Reasons every parent should at least consider sending their student to the Engage Worldview Academy this year:
1. The great need:
Only 4% of students in Gen Z that claim to be a Christian have a Christian Worldview. If this is true, then our respond in discipleship must match the seriousness of the our state of Gen Z. The common theme that I have observed from several years being a youth minister and volunteering in youth ministry is that parents that don’t do serious worldview training with their student at home, at church or put their student in a rigorous worldview training program, then their student is extremely likely to embrace unbiblical ideologies and be ill-equipped for evangelism and standing firm in our cultural climate. With the rise of expressive individualism, dogmatic Darwinism and secular humanism and the internet making objections to Christianity more accessible, students are inundated more than ever with confused thinking and living.
2. Complementing the students education/discipleship:
This program can be a great complement to what you are doing with your education/discipleship (yes, education IS discipleship) with your teen. Also, since parents can choose to occasionally participate, they can benefit from the program as well!
With regular field trips doing worldview analysis and conversations with Muslims or students at UTEP, seeing dino soft tissue in labs, and guided creation hikes & more, students and parents will be able to grow together in many ways!
Granted, by nature of the material, it may be too difficult for those under 8th grade, but I think most upper middle school-college aged students will greatly enjoy the material.
Their school work may improve:
In many, you may see it improve their work in their regular school work as a result of growth in their skills in logic, debate and love for God and theology that leads to doxology (the worship of God).
A program like this is not a novelty within the church. The early church had month long catechism classes in Christian doctrine, apologetics and worldview in light of the pagan culture. Francis Schaeffer did the same with L’Abri, Ligonier is still doing the same thing, Maven has immersive trips for students in worldview training, Summit and Impact 360 have gap years to do this exact thing. So, we are trying to do something similar to these programs in our own area. Currently, our price is very cheap, but will probably go up as we add on various instructors over time. So, right now is a good time to be a part of the Academy!
3. It is doable:
“I think the workload will be too heavy to do the Academy alongside of our current education program.”
The level of engagement with the reading and Academy schedule is up to each individual. If someone wants to receive one of our Engage Certificates, then they will want to do all of the assignments. However, if someone isn’t able to do all of the weekly assigned reading, then they can scale it down and show up to learn and participate in discussions and Engage Day events. The tuition price is the same if one decides to scale it back in the reading (whether full or jr. Academy), but I see it as a good option to manage alongside current schooling (particularly for homeschoolers). At the end of the day, each parent or college student has to decide if they can manage the workload of any extra-curricular activities. We believe physical training is important, but want to gently encourage parents to also consider worldview training as a worthy endeavor (1 Timothy 4:8). Many homeschoolers and public school Christian students participate in extra-curricular activities like sports, robotics club, drama groups and weigh how much they can manage with their current school workload. There are many good Christian programs out there, but none of them (to my knowledge) have a lot of space for regular in-depth worldview training, cultural engagement/evangelism and worldview analysis.
Yes, there are currently many education options that offer a good starting point in a defense of the Christian worldview, logic and debate and worldview analysis (I tutor in an excellent Christian program myself that does this!); however, I think we can complement those programs even more. For example, many Christian programs may give a decent introduction on Darwinism vs. Creationism, yet students in public school and Universities get an intermediate to advanced level engagement in Darwinism, Critical Social Theories, critical social justice, secular humanism and more. It’s important that we create space for students to interact with the leading philosophies of our day and test them against scripture.
What’s more, many Christian programs (church or a school) may give a glossary introduction on the reliability and preservation of scripture and the canon, yet it is weak compared to the university level pushback that students later receive that say that the Exodus never happened, scripture is corrupted or that Sola Scriptura is a recent invention!
4. It can help prepare your student to be an ambassador of Christ in their chosen career path:
In the words of J. Warner Wallace, “we don’t need another one million dollar apologists, we need a million one dollar apologists.” We need Christians everywhere to understand that training in a defense of the Christian worldview is a necessity for every believer. Anti-intellectualism is part of the reason the church is struggling so much right now. We don't need more fluff and pragmatism, we need more in-depth discipleship. Why not encourage our future creation scientists to start researching now and give them a platform to start sharing their research and debating these ideas when they are young? Academy students can get trained and become one of our paid local creation tour guides as one of the benefits of participating in the academy.
Why not model evangelism and create space for students to thoughtfully reflect on various worldview perspectives that may encounter with unbelievers in our own city? Why not give space for students to learn how to make a legal case for the abolition of abortion, the case for Biblical marriage and how homosexuality and transgender ideology is harming our society and how the Biblical worldview actually has a high view on what a man or woman is. Why not create space for students to learn how to define what a human right is and what it is not and do that in the public square? Why not encourage the next generation to be effective case makers in our culture on above issues (and more) and encourage them to bring the gospel to bear on every cultural idol? Why not teach students to reflect deeply on church history and how that can shape our witness to the secular world today?
Creating a space like this is very much influenced by some of the early church fathers that created an academy like this (I.e. Justin Martyr & Origen) and is an old path that is worth revisiting today.
The Academy can be the perfect next step after our Engage Truth Summer camp!
Also, yes, we are influenced by the Classical Christian model in how we approach our Academy structure (Socratic dialogue, logic, debate, natural theology and more) and believe it’s important for believers to cultivate thoughtful engagement with the world. Consequently, we hope the body of Christ will be strengthened and the lost will be reached!
5. It is affordable:
If you want to do the Academy and the only reason you aren't sure you want to come is because of the cost of the books and the tuition, please reach out to use. We have a network of many people that would like to help you fundraise or give for our Academy scholarship fund. For example, every single camper that wanted to attend our first Engage Truth Summer camp that needed a scholarship was ABLE to attend. Thank you to our many generous supporters!!!
Concluding remarks: If one doesn’t do our program, I hope that we have at least made a case for Christian parents and youth pastors to more regularly provide a similar level of training/discipleship for their own students.
We are not saying that our program is the only answer, but wanted to make you more aware of what we are trying to accomplish with more Christian parents and their students!
We believe that students need to continue to develop skills in evangelism, character, wisdom, sharing the gospel, and a defense of the Christian worldview in the public square! Everyone Christian is a theologian and apologists because we are all ambassadors of Christ (2 Cor. 5:20).
Parents and students: Will you join us this fall?