughout his career, regardless of the topic or group Dr. Barna studied, worldview remained a crucial determinant of outcomes. He believes that unlocking the code to establishing a Biblical worldview is an essential predictor of individual faithfulness, and it is absolutely critical if we are going to see any real revival in the church and culture.
In his words, “Everybody has a worldview. We need a worldview to get through the day. But the question isn’t do you have a worldview? It’s what worldview do you have? Because there are many different worldviews that you could possess. So, a Biblical worldview is just one of those options that lie before us. But a Biblical worldview essentially is one that says, ‘every decision I make, I’m going to filter through my knowledge and understanding and interpretation of what the Bible says. Because the Bible is absolute moral truth. The Bible is God’s guide for us of how to live a successful, thriving life.’ And so, we’ve always got to go back to what the Scriptures teach, what are the principles there?”
He continues, “We know that six out of ten adults in America claim that they have a Biblical worldview. But when we actually evaluate what they believe about God, about Jesus, about sin, about truth, about salvation, about morality, about character, about values, all of these things that the Bible teaches and more, what we know is that currently only 4% of adults in America possess a Biblical worldview. And less than one out of every ten individuals who are born again Christians, not because they call themselves that, but because they say when they die, they know they’ll go to heaven, but only because they’ve confessed their sins and embraced Jesus Christ as their Savior. With that, one third of the adult population, less than one out of ten has a Biblical worldview. So that’s why we have to measure these things very carefully and we can’t take what people tell us about their worldview at face value.”
Defining a Biblical Worldview – 7 Cornerstones:
Dr. Barna has identified seven cornerstones of a Biblical worldview. “I’m always looking for what are ways to make it easier for people to understand and pursue a Biblical worldview. I discovered that if you combine these seven particular beliefs and their related behaviors, they form a fantastic foundation for building a complete Biblical worldview. In essence, what I saw was that if you embrace all seven of these core beliefs, which are very simple biblical principles, but if you embrace all seven of them, you go on and have an 83% probability of developing a complete Biblical worldview. If you don’t embrace all seven of them, you’ve only got a 2% probability of developing a Biblical worldview.”
He identifies these seven cornerstones of a biblical worldview as follows:
First, “That you not only believe that there is a God who exists, but that you understand him to be the all-knowing, all-powerful Creator of the universe, who is perfect and holy and just, and is still involved in our lives today because he continues to love us and care about the decisions that we make.”
“The second cornerstone is recognizing that when we were born, we were born into sin. That’s our nature. We have sin nature.”
The third cornerstone is ”recognizing that but God made a provision for us. He recognizes that we’ve been born into sin and that that sin has negative consequences and that left to our own nature, we’ll continue to sin. So, he sent Jesus Christ to earth to die for our sin. God loved me enough that he’s willing to have Jesus to be my stand in, if you will, as a result of my sin.”
The fourth cornerstone is “knowing that I can know this because it’s in the Bible. God gives us the Bible and the Bible is true. It’s relevant and it’s reliable to the life of every person on earth. God gave it to us because he loves us so much. He knows we’re not going to figure this out on our own. So, he had it written down for us so that we can know how to thrive in life.”
The fifth cornerstone is knowing that we can “rely upon it because it is God’s truth. It is absolute moral truth. It’s something that reflects what truth is. God is the embodiment of all truth. And so, he’s codified that for us in his word.”
The sixth cornerstone of a Biblical worldview is knowing how to gauge success as a follower of Christ. Barna says, “How do I know when I’m successful? It’s that I’m being consistently obedient to God. That’s what success is. Success has nothing to do with money, has nothing to do with fame, has nothing to do with possessions, has nothing to do with college degrees. It has everything to do with my total commitment to doing everything I can to obey God.”
Finally, “the seventh of these cornerstones is knowing what my purpose in life is. We know from our current research that a majority of Millennials and Gen Z people say that they have trouble getting out of bed in the morning because they don’t know why they should. They don’t have a sense of purpose. They don’t have that sense of meaning. God gives it to us. And that meaning that we all have, and this is something we share in common, is that he made us to know and to love and to serve Him with all our heart and mind, strength and soul.”
