10.30.17

Hi! I am praying for you right now! Our Fall Training in COS starts this Saturday and we would love your prayers!!!!
 
Daily Prayer Email: Please send ALL prayer requests for your class to: studentcbsprayer@gmail.com
 
Quotes:
Jesus promised his disciples three things—that they would be completely fearless, absurdly happy, and in constant trouble. #barclay
 
It’s not the size of the challenges; it’s your view of the challenges life brings you that determines your odds of victory. #furtick
 
Every man knocking on the door of a brothel is looking for God. 

God is knocking on the door of every brothel looking for man.  #bethke
 
If you wanna be a “leader” in the eyes of Jesus, get busy becoming a servant. #johnson
 
FYI:
1. Snapchat among teens gains… https://www.emarketer.com/Article/Snapchats-Status-Among-Teens-Notches-Another-Gain/1016615
 
2. 3 Questions for parents to ask before saying “yes” to another activity… http://michaelkelley.co/2017/10/3-questions-for-parents-to-ask-before-you-say-yes-to-another-activity/
 
3. 4 Ways to Learn Beside Your Kids to Strengthen Their Faith… http://coldcasechristianity.com
 
4. Poem by Annie Flint (below)
 
Here is what I just posted on the blogwww.studentcbsblog.org 
 
Updated: Are Young People Really Leaving the Church by J. Warner Wallace (Please read! Long but very important!)
Generation Z Under Academic Pressure by Karla Fernandez Parker
The Masked Generation: Five Ways to Build Confidence by Tim Elmore
A Growing Share of Americans Say It’s Not Necessary to Believe in God to be Moral by Gregory Smith

Here are 2 video links I think you might like to see:

http://www.youthworker.com/mini-movies/70042/who-i-am-in-christ?utm_source=YouthWorker%20Newsletter%20-%20NEW&utm_medium=email&utm_content=who_i_am_in_christ&utm_campaign=fp-10/24/2017-2257853
 
http://www.worshiphousekids.com/kids-worship-song-tracks/66467/amen?utm_source=WorshipHouse%20Media%20-%20Kids&utm_medium=email&utm_content=product1&utm_campaign=nl-10/28/2017-2258799
 
Here are 2 just for you:
 
Nine Promises for Battling Anxiety – By JOHN PIPER (Thank you Debbie!)
 
“Stop for a moment and think how many different sinful actions and attitudes come from anxiety. Anxiety about finances can give rise to coveting and greed and hoarding and stealing. Anxiety about succeeding at some task can make you irritable and abrupt and surly. Anxiety about relationships can make you withdrawn and indifferent and uncaring about other people. Anxiety about how someone will respond to you can make you cover over the truth and lie about things. So if anxiety could be conquered, a lot of sins would be overcome.
 
Let us follow the pattern of Jesus and Paul. Today, battle the unbelief of anxiety with the promises of God. Here are nine of those promises:
 
When I am anxious about some risky new venture or meeting, I battle unbelief with the promise: “Fear not for I am with you, be not dismayed for I am your God; I will help you, I will strengthen you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).
 
When I am anxious about my ministry being useless and empty, I fight unbelief with the promise, “So shall my word that goes forth from my mouth; it will not come back to me empty but accomplish that which I purpose, and prosper in the thing for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11).
 
When I am anxious about being too weak to do my work, I battle unbelief with the promise of Christ, “My grace is sufficient for you, my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9), and “As your days so shall your strength be” (Deuteronomy 33:25).
 
When I am anxious about decisions I have to make about the future, I battle unbelief with the promise, “I will instruct you and teach you the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you” (Psalm 32:8).
When I am anxious about facing opponents, I battle unbelief with the promise, “If God is for us who can be against us!” (Romans 8:31).
 
When I am anxious about being sick, I battle unbelief with the promise that “tribulation works patience, and patience approved-ness, and approved-ness hope, and hope does not make us ashamed” (Romans 5:3–5).
 
When I am anxious about getting old, I battle unbelief with the promise, “Even to your old age I am he, and to gray hairs I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save” (Isaiah 46:4).
 
When I am anxious about dying, I battle unbelief with the promise that “none of us lives to himself and none of us dies to himself; if we live we live to the Lord and if we die we die to the Lord. So whether we live or die we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and rose again: that he might be Lord both of the dead and the living” (Romans 14:8–9).
 
When I am anxious that I may make shipwreck of faith and fall away from God, I battle unbelief with the promise, “He who began a good work in you will complete it unto the day of Christ” (Philippians 1:6). “He who calls you is faithful. He will do it” (1 Thessalonians 5:23). “He is able for all time to save those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25).”
 
 
The greatest of virtues

Two essential words deserve special attention– Thank you!

Gratitude is a mindful awareness of the benefits of life. It is the greatest of virtues. Studies link it with a variety of positive effects. Grateful people tend to be more empathetic and forgiving of others; less envious, less materialistic and less self-centered.

Gratitude improves self-esteem and enhances relationships, quality of sleep, and longevity. If it came in pill form, gratitude would be deemed the miracle cure. It’s no wonder that God’s anxiety therapy includes a large, delightful dollop of gratitude.

The anxious heart says, “Lord, if only I had this, that, or the other, I’d be okay.” The grateful heart says, “Oh look! You’ve already given me this, that, and the other. Thank you, God.”

Worry refuses to share the heart with gratitude. One heartfelt thank-you will suck oxygen out of worry’s world. So say it often!

 
Poem:

He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater,
He sendeth more strength when the labors increase;
To added afflictions He addeth His mercy,
To multiplied trials, His multiplied grace.

When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
When our strength has failed ere the day is half done,
When we reach the end of our hoarded resources
Our Father’s full giving is only begun.

Fear not that thy need shall exceed His provision,
Our God ever yearns His resources to share;
Lean hard on the arm everlasting, availing;
The Father both thee and thy load will upbear.

His love has no limits, His grace has no measure,
His power no boundary known unto men;
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus
He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again.

Blessings, Kendall

10.30.17

Updated: Are Young People Really Leaving the Church by J. Warner Wallace

coldcasechristianity.com

Much has been written about both the Biblical illiteracy of teenage believers and the flight of young people from the Church. Many have observed this trend, and I too have witnessed it anecdotally as a youth pastor (and shamefully, I contributed to the trend for some time before I changed course). Some writers and Christian observers deny the flight of young people altogether, but the growing statistics should alarm us enough as Church leaders to do something about the dilemma. My hope in this post is to simply consolidate some of the research (many of the summaries are directly quoted) so you can decide for yourself. I’m going to organize the recent findings in a way that illuminates the problem:

Research Related to Spiritual Life of Teenagers:

Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers
Christian Smith and Melinda Lundquist Denton, Oxford University Press, 2005

Book Findings: The majority of teenagers are incredibly inarticulate about their faith, religious beliefs and practices, and its place in their lives. The de facto dominant religion among contemporary U.S. teenagers is what they call ‘Moralistic Therapeutic Deism’: A God exists who created and orders the world and watches over human life on earth; God wants people to be good, nice, and fair to each other, as taught in the Bible and by most world religions; the central goal of life is to be happy and to feel good about oneself; God does not need to be particularly involved in one’s life except when God is needed to resolve a problem; and good people go to heaven when they die.

Book Findings: Dean affirms what Soul Searching called ‘Moralistic Therapeutic Deism’ “If teenagers lack an articulate faith, it may be because the faith we show them is too spineless to merit much in the way of conversation.”

Book Findings: More teens are embracing a nebulous belief in God. Yet there’s been an “explosion” in youth service since 1995 that Lewis attributes to more schools emphasizing community service.

The State of Theology
Ligonier Ministries and Lifeway Research (2015)

Study Findings: In this survey of theological beliefs, researchers asked self-professing Christians to respond to a series of statements related to classic, historic Christian doctrine. In every answer offered related to these theological beliefs, young people between the ages of 18 and 34 consistently held heretical views at a higher percentage than older respondents. Young people who identify themselves as Christians, are far more likely to hold views that aren’t Christian.

