I am a few decades older than most of our students. That’s why I am particularly interested in understanding the beliefs and values of today’s young people.
The Barna Group recently published a study of today’s American Christians. We recognize that people’s values and belief systems continue to shift rapidly in our culture, but the results of this study were staggering to me. Two of the primary themes Barna noted were:
The Christian Church is becoming less theologically literate Biblical illiteracy is prevalent today. Few Americans, especially young adults, believe that faith should be integrated into the whole of their lives.
People are less interested in spiritual principles Teenagers—the young men and women who are our future college students—cited education, career development, friendships and travel as their life priorities. They admit that faith takes a back seat to their pursuit of accomplishments.
When the next generation of college students holds such a superficial approach to faith, it is for us as educators, a call to action. One of our opportunities at Northwestern, as we emphasize the importance of academic rigor and biblical truth, is to show students how their goals in life should be centered around their relationship with Jesus Christ.
I always say that our world needs more Northwestern graduates—men and women who are academically and spiritually equipped to meet today’s challenges. This study reinforces why our world desperately needs quality Christ-centered higher education solidly grounded in biblical principles. Our four pillars—Wholeheartedly Christian, Academically Excellent, Focused on Community and Engaged in the World—reflect our mission.
As leaders in Christian higher education, our charge is to communicate that God created us not simply to collect experiences and achievements, but to glorify Him as we pursue with excellence His calling for our lives.
Alan S. Cureton, Ph.D. President Northwestern College and Northwestern Media