Sam Smith serves as the managing editor of the Worldview Church and pastors in the lower peninsula of northern Michigan. Owen Smith is a first-year student in Computer Science at Oakland University (Michigan), is involved with the CRU ministry, and attends a great church while away from home.
Three years ago, my wife and I encouraged Owen, our fourth-born child who would soon be entering his junior year in high school, to attend a two-week, Summit Ministries conference. Though this sixteen-year-old’s biblical worldview was grounded in the promises of Scripture, we had not provided adequate instruction to help Owen develop a well-shaped, biblical worldview. As with each of our five children, we understood that parents are to equip them with more than vocational skills. They are to understand how the Lord made each to live within God’s big picture and according to His way of life.
Because my wife and I were anticipating that Owen would attend college, we knew that he could find himself lacking skills to discern contrary worldviews that would guide his future instructors. Also, we observed how often the children of our peers departed “the Faith” after leaving the “nest.” In part, we knew that the local church was at fault in not responding to the daunting challenges that our emerging culture is advancing. Not only has the broader culture ceased to be aware of a biblical worldview, but even local churches seldom set forth creation's design, lay out the narrative of redemptive history, and our calling to advance the Kingdom until the new (re)creation comes with Jesus' return. We knew that opportunities for Owen to learn these things well were diminishing.
In the summer of 2010, I arrived on Bryan College campus (Dayton, Tennessee) to see the closing session of the two-week Summit conference. It was an emotional experience for me to gaze upon an arising generation with a passion for both worship and the Word. Later, as my family was in route from Michigan to the Gulf Coast area, on the drive down through Tennessee, Owen peppered us with “did you know . . .” questions. Even more, it was deeply satisfying to realized that my son was not only moving into manhood but would be capable of giving a defense of his own convictions, both with intellectual competency as well as with the true commitment that a follower of Jesus Christ must have.
If you are a pastor, this is the time to promote worldview thinking to parents and their kids, and we unreservedly endorse Summit Ministries. It was one of Chuck Colson’s favorites in assisting parents to equip their teens. John Stonestreet, one of our leading Colson Center voices, continues as one Summit’s lead teachers.
“This Mantel”, the name of my blog, is about the challenge of the local church pastor to offer effective leadership toward real, kingdom-building objectives. We invite you to send your comments here.