Research Related to the Attitude of College Professors:

Politics and Professional Advancement Among College Faculty
Stanley Rothman, S. Robert Lichter, Neil Nevitte (2005)

Study Findings: “Nearly three-quarters” (72%) of faculty members describe themselves as politically liberal, according to 1999 data from the North American Academic Study Survey (NAASS), up from 39 percent in a 1984 survey by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

Study Findings: About 25% of college professors are professing atheists or agnostics (5-7% of the general population is atheistic or agnostic). Only 6% of college professors said the Bible is “the actual word of God”. 51% described it as “an ancient book of fables, legends, history and moral precepts.” 75% believe religion does not belong in public schools.

The Religious Beliefs and Behavior of College Faculty
The Institute for Jewish & Community Research Review – Staff (2007)

Study Findings: The study revealed several findings related to the political and religious views of professors, including the following key discoveries:

Most Faculty Believe in God, but Atheism Is Significantly More Prevalent among Faculty Than the General Public
The proportion of faculty who self-identified as atheist is over five times the proportion of people who self-identified as atheist in the general public.

Faculty Are Much Less Religious Than the General Public
The American public is much more likely to say that religion is very important in their everyday lives and to attend religious services more frequently than faculty.

Faculty Feel Warmly about Most Religious Groups, but Feel Coldly about Evangelicals and Mormons
Faculty have positive feelings toward Jews, Buddhists, Catholics, and Atheists.

Faculty Feel Most Unfavorably about Evangelical Christians
This is the only religious group about which a majority of non-Evangelical faculty have negative feelings.

Faculty Are Almost Unanimous in Their Belief That Evangelical Christians (Fundamentalists) Should Keep Their Religious Beliefs Out of American Politics
Faculty who are secular/liberal are more likely to favor separation of religion and government, and those who are religious and conservative are more likely to advocate a closer connection between religion and government.

Although Faculty Generally Oppose Religion in the Public Sphere, Many Endorse the Idea That Muslims Should Express Their Religious Beliefs in American Politics
Faculty are far less likely to endorse Evangelical Christians expressing their beliefs in American politics.”

Compromising Scholarship; Religious and Political Bias in American Higher Education
George Yancey (2011)

Book Findings: “Religiously conservative academics are at a distinct disadvantage in our institutions of learning, threatening the free exchange of ideas to which our institutions aspire and leaving many scientific inquiries unexplored.”

Research Related to the Decreasing Christian Population in General

American Religious Identification Survey
Barry A. Kosmin, Egon Mayer, and Ariela Keysar (2001)

Study Findings: The number of people who identify themselves as Christian has dropped from 85% in 1990 to 76% in 2008. About 52% of American adults identify themselves as Protestant or other non-Catholic Christian denominations, according to the. That’s down from 60% in 1990.

America’s Changing Religious Landscape
Pew Research Center (2015)

Study Findings: “The percentage of adults (ages 18 and older) who describe themselves as Christians has dropped by nearly eight percentage points in just seven years, from 78.4% in an equally massive Pew Research survey in 2007 to 70.6% in 2014. Over the same period, the percentage of Americans who are religiously unaffiliated – describing themselves as atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular” – has jumped more than six points, from 16.1% to 22.8%.”

Gallop Religious Identification Poll
Gallop Daily Tracking, Frank Newport (2015)

Study Findings: While the number of Americans identifying as Christians is still high (75%), it has dropped 5% since 2008

Five Key Findings on Religion in the U.S.
Gallop National Poll (2016)

Study Findings: This national poll about the religious affiliation of Americans revealed the following (among other findings):

1. America remains a largely Christian nation, although less so than in the past. 74% of Americans identify as some form a Christian, only 5% identify as affiliated with a non-Christian religion. when last polled in 2008, 80% of Americans identified themselves as Christian.
2. The trend away from formal religion continues. Approximately 21% of Americans say they are either atheist, agnostic, or have no religious affiliation. This is up 6% since 2008.
3. Americans continue to say that religion is losing its influence in American society. 72% of Americans say that religion is losing its influence on American life.

Research Related to the Flight of Young People from the Church

Why Christian Kids Leave the Faith
Tom Bisset, Discovery House Publishers (1997)

Book Findings: In this very early study, Tom Bisset interviewed people and asked them when, why, and how they abandoned their faith. He identified four prominent reasons:

1. They left because they had troubling, unanswered questions about the faith.
2. They left because their faith was not “working” for them.
3. They left because they allowed other things to take priority.
4. They left because they never personally owned their faith.

Southern Baptist Convention Data
Pinkney, T.C., Remarks to the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee, Nashville, Tennessee (2001)

Study Findings: Data from the Southern Baptist Convention indicates that they are currently losing 70-88% of their youth after their freshman year in college. 70% of teenagers involved in church youth groups stop attending church within two years of their high school graduation.

“The Religiosity Cycle”
Gallop Poll Study (2002)

Study Findings: The results indicate that teens are more religious during their early teen years, and that religiosity begins to decline as teens near adulthood. When asked, “How important are your religious beliefs?”, 63% of 13- to 15-year-olds answered “very important,” compared to 52% of 16- to 17-year-olds. Church attendance also drops during the teen and young adult years and begins to climb as adults age. Fifty-four percent of teens aged 13 to 15 reported having attended church in the past seven days, as did 51% of 16- to 17-year-old teens. The figure drops to 32% among 18- to 29- year-olds but rises again to 44% among 50- to 64-year-olds and 60% among those aged 75 and older. 69% percent of 13- to 15-year-olds report being members of a church or synagogue, compared to 59% of 16- to 17-year-olds, 60% of 18- to 29-year-olds, 72% of 50- to 64-year-olds, and 80% of those aged 75 and older.

The Southern Baptist Convention’s Family Life Council
Southern Baptist Council on Family Life report to Annual Meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention (2002)

Study Findings:  88% of the children in evangelical homes leave church at the age of 18

Revolution
George Barna, Tyndale House Publishers, Carol Stream, IL (2005)

Book Findings: If current trends in the belief systems and practices of the younger generation continue, in ten years, church attendance will be half the size it is today.

Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers
Christian Smith and Melinda Lundquist Denton, Oxford University Press (2005)

Book Findings: Students leave faith behind primarily because of intellectual doubt and skepticism (page 89). “Why did they fall away from the faith in which they were raised?” This was an open-ended question there were no multiple-choice answers. 32% said they left faith behind because of intellectual skepticism or doubt. (“It didn’t make any sense anymore.” “Some stuff is too far-fetched for me to believe.” “I think scientifically and there is no real proof.” “Too many questions that can’t be answered.”)

Study Findings: A majority of twenty-somethings – 61% of today’s young adults – had been churched at one point during their teen years but they are now spiritually disengaged.

The Last Christian Generation
Josh McDowell,  David H. Bellis, Green Key Books (2006)

Book Findings: 63% of teenaged Christians don’t believe that Jesus is the Son of the one true God. 51% don’t believe that Jesus rose from the dead. 68% don’t believe that the Holy Spirit is a real entity. Only 33% of churched youth have said that the church will play a part in their lives when they leave home.

Assemblies of God Study
Dayton A. Kingsriter (2007)

Study Findings: At least half and possibly over two-thirds of Christian young people will step away from the Christian faith while attending a non-Christian college or university. Between 50% and 66.7% of Assemblies of God young 
people who attend a non-Christian public or private university will have left the faith 
four years after entering college.

