U.N.I.T.E.D. (BEHIND THE ACRONYM)
UNDERSTAND THE BIBLE
As 2 Tim 3:16-17 says, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” One of our goals at UNITED is to help students develop the skills to interpret Scripture correctly and form the spiritual discipline to read it. God has chosen to reveal himself and his message to us through the holy Scriptures. Using a good hermeneutic, our goal as Christians is to uncover these truths. This is done by examining who wrote the book, the audience, the context, the setting, the literary genre, word translations, and much more.
Additionally, we should be looking at the cohesive nature of the entirety of the Bible: Creation, Fall, Redemption, and Restoration, and how the books of the Bible together form the overarching story of reality. Giving students this big perspective helps them to see how God’s Word applies to their lives as an entire worldview and not as a few verses thrown on top of a self-determined worldview.
How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth by Fee & Stuart
The Story of Reality: How the World Began, How It Ends, and Everything Important That Happens in Between by Greg Koukl
NAVIGATE THE CULTURE
It isn’t hard to see the difficulties that this next generation face today. As Christians, we are not a part of this world, but Jesus has purposely sent us into this world (John 17:16, 18). How do we help our students navigate the bumpy cultural road map while walking out their purpose to help restore a culture that is increasingly hostile to Christianity? At UNITED, our mission is to help these students learn how to think, not to tell them what to think.
One way in which we do this is to bring tough cultural issues down to a worldview level which helps to expose the flaws in bad ideas and reveal faulty thinking. The goal is to equip these students to recognize and critically assess ideas in our culture for themselves while realizing that we are in spiritual battle with the enemy not people (Eph 6:12). Then they will be more empowered to better love and serve those around them. Our aim is for them to “put on the full armor of God” and “demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, taking every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ,” (Eph 6:13, 2 Cor 10:5) all for the glory of our Father in heaven.
A Practical Guide to Culture: Helping the Next Generation Navigate Today’s World by Stonestreet & Kunkle
So the Next Generation Will Know: Preparing Young Christians for a Challenging World by McDowell & Wallace
INTENTIONALLY SEEK TRUTH
One thing we know for certain in regards to fostering a biblical worldview in the next generation is that it will not happen by accident. We need to be intentional and prayerful in helping the next generation to love and seek what is true, good, and beautiful. One way of doing this is to cultivate a passion for truth in our students. Jesus is “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6, emphasis mine). The Father gave us “the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him” (John 14:17).
As Jesus illuminates in these verses, we do live in a culture that devalues, even disregards, the truth in exchange for comfortable lies. The decline of truth into our current era of postmodernism is characterized by phrases such as “live your truth” and “you do you.” Truth and morality have become relative to the whim of the individual. It’s difficult for students not to incorporate this erosion of truth into their own worldview lens unless they are intentional in their quest for truth. As a fish doesn’t realize it’s wet, we naturally imbibe ideas in culture without realizing it. At UNITED, our goal is to teach the difference between subjective and objective truth claims, making sure students understand that Christianity falls into the second category.
Total Truth by Nancy Pearcey
Relativism: Feet Firmly Planted in Mid-Air by Beckwith & Koukl
Live Your Truth and Other Lies: Exposing Popular Deceptions That Make us Anxious, Exhausted, and Self-Obsessed by Alisa Childers
Dutch philosopher and theologian Abraham Kuyper once said, “There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry, ‘Mine’!” In Matthew 28:18, Jesus prefaced the Great Commission by saying “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me." He reigns over all. Our goal at UNITED is to cultivate a biblical worldview in the next generation that refuses to compartmentalize spiritual beliefs. The Christian worldview is big enough to encompass all of reality, and there is a biblical way to think about everything. As C.S. Lewis once said, “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the Sun has risen, not only because I see it but because by it, I see everything else.”
Jesus is the source of truth, and His claims affect every aspect of reality. It isn’t realistic to view some things through a biblical lens and view others with the truth of Christ placed in our back pocket. This is called syncretism which causes our worldview, or lens through which we make sense of life, to be inconsistent and even contradictory. What we believe should inform our thinking which in turn should inform how we live, work, play, and relate with the world around us. As such, we seek to help the next generation to intentionally think through the way they think about everything.
How Now Shall We Live? by Colson and Pearcey
Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
EQUIPPED TO LIVE FAITHFULLY
As Christians, we know what we’re saved from, but what are we saved for? We are all called, every one of us, to be salt and light in a decaying and dark world (Matt 5:13-16). Many Christians today put their focus on sin and salvation only while restoration is often forgotten. But we must remember, as John Stonestreet of the Colson Center for Christian Worldview says, that while salvation is always personal, it’s never private. The Christian life doesn’t stop at salvation. We are a people whose redeemed lives should be transforming everything around us. We are called to know God and make Him known to the world around us so that we may glorify our Father in Heaven.
At UNITED, our goal is to help equip teens to live this faithful Christian life by first loving God and then loving others through that lens. We want to cultivate a heart in teens for what is good, true, and beautiful. We want to provide clarity and help them develop and confidently maintain a coherent biblical worldview. This must be done with intentionality, while consistently fostered within the home (Deut 6:7), as nobody is immune from the powerful influence of the secularism that surrounds us. We want the next generation to be confident about what they believe, why they believe it, and why it matters. We want them to bring unaddressed doubts to light and help them to think through them. It is our constant prayer that UNITED may ultimately be used by God in helping teens to “not conform to the pattern of this world” (Rom 12:2) but rather to be conformed to Christ alone.
Faithfully Different: Regaining Biblical Clarity in a Secular Culture by Natasha Crain
Rethink Your Self: The Power of Looking Up Before Looking In by Trevin Wax
DISCERN THE TIMES
In today’s secular culture, the prevailing worldview is expressive individualism which is based on the authority of the self and an emphasis on self-expression without judgement. Christians are called the opposite way to deny ourselves and to place God as the rightful authority of our lives. When these two worldviews collide, we often see confusion arise amidst a battle of conflicting ideas. In order to better discern how to think about these ideas, we need to better discern the times in which we live. John Stonestreet says, “Ideas have consequences. Bad ideas have victims.” Understanding where and how these bad ideas originate and propagate is critical in our discernment as we can’t refute that which we don’t understand.
First Chronicles 12:32 talks about the men of Issachar “who understood the times and knew what Israel should do.” Like them, it is wise for today’s Christians to have an understanding of the times in which we live in order to respond appropriately to the circumstances surrounding us. Therefore, one of our goals at UNITED is to help students understand the time and place in which God has intentionally situated them. (Acts 17:26) When we understand our place and positioning in God’s story, we can be more empowered to live purposefully, bringing healing to a hurting world.
Strange New World: How Thinkers and Activists Redefined Identity and Sparked the Sexual Revolution by Carl Trueman
Mama Bear Apologetics by Hillary Morgan Ferrer
Why You Think the Way You Do: The Story of Western Worldviews from Rome to Home by Glenn S. Sunshine