Addressing the Worldview Crisis:
“Our research helped us to realize that parents and churches are not taking worldview formation seriously today.” – Dr. George Barna
According to Dr. Barna, America is currently experiencing a significant worldview crisis. This crisis will persist unless parents and churches actively shepherd, disciple, and direct the process of worldview formation.
Building a Solid Biblical Worldview:
Dr. Barna highlights the sobering fact that only 22% of parents with preteen children identify as born-again Christians, and a mere 8% among them have a true biblical worldview. Many assume they possess a Biblical worldview, yet they may struggle to articulate it and live contrary to its principles. Thus, the necessity of understanding what a biblical worldview truly entails is paramount.
“Only 1% of preteen kids in the U.S. have a biblical worldview; Only 58% of born-again Christian parents even claim their kids’ spiritual development is their responsibility.” – Dr. George Barna
Establishing a Strong Foundation:
“One of the things that shocked me, frankly, from the research with parents and children that we did last year is that most kids in America no longer trust their parents.” — Dr. George Barna
The importance of modeling a biblical worldview and cultivating a relationship of trust between parents and children cannot be emphasized enough. Dr. Barna suggests that through Socratic dialogue – asking questions that lead to discussion – parents can guide their children towards thinking independently and making decisions based on biblical principles. This approach nurtures a solid foundation for the parent-child relationship, guiding children even when parents are not present. In his book, RAISING SPIRITUAL CHAMPIONS, Nurturing Your Child’s Heart, Mind, and Soul, The Dr. Barna identifies four “disciple-making practices” that parents can employ to teach their children to know and follow Jesus Christ:
- Help them to develop a life-defining commitment to be a disciple of Jesus.
- Explore the biblical principles and commands that lead to thinking like Jesus.
- Facilitate the lifestyle of a disciple—obedience through the application of biblical beliefs.
- Introduce personal accountability and stability—through assessing what matters, reinforcing growth, and celebrating disciplehood.
“Effective parents held their kids accountable to their beliefs, even amidst their [children] expressing hatred toward them. They never wavered from what they believed, and they consistently demonstrated it through their lifestyle.” – Dr. George Barna
“You never give up. It’s never too late, no matter what a person’s age is. One of the things I discovered in another study I did is that God will use a crisis in a person’s life to cause them to sit back and reflect on to question whether or not they’re thinking rightly. And so rather than thinking of a crisis as an awful thing that we want to avoid, God uses crises in our life to transform us, to bring us back onto the right path.”— Dr. George Barna
In this enlightening episode of the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast, Dr. George Barna challenges parents and churches to prioritize their children’s spiritual development and embrace the task of raising spiritual champions. By understanding the importance of worldview and implementing intentional discipleship, we can equip the next generation to navigate the challenges of an increasingly secular world.
As Dr. Barna’s research indicates, the crisis of worldview is the foremost concern facing America today. However, armed with this knowledge and guided by the truth of God’s Word, parents have the power to change this trend and raise children who are firm in their faith, equipped to impact the world around them.
One of the nation’s most influential Christian leaders, Dr. George Barna is a professor at Arizona Christian University and Director of Research at the Cultural Research Center at ACU. He’s an expert on Worldview Studies, Christian Culture, and American Religious Life, Political Studies and Behavior, and the author of 60 books!
More on this Subject:
- What are some key outcomes that Dr. George Barna found in his national studies on worldview?
- Do you agree with Dr. Barna’s view that everything comes back to worldview? Why or why not?
- How have you seen Biblical worldview addressed in your church? Do you think that your church has been effective in teaching a Biblical Worldview?
- What do you think is the primary crisis in America today, according to Dr. Barna?
- Are you surprised by the statistics Dr. Barna shared about the number of parents with a biblical worldview? Why or why not?
- What do you think it means to have a biblical worldview? How would you define it?
- Do you agree with Dr. Barna’s suggestion of using Socratic dialogue with children to teach them biblical principles? Why or why not?
- How can we prioritize discipleship with children in our churches and homes? What changes might need to be made?
- How do you feel about the idea of outsourcing parenting and the potential impact of different worldviews being brought in by hired experts?
- What steps can we take to be more intentional about shaping the worldview of the next generation?