LifeWay Research Study
LifeWay Research and Ministry Development (2007)

Study Findings: 70% will leave the faith in college. Only 35% eventually return. 7 in 10 Protestants ages 18 to 30 – both evangelical and mainline – who went to church regularly in high school said they quit attending by age 23. 34% of those said they had not returned, even sporadically, by age 30. That means about one in four Protestant young people have left the church. “The most frequent reason for leaving church is, in fact, a self-imposed change, ‘I simply wanted a break from church’ (27%).” “The path toward college and the workforce are also strong reasons for young people to leave church: ‘I moved to college and stopped attending church’ (25%) and ‘work responsibilities prevented me from attending’ (23%).”

Unchristian
Barna Research Group director David Kinnaman, Baker Books; (2007)

Book Findings: Christians in their 20s are “significantly less likely to believe a person’s faith in God is meant to be developed by involvement in a local church. This life stage of spiritual disengagement is not going to fade away.”

Rethink: Is Student Ministry Working?
Steve Wright, InQuest Ministries, Inc. (2007)

Book Findings: 63% don’t believe Jesus is the Son of the one true God. 58% believe all faiths teach equally valid truths. 51% don’t believe Jesus rose from the dead. 65% don’t believe Satan is a real entity. 68% don’t believe the Holy Spirit is a real entity

Religious and Political Self-Identification, 1990-2008
Barry A. Kosmin & Juhem Navarro-Rivera (2008)

Study Findings: This research, based on the American Religious Identification Survey 2008, addresses the religious beliefs and behaviors of those born from the early to mid-1960s to the late 1970s to early 1980s:

1. Generation X has weakened its ties to Christianity (85% in 1990 v. 75% in 2008)
2. Generation X has secularized over time. In 1990 11% were Nones compared to16% in 2008; 13% of Generation X did not identify with a religion (including Don’t Know and refusals) in 1990, compared to 21% in 2008
3. Generation X Christian groups became more female dominated over time (with the exception of the Protestant Sects) while the Nones and Other Religions became more male dominated.

Book Findings: Among American adults, emerging adults are significantly less religious.
Generally speaking, the importance and practice of religion declines among young adults. No more than 15% of the total emerging adult population, embrace a strong religious faith. 30% tend to customize their faith to fit the rest of their lives. They often have strong religious upbringing but tend to be more discriminating about what they will adopt. A smaller group, about 15%, believe in some higher power but are not sure what that is or means. About 25% of the emerging adult population may claim to be religious or even appreciate religion—but it simply does not matter. 5% of all emerging adults have had little to no exposure to religious people, ideas, or organizations. 10% of emerging adults are  skeptical of religion and reject the idea of personal faith. They tend to hold critical, derogatory, and antagonistic attitudes towards religion.

Book Findings: 90% of youth active in high school church programs drop out of church by the time they are sophomores on college.

Already Gone: Why your kids will quit church and what you can do to stop it
Ken Ham, Britt Beemer, with Todd Hillard, New Leaf Publishing Group/Master Books (2009)

Book Findings: Church youth already are “lost” in their hearts and minds in elementary, middle and high school – not in college as many assume.

Book Findings: “Unless religious leaders take younger adults more seriously, the future of American religion is in doubt.” The proportion of young adults identifying with mainline churches, is “about half the size it was a generation ago. Evangelical Protestants have barely held their own.”

“Spirituality in Higher Education”: The Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA
Alexander W. Astin, Helen S. Astin, and Jennifer A. Lindholm (2010)

Study Findings: 52% of college students reported frequent church attendance the year before they entered college but only 29% continued frequent church attendance by their junior year.

College Transition Project
The Fuller Youth Institute (2010)

Study Findings: Current data seems “to suggest that about 40-50% of students in youth groups struggle in their faith after graduation.”

Book Findings: The departure of young people from the Church is acknowledged and several categories of “leavers” are identified, including “Post Modern Leavers”, “Recoilers”, “Modern Leavers”, “Neo Pagans”, “Rebels” and “Drifters.

You Lost Me: Why Young Christians Are Leaving Church . . . and Rethinking Faith
David Kinnaman, Baker Books (2011)

Book Findings: Nearly three out of every five young Christians disconnect from their churches after the age of 15.

Lost in Transition: The Dark Side of Emerging Adulthood
Christian Smith with Kari Christoffersen, Hilary Davidson and Patricia Snell Herzog, Oxford University Press (2011)

Book Findings: Young adults are unable to think coherently about moral beliefs and problems. Young adults have an excessive focus on consumption and materialism as the good life. The prevalent lifestyle of young adults includes routine intoxication and drug usage. The sexual encounters of young adults are not practiced in an environment of physical, mental, or emotional health. Young adults appear to have an inability to care about, invest in, and hope for the larger world through civic and political participation.

Listening to Young Atheists: Lessons for a Stronger Christianity
Larry Taunton, Fixed Point Foundation (2013)

Study Findings: Taunton interviewed members of atheist college groups (the Secular Student Alliance and Freethought Societies). “These college groups are the atheist equivalents to Campus Crusade: They meet regularly for fellowship, encourage one another in their (un)belief, and even proselytize. They are people who are not merely irreligious; they are actively, determinedly irreligious.” Taunton eventually recognized an emerging pattern in those he interviewed, and he identified several characteristics of young “determinedly irreligious” college students:

1. They had attended church at one time
2. The mission and message of their churches was vague
3. They felt their churches offered superficial answers to life’s difficult questions
4. They expressed their respect for those ministers who took the Bible seriously
5. Ages 14-17 were decisive
6. The decision to embrace unbelief was often an emotional one
7. The internet factored heavily into their conversion to atheism

Churchless: Understanding Today’s Unchurched and How to Connect With Them
George Barna and David Kinnaman, Tyndale Momentum (2014)

Book Findings: Barna Group conducted tens of thousands of interviews with unchurched people and discovered the following:

1. The number of churchless Americans has jumped by nearly one-third in just 20 years
2. If unchurched Americans were their own nation, they’d be the eighth largest on Earth
3. The younger you are, the more likely you are to never have been to church
4. The younger the generation, the more post-Christian it is

America’s Changing Religious Landscape
Pew Research Center (2015)

Study Findings: “While many U.S. religious groups are aging, the unaffiliated are comparatively young – and getting younger, on average, over time… One of the most important factors in the declining share of Christians and the growth of the “nones” is generational replacement. As the Millennial generation enters adulthood, its members display much lower levels of religious affiliation, including less connection with Christian churches, than older generations. Fully 36% of young Millennials (those between the ages of 18 and 24) are religiously unaffiliated, as are 34% of older Millennials (ages 25-33)… As a rising cohort of highly unaffiliated Millennials reaches adulthood, the median age of unaffiliated adults has dropped to 36, down from 38 in 2007 and far lower than the general (adult) population’s median age of 46.4 By contrast, the median age of mainline Protestant adults in the new survey is 52 (up from 50 in 2007), and the median age of Catholic adults is 49 (up from 45 seven years earlier).”

Choosing a New Church or House of Worship
Pew Research Center (2015)

Study Findings: In this seemingly unrelated study, researchers surveyed religious “nones” (78%) who said they were raised as a member of a particular religion before shedding their religious identity in adulthood, and asked them to explain, in their own words, whythey no longer identified with a religious group. They discovered the following themes:

About 50% said a “lack of belief led them to move away from religion. This includes many respondents who mention ‘science’ as the reason they do not believe in religious teachings, including one who said ‘I’m a scientist now, and I don’t believe in miracles.’ Others reference ‘common sense,’ ‘logic’ or a ‘lack of evidence’ – or simply say they do not believe in God.”

About 20% said they were in “opposition to organized religion in general. This share includes some who do not like the hierarchical nature of religious groups, several people who think religion is too much like a business and others who mention clergy sexual abuse scandals as reasons for their stance.”

About 18% said they were “religiously unsure. This include(d) people who (said) they (were) religious in some way despite being unaffiliated (e.g., ‘I believe in God, but in my own way’), others who describe(d) themselves as ‘seeking enlightenment’ or ‘open-minded,’ and several who (said) they are ‘spiritual’ if not religious.”

