No doubt you’re one of the millions that tuned in on Tuesday night to watch Bill Nye and Ken Ham debate the viability of creationism. It was an intriguing conversation, and both men did well. But I couldn’t help but think about students and student ministry and whether or not any of this really matters to them? Does your average Christian tween or teen even care how our universe started or where we came from? For that matter, the students you interact with may be theistic evolutionists – yet they don’t even know it and neither do you. The debate reminded us of one thing: the basis for how we articulate the origin of this planet and humans is important, because it’s the basis of how we think about every other area of life.
So what are the three big creation debate ‘take-aways’ for youth ministers and parents?
1. Evolutionists know their stuff
That was evidenced in Tuesday’s debate and we’ve witnessed this for decades. Evolutionists are not intellectual dummies – and they handle their perspectives with thoughtful ‘evidences’ and ‘conclusions’. They do their homework and they have their talking points backed up by their science. Many teens will be graduating from public high schools across North America with the same evolutionary grid to funnel their future thinking through. Since their elementary years they have been bombarded with the theory of evolution – so by 12th grade their pretty well versed in the ways of Chuck Darwin.
But for our Christian teens, could the same be said from a Creationist standpoint? Do our Christian kids who have been through 14 years of Christian education in our local churches understand Creationism? Have our youth ministries and homes deliberately and effectively offered a counter-philosophy to the anti-God agenda of mainstream education? How would we know? How would we measure it? Is it our kid’s faults that they’re leaving for college ill equipped, or is it ours? Should we not have a serious plan to equip our Christian kids with Biblical information on the validity of Genesis 1-11?
2. Do our students have a Biblical worldview?
I won’t point out all the stats have been done over the last several years that clearly indicate that for most Christian kids leaving for university/college, they don’t get Christianity, let alone Creationism. I’m sure Tuesday night when Ken Ham was speaking about the foundation of life being built on the Bible, Bill Nye wondered to himself how any self respecting, rational man could believe such nonsense (he basically said it a few times out loud). Parents and youth leaders, are you convinced your teens are leaving your youth ministries with a rock-solid Biblical worldview? Meaning – they look at life’s circumstances and events through the lens of Scripture? From God’s viewpoint, are we helping students understand:
- their origin
- their sinful state
- God’s redemptive plan for the ages
- the deity of Christ
How would we know if they have a Biblical understanding of these things? How would we measure it?
3. The gospel must be interwoven into the entire framework of your teaching
This was the best part of the debate Tuesday (from my perspective). Ken Ham did an incredible job 7-8 times of weaving the gospel into the discussion. But that shouldn’t be abnormal in our ministries – our kids should be regularly hearing the gospel and be given an opportunity to respond. It should be considered tragic for a student to go through their Junior and Senior high years to only hear the gospel once or twice in youth group. I’m not saying every youth night turns into an evangelistic opportunity, but I am saying the gospel should be shared deliberately and regularly. You’ve heard the stats about how many times someone hears the gospel before they respond – so my recommendation would be to work off of the assumption that a lot of kids in your youth groups aren’t saved and they need to consistently hear the truth of the gospel.
So those were my big take aways from Tuesday night relating to youth ministry…what were yours? What are your thoughts on my three take aways?