Age Appropriate Goals
Youth Culture Newsletter noted that
intentional discipleship must include age
appropriate goals. The foundation of
discipleship (at any age) must be the
intention to live one’s life according to
the teaching of the Lord and guidance of the
Holy Spirit. The phrase “Jesus is Lord” must
be applied to one’s own life. This month we
will look at another key goal: having a
solid, comprehensive Christian worldview.
What Is a Worldview?
A worldview is the way you make sense out of
all reality. How you understand everything
altogether. In short: how you view the
world. It integrates all the big bits of
reality (spiritual, intellectual, moral,
emotional, scientific, relational, or
physical) into one whole that stands up to
Everyone has a worldview of some sort. A
person might be educated or uneducated,
liberal or conservative, rich or poor,
non-believing or God-fearing, but people act
the way they do because they are rational.
They justify their behavior based on their
worldview. It is our nature as human beings.
Today, most people have some form of
postmodern worldview. Some have the lazy
version: they see no need for everything to
make consistent sense. It’s a “whatever”
worldview. They are easily deceived. The
lack of rationality might be a sign that we
are becoming less human.
Other post-moderns just attack any
worldviews they don’t like. They can’t put
together their own very well, but they can
tear down others.
Many Christians have a cobbled together
worldview. Their truths and principles don’t
fit together very neatly. “As long as you’re
happy” doesn’t sit very well next to “always
do the right thing.” And “look out for
number one” harmonizes poorly with “love the
Lord with all your heart, soul, mind, and
Many people hold an incomplete,
materialist-scientific worldview that
ignores the spiritual. It will debate: “How
the universe came into existence,” but not
“Why did it come into existence?”
Yet, “Why questions?” are the ones that lead
us to want a coherent worldview. By the time
we were three years old we were asking
“why?” We started with everyday things. Why
is the sky blue? Why do cats meow and dogs
bark? Why do trees lose their leaves? Why do
I have to eat my vegetables? We wanted to
understand how every-thing in life fit
together and how to relate to it all.
As teens we began to ask: why do I exist?
What is my purpose? Our “why” questions got
personal! My “self” didn’t know why my self
Teens want a coherent world-view. It is an
important and powerful age-appropriate goal.
The Right Worldview
Almost every culture until recently has
believed there is a correct,
non-self-contradicting worldview. They may
have added, “We don’t know for sure what it
is! But everything does work in some kind of
Is there one correct worldview? Yes. It is
In the beginning was the Word. All things
were created through him (John 1) and in him
all things hold together (Col 1:7). That is
to say, all things do fit together.
If all things were created by a single
divine mind, all truth must form a single,
coherent, consistent system. Truth has to be
unified and universal in order to be TRUE.
If there is a God, then there is one correct
world-view: his. Our job is now simple. It
is to ask what is that world-view and how
can I learn it?
I’m not omniscient. My point of view is
certainly incomplete. It is likely flawed,
but God’s isn’t. Still, my point of view can
be far more correct than someone else’s,
especially someone who does not have any
idea about where to look for the true one.
Knowing Where to Start
The Irish tell a joke about a man who
doesn’t know the way to Dublin. He comes
upon a farmer and asks him, “How do you get
to Dublin from here?” The farmer replies,
“Well, I wouldn’t start from here.”
We all start putting together our worldview
as children. It is a marvelous advantage
that we are equipped by God with a mind that
is inclined toward truth not error. Our
first “faith” is in our senses: we react to
pain, hunger, etc. We then learn to reason.
As a young boy, my worldview was a “street
view.” It was limited to what I could
actually see, on foot, on my bike, or in a
car. I did not have a view of the whole.
Then I learned how to read a map. I had a
view from the top. I could see where my road
went, where my town was and how things fit
Gradually, the map of the world made sense.
Then I had to master the global view and
finally a view of the universe. My world
went from what I saw “right now” to
understanding the universe. What in German
is called “Das Weltall!”
The world of truth is similar. It is
possible to form a coherent worldview that
works from any direction, that puts together
faith, family, history, science, morality,
politics, etc. into one coherent whole, but
where do you start?
Typically in our teens, we begin to wrestle
with where our fundamental faith will rest.
We start putting together our own adult
worldview. The key question is whether we
will start with faith in God or faith in
something less, like science, senses,
feelings or myself? The best answer is: any
system of thought that is not founded on
faith in God is necessarily founded on faith
in something less.
Age Appropriate Goals
One of the most important areas to have age
appropriate goals is having a Christian
intellect. In Kairos we think it is possible
to teach high school youth the foundations
of a Christian worldview, one that is rooted
in understanding that truth exists and God
is its source. And those foundations are the
Bible, catechetics, (the ordered teaching of
the church), and apologetics (answers to the
tough questions of faith).
Age appropriate goals for university aged
students build on that foundation.
University students should know where to
search when confused, and be able to engage
new falsehoods with alacrity and worldly
people with graciousness and firmness.
Meeting these age related goals can equip
our young people to stand firm in their
top illustration by (c) Kevin