About 10% said they “may hold certain religious beliefs, but they (were) not currently taking part in religious practices. And most of them simply (said) they (didn’t) go to church or engage in other religious rituals, while others (said) they (were) too busy for religion.”

Exodus: Why Americans are Leaving Religion—and Why They’re Unlikely to Come Back
Betsy Cooper, Ph.D., Daniel Cox, Ph.D., Rachel Lienesch, Robert P. Jones, Ph.D., Public Religious Research Institute (2016)

Study Findings: “Today, nearly four in ten (39%) young adults (ages 18-29) are religiously unaffiliated—three times the unaffiliated rate (13%) among seniors (ages 65 and older). While previous generations were also more likely to be religiously unaffiliated in their twenties, young adults today are nearly four times as likely as young adults a generation ago to identify as religiously unaffiliated. In 1986, for example, only 10% of young adults claimed no religious affiliation. Among young adults, the religiously unaffiliated dwarf the percentages of other religious identifications: Catholic (15%), white evangelical Protestant (9%), white mainline Protestant (8%), black Protestant (7%), other non-white Protestants (11%), and affiliation with a non-Christian religion (7%).”

“In the 1970s, only about one-third (34%) of Americans who were raised in religiously unaffiliated households were still unaffiliated as adults. By the 1990s, slightly more than half (53%) of Americans who were unaffiliated in childhood retained their religious identity in adulthood. Today, about two-thirds (66%) of Americans who report being raised outside a formal religious tradition remain unaffiliated as adults.”

More importantly, the study found that most Americans who leave their childhood religion do so before reaching adulthood. 79% percent of young adults age 18 to 29 who become religiously unaffiliated report making this decision during their adolescent and teen years. In years prior, those who abandon religious belief reported doing so much later. Only 38% of people over the age of 65, for example, reported leaving their religion during their childhood years.

CARA National Study
Mark M. Gray, Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (2016)

Study Findings: (While CARA only surveys young Catholic believers, their results parallel the findings of Christian surveys as reported in this article). “The first CARA study, commissioned by Saint Mary’s Press, involved a survey with a random, national sample of young people, ages 15 to 25, who had been raised Catholic but no longer self-identified as such. The second CARA study, made possible through funding from the John Templeton Foundation, involved a survey of a random sample of self-identified Catholics, ages 18 and older, and focused on matters of religion and science.” Most young people said they left the Church by the age of 13: 63 percent said they left between the ages of 10 and 17. 23 percent say they left before the age of 10. Those who left cited the following reasons:

“Because I grew up realized it was a story like Santa or the Easter Bunny.”

“As I learn more about the world around me and understand things that I once did not, I find that the thought of an all-powerful being to be less and less believable.”

“Catholic beliefs aren’t based on fact. Everything is hearsay from back before anything could be documented, so nothing can be disproved, but it certainly shouldn’t be taken seriously.”

“I realized that religion is in complete contradiction with the rational and scientific world, and to continue to subscribe to a religion would be hypocritical.”

“Need proof of something.”

“It no longer fits into what I understand of the universe.”

NextGen Research
Larry Barnett, Next Generation Project (2016)

Study Findings: The NextGen research revealed the following key points:

1. Christianity’s decline in the U.S. spans every population segment – young and old, male and female, within every race, at all income and educational levels, and in every geographic region.
2. The presence or absence of doubt was found to be the single best predictor of Christian affiliation and spiritual health, compared to several hundred other factors.
3. Adults (and teens) who are younger, highly educated, knowledgeable, high-achieving, technologically engaged individuals who may have religiously diverse friends are the most likely to leave the faith.

CIRP Freshman Survey
The Cooperative Institutional Research Program (2017)

Study Findings: The CIRP Freshmen Survey of first-time students at 184 U.S. colleges and universities collects data on incoming college students’ background characteristics, high school experiences, attitudes, behaviors, and expectations for college. This survey revealed the following key points:

31 percent of incoming freshmen are religiously unaffiliated, a threefold increase since 1986, when just 10 percent identified this way. Because the survey is administered to students before they arrive on campus, the decline of religious identity noted in these cross-sectional studies cannot be attributed to college experience. Religious attendance is also falling precipitously among incoming students.

While this survey of books and studies is less than complete, it does provide us with powerful cumulative, circumstantial evidence supporting the claim that young people are leaving the Church in large numbers. More importantly, it appears that most of these young people are leaving prior to their experiences in college. But, while universities may not be the chief cause of the youth exodus, they certainly play a role in affirming and strengthening a secular worldview in the minds of young people who have already left the faith. Some studies have attempted to isolate potential responses that can be employed by parents and Church leaders:

Research Related to Potential Responses to the Flight of Young People from the Church

Book Findings: There appears to be no shortage of teenagers who want to be inspired and make the world better. But the version of Christianity some are taught doesn’t inspire them “to change anything that’s broken in the world.” Teens want to be challenged; they want their tough questions taken on. “We think that they want cake, but they actually want steak and potatoes, and we keep giving them cake,” Churches, not just parents, share some of the blame for teens’ religious apathy. “…The gospel of niceness can’t teach teens how to confront tragedy. It can’t bear the weight of deeper questions: Why are my parents getting a divorce? Why did my best friend commit suicide? Why, in this economy, can’t I get the good job I was promised if I was a good kid?”

Souls in Transition: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of Emerging Adults
Christian Smith, Patricia Snell, Oxford University Press (2009)

Book Findings: Parents are the most crucial and powerful socializers in the lives of their adolescents. The adolescent years are not the time to disengage as a parent. Growing adolescent independence often necessitates negotiation. If adolescents experience parents who are religiously withdrawn and functionally absent, then the faith of an emerging adult likely will also be vacuous, directionless, and empty. The more adults involved in the lives of adolescents, the better off they will be. This will mean that ministries to youth and families must find ways to incorporate loving, agenda-free adults into the lives of the ministry. Ministries to youth matter now more than ever. With the breakdown of the family and the systemic erosion of adult support, congregational youth ministers are more necessary than ever before.

Book Findings: Parents of students who did not leave the church emphasized religion twice as much as those who students who left the church. Students who stayed in church through college said that the first thing they do when they have doubts or questions was to talk to their parents and then read their Bibles.

Book Findings: Nearly 25% of the 18- to 29-year-olds interviewed said “Christians demonize everything outside of the church” most of the time. 22% also said the church ignores real-world problems and 18% said that their church was too concerned about the negative impact of movies, music and video games. 33% of survey participants felt that “church is boring.” 20% of those who attended as a teenager said that God appeared to be missing from their experience of church. Many young adults do not like the way churches appear to be against science. Over 33% of young adults said that “Christians are too confident they know all the answers” and 25% of them said that “Christianity is anti-science.” 17% percent of young Christians say they’ve “made mistakes and feel judged in church because of them.” Two out of five young adult Catholics said that the church’s teachings on birth control and sex are “out of date.” 29% of young Christians said “churches are afraid of the beliefs of other faiths” and feel they have to choose between their friends and their faith. Over 33% of young adults said they feel like they can’t ask life’s most pressing questions in church and 23% said they had “significant intellectual doubts” about their faith.

Families and Faith: How Religion is Passed Down Across Generations
Vern L. Bengtson. Norella M. Putney, Susan Harris, Oxford University Press (2013)

Book Findings: Several key findings were discovered in this 35-year study of families, focusing on the question of how religion is passed across generations:

1. Parents continue to be the single greatest influence on their children’s faith.
2. When a child sees and hears that faith actually makes a difference in Mom and Dad’s lives, they’re much more likely to follow suit.
3. Young adults are more likely to share their parents’ religious beliefs and participation if they feel that they have a close relationship with those parents.
4. Young Christians who leave the faith are far more likely to return when parents have been patient and supportive – and perhaps more tolerant and open than they had been before the prodigal’s departure.

5 Reasons Millennials Stay Connected to Church
Barna Study (2013)

Study Findings: This research included a series of national public opinion surveys conducted by Barna Group to find the most effective ways to keep millennials connected to the church. The listed the following strategies:

1. Develop meaningful relationships with millennials
2. Teach millennials to study and discern what’s happening in the culture
3. Help millennials discover their own mission in the world, rather than ask them to wait their turn
4. Teach millennials a more potent theology of vocation, or calling.
5. Help millennials develop a lasting faith by facilitating a deeper sense of intimacy with God

There you have it; a short summary of some of the research being done on the exodus of young people from the Church and some of the reasons they give for their departure. Can a case be made that young Christians are leaving the Church in record numbers? Yes. Can a case be made that many of these young people are leaving because the culture around them has impacted them deeply and caused them to question the truth claims of Christianity? Yes, again. So, what are we going to do about it? What can be done? Visit our Youth section to get a few ideas.

10.30.17

Generation Z Under Academic Pressure by Karla Fernandez Parker

mediapost.com

In the age of globalization, it’s no surprise Generation Z members feel pressure about what to be when they grow up. They are also acutely aware of the state of many Millennials who are paying off large amounts of student debt and working in jobs paying less than they had anticipated.

Even so, Generation Z remains focused on a four-year degree. Planning to get that degree varies by ethnicity. It is highest among Asians at 92% followed by Hispanics at 85% and African Americans at 84%. Anglos planned to get a four-year degree at the lowest rate at 74%. Perhaps this group is jaded by the Great Recession more than other groups due to their parents’ inability to pay for their college. The Recession also likely contributed to the view that a four-year degree is inconsequential for career stability.

Based on our research into Generation Z, it is clear these young people are under intense pressure to choose early and choose wisely.

In late September, I moderated a Generation Z and Millennial focus group in Dallas during the Career Colleges and Schools of Texas annual conference. What we heard from the Generation Z kids was evocative. They have to choose a career path, called an endorsement, by the time they are in 10th grade and are strongly discouraged from making any changes along the way to graduation.

One girl, 16-year-old Lupita P., told us, “I picked teaching because I really like working with kids. But now that I am learning more about what teaching pays here, I don’t want to do it. But I’ve been told it’s too late since I had already chosen this path and the concentration of the classes I’ve been taking makes it hard for me to change. I’m stuck!”

We also learned from both African-American and Hispanic participants that getting a four-year degree has been preached to them as the “only option” to be successful — especially if they are to be the first in their families to graduate from college. And at their high schools, tours were being organized to visit four-year degree-conferring colleges but no other options. So these kids weren’t considering community college to hold education costs down nor were they exposed to trade schools.

This comes at a time in the U.S. when we are lacking skilled workers in so many categories like construction, health care, and energy that offer good living wages without the burden of so much student debt if a trade profession is attained. What seems obvious is that Generation Z is headed for another student loan crisis unless more options are offered to them and minority groups will be hit hardest. Not to mention hundreds of thousands of jobs that will go unfilled.

10.30.17

The Masked Generation: Five Ways to Build Confidence by Tim Elmore

growingleaders.com

In our 2016 focus groups, held in four states across the U.S., we found students confiding in us that they felt very scared, very anxious and a lack of confidence. Their chief fears were not about using social media or technology, in general. Again, that’s where the masks showed up. Instead, they were frightened about:

  • Their future
  • Making good grades
  • The impact of terrorism
  • Getting a job they like
  • Getting into college
  • The future of the world

Other than that, they’re fine.

There is actually a term today called, “selfie-esteem.” Posting a good selfie can bolster the personal esteem teens hold for themselves. But there’s a downside. Overall, social media makes teens feel more self-conscious about their appearance. Social media makes teens feel as though they always need to be “camera ready.” There’s an angst that accompanies this constant “camera ready” posture.

Five Ways We Can Cultivate Confidence in Students

There are five fundamentals we can teach students that consistently raise their level of confidence. Let me remind you of these steps below:

1. Equip them in public speaking skills.

Communication and public speaking continue to loom as the largest fears Americans have in life. The contrary is true as well. When we build good public speaking skills, we tend to become more confident. Why not enroll them in a course?

2. Enable them to identify personal strengths.

My own self-confidence grew, as a middle school and high school student, when I found out I had a talent in art. My confidence rose as I cultivated this gift, eventually designing our school mascot. Teens need milestone accomplishments like this.

3. Teach them social etiquette.

The students I know who learn social graces and protocol tend to be more confident and self-assured. From learning manners and courtesy to knowing social codes in public places gives them an advantage they can actually feel.

4. Help them to focus and achieve in one category.

One big reason students lack confidence today is they feel overwhelmed. I’ve found if I can help a student narrow their focus, simplify their goals and achieve in one significant area, it tends to increase their confidence levels.

5. Empower them to serve.

It’s an irony of life. We become less assured when we are focused on ourselves. We become more self-assured as we learn to focus on serving others. Self-consciousness decreases self-confidence. Finding places to serve actually, serves the server.

Here’s to taking off the mask and putting on a genuine confident demeanor.

10.30.17

A Growing Share of Americans Say It’s Not Necessary to Believe in God to be Moral by Gregory Smith

pewresearch.org

Most U.S. adults now say it is not necessary to believe in God to be moral and have good values (56%), up from about half (49%) who expressed this view in 2011. This increase reflects the continued growth in the share of the population that has no religious affiliation, but it also is the result of changing attitudes among those who doidentify with a religion, including white evangelical Protestants.

Surveys have long shown that religious “nones” – those who describe themselves religiously as atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular” – are more likely than those who identify with a religion to say that belief in God is not a prerequisite for good values and morality. So the public’s increased rejection of the idea that belief in God is necessary for morality is due, in large part, to the spike in the share of Americans who are religious “nones.”

Indeed, the growth in the share of Americans who say belief in God is unnecessary for morality tracks closely with the growth in the share of the population that is religiously unaffiliated. In the 2011 Pew Research Center survey that included the question about God and morality, religious “nones” constituted 18% of the sample. By 2017, the share of “nones” stood at 25%.

But the continued growth of the “nones” is only part of the story. Attitudes about the necessity of belief in God for morality have also changed among those who do identify with a religion. Among all religiously affiliated adults, the share who say belief in God is unnecessary for morality ticked up modestly, from 42% in 2011 to 45% in 2017.

Among white evangelical Protestants, 32% now say belief in God is not necessary to have good values and be a moral person, up from 26% who said this in 2011. To be sure, most white evangelicals still say belief in God is necessary for morality. But the share who say belief in God is a necessary underpinning of being moral has declined from 72% to 65% in just six years.

Religious “nones” themselves, in addition to growing as a share of the population, have simultaneously become more likely to reject the idea that believing in God is necessary for morality. In 2017, 85% of religious “nones” say belief in God is unnecessary for morality, up from 78% who said this in 2011.

The trends in opinion on this question also point in the same direction among white mainline Protestants, black Protestants and white Catholics. Recent changes among these groups, however, have not been statistically significant.

10.23.17

Hi! I am praying for you right now!
 
Daily Prayer Email: Please send ALL prayer requests for your class to studentcbsprayer@gmail.com
 
Quotes:

As Culture, Media, and school Campuses Move Further from Christian Values Students will require Daily Discipleship to Survive Adolescence. #powell

As long as we think we are not that bad, the idea of grace will never change us. #keller
The highest call of leadership is to unlock the potential of others. #brown
We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give. #churchill
 
FYI:
1. The Stress of Eating Lunch at School… http://www.seventeen.com/health/a10326983/10-teens-get-real-about-the-stress-of-eating-lunch-at-school/
UGH!
 
3. Juuling: Cigarettes for the next Generation… http://theroar.marincatholic.org/1955/opinion/juuling-cigarettes-for-the-next-generation/
 
4.  Are Today’s Teens Putting the Brakes on Adulthood?… https://consumer.healthday.com/kids-health-information-23/adolescents-and-teen-health-news-719/are-today-s-teens-putting-the-brakes-on-adulthood-726634.html
 
Here is what I just posted on the blogwww.studentcbsblog.org 
 
9 Leadership Principles You Need to Know by Todd Jones
The Movement That’s Changing the Way We Teach Kids by Dale Hudson
Five Steps to Fight Fake News by Tim Elmore
Young Children Are Spending Much More Time In Front Of Small Screens by Anya Kamenetz

Here are 2 video links I think you might like to see:

http://www.worshiphousemedia.com/mini-movies/70315/jesus-you-alone?utm_source=WorshipHouse%20Media%20–%20Around%20the%20House%20(CD%20Update)&utm_medium=email&utm_content=jesus_you_alone-2255633&utm_campaign=fp-10/21/2017-2255633
http://www.worshiphousemedia.com/mini-movies/68936/only-one-worship-intro?utm_source=WorshipHouse%20Media%20–%20Around%20the%20House%20(CD%20Update)&utm_medium=email&utm_content=only_one_worship_intro-2255633&utm_campaign=fp-10/21/2017-2255633
 
Here are 2 just for you:
 
Who Are You? 
 
But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Philippians 3:7 (ESV)
“Who are you?” This is one of the most foundational questions anyone can ask, and one with which our culture seems largely obsessed. We long for significance, for meaning, for something unique and special and elite to be true of us. I think this is largely why we are so fascinated by things like a DNA genetics test or ancestry searches. We hope to find something that sets us apart from everyone else. We don’t go hunting to find that our ancestors were from Kansas!
Though genetic testing wasn’t available in Paul’s day, ancestry was still a big deal. Everyone knew where they came from, and that linage meant everything to them. It shaped their levels of influence, passed on power and prestige, and made them someone worthy of affection and attention. Paul checked every box in every category of desired identity for the Jewish people. As he essentially says, “just try and find anyone more perfectly Jewish than me” (Philippians 3:4)!
And yet, he says in the same breath that every single bit of this is now loss and something to freely let go of if it means he is able to know and be known by Christ. This isn’t hyperbole for him or a compelling illustration from a preacher trying to drive a point home. He had lots of gains, and lots to lose!
The more status, wealth, or knowledge you acquire, the harder it is to keep it from becoming a part of your core identity. These identities creep closer and closer to our hearts, becoming foundational and essential parts of our identity. “Who are you?” “I’m from a great family, wealthy, and well educated.” It comes out of us without even thinking! And if this isn’t your story, the danger still persists in the way you might aspire to such levels of success and status. “Who are you?” “I’m working on becoming someone significant and worthy of praise!”
Paul’s words remind us today of one of the greatest truths in the whole Bible. To find your true identity and purpose in life, you must reorient your core identity around Jesus. This is true of every single disciple, whether you have a great deal or very little at all.
The LORD wants to set you free from the identities that promise to give you meaning yet always break that promise and leave you confused and unfulfilled. Encounter the love of Jesus afresh today, and receive a new identity as a beloved daughter or son. That is who you truly are, and it is worth losing everything else in order to gain it!
Prayer: Father, thank you for the amazing love poured out in Jesus Christ. May he be my all in all today and everyday. Amen.
Application: What identity are you still clinging to that’s keeping you from stepping into the joy of Christ today?
Learning to Live Like Jesus
According to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. Philippians 1:20-21, NKJV 
Without reading glasses all I see is a blurred semblance of letters, words and sentences. My 2X readers magnify the print and bring into focus what my aged eyes alone are unable to see. The writings of a good book are always present, but only apparent with the assistance of glasses. In a similar fashion, Jesus is ever at work in and around me, but at times it may only be apparent when I see it magnified by another Jesus follower. A life surrendered to the Lord brings into focus what only seems like a blur in my unbelief. Christ magnified in a life brings clarity and comprehension.
Paul pours forth his earnest desire, expectation and hope to not be ashamed of the gospel, but with boldness to show and tell the truth of Jesus Christ. In life he magnified the Lord by living for the Lord. Paul suffered imprisonment and the intense pain of shipwrecks, suffering and beatings at the hands of persecutors. What he, as an unbeliever, inflicted on believers, he now received the same interrogation and affliction. In shackles he magnified Jesus with joyful praise lifted to the Lord throughout the jail. Paul’s words and way of life focused in on faith in Jesus.
“Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel” (Philippians 1:27).
What does it mean to magnify Christ in our body? How do we conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ? Our body language can fluently communicate faith in Christ or it can become a confusing dialect of the devil’s devices. A smile is an invitation into a safe place, while a blank stare screams I don’t care. Eye contact and calling another’s name says you matter, you are unique and I want to know you. Learning to live like Jesus starts with a look, a listening heart and a caring word. Our body language can turn up the volume of the Lord’s tender voice.
Learning to live like Jesus is a lesson in being with Jesus, both in solitude and in community. You get alone with the Lord so He can prep you to conduct yourself in a manner worthy of the Lord. As you reflect on the life of Christ, being transformed by the inner workings of grace, your life begins to reflect Christ. Before you go out to represent Jesus, you must go in to be molded by Jesus. You can be assured God is with you and He grows even more apparent in the presence of other Jesus followers. You learn to live like Jesus by being with Jesus and His people.
“As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received” (Ephesians 4:1).
Prayer: Heavenly Father, lead me to live a life worthy of the gospel, in Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.
Application: How can my life best magnify Christ with my words and actions?
Blessings, Kendall

10.23.17

9 Leadership Principles You Need to Know by Todd Jones

youthspecialties.com

Leadership. Without it organizations crumble, potential is never met, people are left puzzled and frustrated, and everything suffers. But with a strong leader, what can be accomplished is limitless. Especially in the church, most ministries are capped by the capability and competency of the leader, and the stakes are too high to not be the best leaders we can be.

I have worked for both terrible leaders and for incredible leaders. I have seen both the negative effects of poor leadership and the positive effects of strong leadership. The need for stronger leaders is not a secret and the desire to grow as a leader should be a high priority for each of us, regardless of the title of leadership we hold.

So, how do we improve as a leader? Here are 9 simple to enact principles that will change your leadership landscape and propel your leadership journey. 

1. KEEP LEARNING

It has been said “leaders are learners,” and that is extremely true! The moment we feel as if we know it all or do not need to improve is the moment we begin to decline. We must continue learning and trying to improve, and always hold the understanding that we do not know everything.

Read, listen, seek out ways to continually learn and improve. I promise the top leadership role models from podcasts, blogs, speakers, books, etc. that you listen to and learn from will all agree that they need to learn more and improve as leaders themselves.

2. LET SOMEONE BETTER THAN YOU DO THE TASK

Leadership is not doing everything yourself or taking the spotlight for big difficult tasks. Leadership is building someone else up to do the task and doing what is best for the organization. Many times the leaders lack competence in a certain area and the inability to release control in that area is what will hold the entire organization back. 

There WILL be people who are better than you at certain things and leadership is recognizing that and allowing others to take the reigns in those areas to ensure the best possible outcome.

3. BE REAL

The quickest way to kill your leadership is to be inauthentic. Eventually, people will see straight through you when you fake it and no one wants to follow a leader who cannot be real. You are not perfect and you do not have all the answers, so be honest about yourself, and with yourself.

4. CARE ABOUT THOSE YOU LEAD

A leader who does not care about his people is simply a tyrant. While it is very true that leadership is a skill and not a title, a title does put you in a place of leadership. It is our choice whether we will lead with character and care about those we lead or ride the title and crash the organization. Lead with compassion, thinking about those you lead more than yourself and your goal (Philippians 2). Pray for those you lead, talk with them, listen to them.

5. YOUR TEAM IS AS STRONG AS YOUR TEAM MEMBERS

Going hand-in-hand with point number 4, we must pour into our people! We lead a group of people which means the group is only as strong as the people in it. We must pour into our team members in order to increase our leadership potential. That means recruiting well and building a leadership structure that is comprised of the best people possible. Find individuals who are BETTER (point # 2) and more talented than you and sign them up. Train your team, don’t just expect them to all be rockstars the first day, you had to learn (hopefully are still learning) and so do they.

6. ADVERSITY IS NECESSARY FOR GROWTH

Guess what? Things won’t always be perfect. I know, major bomb right there, but it is true. You will fail and you will encounter roadblocks. In fact, if you are not failing, you probably aren’t doing anything at all. Every single leader fails at something at some point and will unavoidably encounter adversity. What you do with that failure/adversity is what determines your success. Embrace adversity, work through it, and use it to grow.

7. HAVE A BIG, CLEAR VISION

Leading literally means taking someone, something, or a group of someones or somethings somewhere. Your job is to take the people you lead in a certain direction. This means you MUST have a clear picture of where you are headed and wherever that is should be somewhere difficult to get to, somewhere that sounds impossible at first. As the leader, it is essential that you have a BIG (challenging and growth-requiring) and CLEAR (easily defined and understood) vision that will take the people you lead somewhere amazing.

8. TEAMWORK MAKES THE DREAM WORK

Working together is essential to the success of any team or organization. However, truly “working together” is merely a byproduct of the work that has gone into building a cohesive team. Cohesion, unity, atmosphere, and team-building are essential, and they fall on you as the leader. It begins with recruiting the right people and is sustained by reinforcing vision, building relationships, and working to strengthening the unity of the team.

9. HAVE A FOUNDATION

Every physical structure needs a foundation or it will crumble. The same goes for a leader, we need a foundation or we too will crumble. Leadership is not easy which is why it is essential we have something to lean on. That something needs to be Jesus. As leaders, we must be learning, reading, communicating with, and building our relationship with Jesus or we will find ourselves drowning, freaking out, and feeling empty. The organization is only as strong as its leader, which is why we must continue to learn (point # 1) and most importantly we NEED a firm foundation. If Jesus is not your foundation and He is not the one you are fully leaning on, eventually you will no longer be able to stand.

10.23.17

Five Steps to Fight Fake News by Tim Elmore

 

Critical thinking is a skillset that university faculty is begging for in students today. For that matter, so are employers. Simply defined, critical thinking is the objective analysis and evaluation of an issue in order to form a judgment.

Why Is This a Vital Issue Today?

In January 2016, the World Economic Forum issued a report entitled “The Future of Jobs.” It states: “The Fourth Industrial Revolution, which includes developments in previously disjointed fields such as artificial intelligence and machine-learning, robotics, nanotechnology, 3-D printing, and genetics and biotechnology, will cause widespread disruption not only to business models but also to labor markets over the next five years, with enormous change predicted in the skill sets needed to thrive in the new landscape.” In fact, in 2015, critical thinking was listed as the number four skill graduates need in the workplace. In 2020, it will be number two, right behind complex problem-solving skills. In the upcoming “smart world” we will need to think critically. It is rated as the number one skill of increasing importance over the next five years. Sadly, according to CriticalThinking.org, studies of higher education demonstrate three disturbing facts:

  • Most college faculty at all levels lack a substantive concept of critical thinking.
  • Most college faculty don’t realize they lack this skill, assuming they sufficiently understand it and that they’re already teaching it to students.
  • Lecture, rote memorization, short-term study habits are still the norm in college instruction and learning today.

With this in mind, we still face formidable gaps between today’s classroom and career-ready graduates who demonstrate critical thinking skills. 

What’s the Enemy of Critical Thinking Today? 

So what is the chief culprit of our waning critical thinking skills? It seems I find educators, coaches and employers talking about the need for it all the time.

What exactly is preventing critical thinking from prevailing in our everyday life?

In my humble opinion, it is social media.

It was recently discovered that Facebook was used by Russian hackers as a platform for hate speech and fake news. Somewhere between 3-20 million Facebook users were affected. And we all know once something is posted that elicits emotion, it can blow up with comments and go viral in days. Let’s face it:

  • Social media users know: If it’s outrageous, it’s contagious.
  • Journalists know: If it bleeds, it leads.

Almost two-thirds of Americans agree that taking a break from portable devices (i.e. social media) is good for our mental health, but less than 30 percent actually do so. Many of us (both students and adults) are addicted to it. In our resistance to boredom, we actually look for sensational news. And in a world riddled with impetuous behavior, we pass it on rather than thinking it over.

We’d rather react than reflect.

So, What Are Some Realistic New Habits to Cultivate Critical Thinking?

As you cultivate critical thinking skills in yourself and in your students, this simple list below may be a good place to start. It won’t be a magic wand for you, but it will get both you and your young people moving in the right direction.

1. Always confirm the information with more than one source.

Everyone knows this is important, but frequently we fail to take the time to do it. If some information or news story can only be found in one place, go deeper. Question the details and inquire if it’s really legitimate, especially if it seems farfetched. Real facts usually can be substantiated by multiple sources.

2. Always work to see the opposite side of the issue.

It’s usually helpful to avoid “group think.” Too often, we just agree with everyone around us and fail to take control of our own thinking. It’s always wise to step into the shoes of the person who holds a different view and see it from his or her angle. This is closely tied to metacognition—thinking about your thinking. I have found I can be more objective if I take a few minutes and look at the issue from the other person’s perspective, and sometimes I even take a contrarian viewpoint to both angles.

3. Always take the time to evaluate the details and their logic. 

Consider this analogy. When shopping for new clothes, you go into a dressing room and try it on for size. How many times do you turn around and look at all three mirrors they provide for you to see yourself? Lots of times. You want to see what you look like from different angles. This is how we should handle new issues.

4. Always try to detect inconsistencies and common mistakes in reasoning.

Henry Ford once said, “Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason so few engage in it..” When “fake news” breaks onto your phone screen, ask yourself if there is any faulty reasoning or even lack of reasoning behind the story. See if you can spot mistakes or inconsistencies in the flow of thought.

5. Always ask hard questions, including why, how, and who?

Do you remember the last time you watched a movie with 3-D Glasses? Those spectacles enable you to see dimensions on the screen (three of them to be exact) that you can’t see in a regular two-dimensional film. Similarly, ask three types of questions about new information. For example: Why is this information important? How will it affect people? Who stands to gain from it?

I recently asked myself a question before speaking at a parent event: What if people had to pass a test before they became parents? What 5-7 questions should be on that test? These kinds of questions led to a great discussion at the conference, and it gave me a great starting point to address the audience. It just required a little extra thinking.

10.23.17

Young Children Are Spending Much More Time In Front Of Small Screens by Anya Kamenetz

npr.org

It’s not your imagination: Tiny tots are spending dramatically more time with tiny screens.

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, just released new numbers on media use by children 8 and under. The nationally representative parent survey found that 98 percent of homes with children now have a mobile device such as a tablet or smartphone.

That’s a huge leap from 52 percent just six years ago. Mobile devices are now just as common as televisions in family homes.

And the average amount of time our smallest children spend with those handheld devices each day is skyrocketing, too: from five minutes a day in 2011, to 15 minutes a day in 2013, to 48 minutes a day in 2017.

James Steyer, CEO and founder of Common Sense Media, calls this “a seismic shift” that is “fundamentally redefining childhood experiences” with “enormous implications we have just begun to understand.”

Other eye-grabbing highlights from the survey:

  • 42 percent of young children now have their very own tablet device — up from 7 percent four years ago and less than 1 percent in 2011.
  • Screen media use among infants under 2 appears to be trending downward, from 58 minutes a day in 2013 to 42 minutes in 2017. This decline correlates with a drop in sales of DVDs, and particularly those marketed at babies, such as Baby Einstein. Updated pediatricians’ recommendations released last year call for limited, but not banned, screen use among the youngest set.
  • Nearly half, 49 percent, of children 8 or under “often or sometimes” use screens in the hour before bedtime, which experts say is bad for sleep habits.
  • 42 percent of parents say the TV is on “always” or “most of the time” in their home, whether anyone is watching or not. Research has shown this so-called “background TV” reduces parent-child interaction, which in turn can hurt language development.

The growth of mobile is a dramatic change. But other aspects of kids’ media use have been more stable over time, this periodic census reveals.

When you take every source of screen media together, children 8 and under spend an average of about 2 1/4 hours (2:19) a day, a figure that’s flat from 2011 (2:16). That implies mobile is apparently cannibalizing, not adding on to, the boob tube and other types of media.

And, whether young kids are looking at small screens or big ones, most often they are passively watching videos, not using interactive apps. Video watching has dominated children’s media use for decades.

Finally, young children are still being read to by their parents about 30 minutes a day.

More questions than answers

What does all this mean?

Researchers don’t really know, and that concerns observers like Pamela Hurst-Della Pietra, the founder of Children and Screens: The Institute of Digital Media and Child Development.

“How different is the brain of a child who’s never known anything but sustained digital media exposure to the brain of her parents, or even older siblings?” she asks. “And what are the implications for parents, educators or policymakers?”

Hurst-Della Pietra says these are questions “we’re only beginning to ask, let alone answer.” Children and Screens is getting ready to release its own series of reports that sets an agenda for future research.

Steyer, of Common Sense Media, agrees. “I would argue there are big implications for brain and social-emotional development, many of which we don’t know the answer to,” he says.

The public conversation about kids and screens is somewhat schizophrenic. American schools, even preschools, are buying millions of electronic devices, and there are tens of thousands of apps meant to enhance learning for even the smallest babies.

On the other hand, doctors warn, and parents worry, about negative effects from too much screen time, ranging from obesity to anxiety.

One part of the Common Sense report that really plays up this contradiction is the section on the so-called digital divide. The phrase reflects the idea that learning how to use computers and the Internet at home helps kids get ahead in school and in life.

Unlike in previous years, this census shows both rich and poor families now appear to have nearly equal access to smartphones. At the same time, kids from lower-income families are spending twice as much time with screens daily as those from the most advantaged families. Is this a boon or a danger?

Lynn Schofield Clark at the University of Denver studies media use with a focus on disadvantaged youth and youth of color. She says the missing ingredient in understanding the real impact of the digital divide is time.

That is parenting time: showing a kid how to use a laptop, how to do Internet research, picking out highly rated educational apps or steering a child toward programs with positive messages.

“People who have more advantages have more time and education to help their kids use the technology,” she explains. “We have set up a society where it’s structurally very difficult for families to spend time together.”

10.16.17

Hi! I am praying for you right now! Monica, Nancy, Michael and I are headed to LA today and would love your prayers!
Daily Prayer Email: Please send ALL prayer requests for your class to studentcbsprayer@gmail.com
 
Quotes:
WWJP: “What would Jesus Post?” (Bracelets coming soon) #johnston (Haha!)
Your praise is contagious – So is your complaint. What are you carrying today? #furtick
God isn’t nearly as concerned about what we’re doing for Christ as He is committed to forming Christ inside us. #voskamp
“If your life does not worship God, your lips do not worship God either.” #Tozer
 
 
FYI:
 
 
 
 
Here is what I just posted on the blogwww.studentcbsblog.org 
 
The Scary Truth About What is Hurting Our Children by Becky Mansfield (Blog post but some good data.)
Genius Ways Companies get Kid to Do Their Marketing for Them by Caroline Moore (Interesting!)
3 Vital Tips for Leading Discussion in Small Groups by Trey Gilmore (You know this but still good!)
What the Future of Leadership Looks Like by Tim Elmore

Here are 2 video links I think you might like to see:

http://www.worshiphousemedia.com/mini-movies/70470/the-one-who-died-for-all?utm_source=WorshipHouse%20Media%20–%20Around%20the%20House%20(CD%20Update)&utm_medium=email&utm_content=spot1-2249484&utm_campaign=nl-10/11/2017-2249484
(I’m playing this at training! Zo and Jon… start learning your moves!!
 
 
Here are 2 just for you:
 

Alarm Bells for Leaders

“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.”  (Galatians 6:7-10)

We can’t pull a fast one on God. He sees all and cannot be deceived. He notices our shortcuts and also our efforts when we do well. To ensure that we live by this truth, seek others to hold you accountable and act as your “alarm bells.” Invite others to ask you tough questions, such as the following:

  • Is my personal walk with God up-to-date?
  • Am I keeping my priorities straight?
  • Am I asking myself the hard questions?
  • Am I accountable to someone in authority?
  • Am I sensitive to what God is saying to the whole body of Christ?
  • Am I over-concerned with building my image?
  • Do I put more stock in “events” rather than “process”?
  • Am I a loner in my leadership and personal life?
  • Am I aware and honest about my weaknesses?
  • Is my calling constantly before me?
Learning to Lead Like Jesus
 
And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man. Luke 2:52
Learning to lead like Jesus is a lifetime journey that begins with humility. “Better to say I am learning, than to say, I have learned,” wise and humble words indeed from Dr. Charles Stanley spoken to me and several staff members at First Baptist of Atlanta in the late 1980’s. As a young pastor, this seasoned leader helped me understand to first follow the Lord Jesus by continuing to learn and grow. For example, don’t say “I’ve learned to be a patient leader”, rather, “I’m learning to be a patient leader”. This reminded me to be a humble, teachable and ever-growing leader who is desperately in need of God’s grace to carry out my responsibilities.
Learning to lead like Jesus is for leaders who desperately need the Holy Spirit’s direction, the Father’s wisdom and the Son’s encouragement. Leaders who are learning to first follow Jesus, learn well. Learning to lead is a lifelong education. We never graduate from Christ leadership school, but we do advance as we become wiser students through our own struggles, failures and successes.
“Say to wisdom, ‘You are my sister, and call understanding your kinsman” (Proverbs 7:4).
Wise leaders are learners, but if they stop learning they cease to lead wisely. Leaders who learn ask the right questions, get the most accurate answers, and are able to make the wisest decisions. “How can I get out of the way as the leader, and support the team to be successful?” “How can our organization go from good to great by integrating and sustaining best practices?” The Lord can’t wait to pour out wisdom on earnest and humble hearts seeking to gain what only He gives.
James, the brother—who experienced first hand Jesus’ wise words and actions— defined wisdom in this way: “But the wisdom from above is first pure [morally and spiritually undefiled], then peace-loving [courteous, considerate], gentle, reasonable [and willing to listen], full of compassion and good fruits. It is unwavering, without [self-righteous] hypocrisy [and self-serving guile” (James 3:17, Amplified Bible).
Before Steve Jobs died, wouldn’t it have been wonderfully insightful and inspiring to ask him about the pinnacle of his creation: the Apple iPhone? Seriously, if we wanted understanding into the motivation for and the purpose of his world-changing invention, Steve would be the logical starting point. What was he thinking? What motivated his perfectionism? What was his vision?
In the same way, why not first seek wisdom from the Lord of creation whose majestic exclamation point was humanity—you and me? Doesn’t it make sense to learn how to think from the Divine who molded our mind? Understand how to care for our bodies from the One who perfectly meshed billions of unique cells into a living being? Or engage the heart of God to feel and express the emotions He embedded into our heart, soul and spirit? Wisdom from our Maker makes us more like Him and less like foolish inferior idols. We learn to lead like Jesus by looking to Jesus!
“Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2).
Prayer: Heavenly Father, give me wisdom to learn to lead like Your son, in Jesus’ name I pray, amen.
Application: What specific area of my leadership needs to grow more into the likeness of Jesus?
Blessings, Kendall