Understanding the Unique Worldview of Students Today
by Sean McDowell
As a high school student, my father sent me to a two-week worldview experience in the mountains of Colorado Springs called Summit Ministries. I had no idea what I was getting myself in to. Looking back now, over two decades later, I realize that it was one of the most formative faith experiences of my life.
Although there were probably a couple dozen speakers at Summit (who addressed all sorts of worldview issues related to theology, economics, apologetics, science, and more), my favorite was Dr. Jeff Myers. He has sense become a good friend of mine, and he is now the president of Summit Ministries, a vital worldview experience for students. Dr. Myers is a popular speaker, the author of many books (including one of my favorites, Handoff), and is one of the most important contemporary voices in the church.
Dr. Myers was kind enough to answer some of my questions. I hope you enjoy the interview, but most importantly, if you are ages 16-22, please consider attending Summit this upcoming summer. It is a “game-changer” for many students, and I believe it could be for you too.
SEAN MCDOWELL: Jeff, what would you say are some unique worldview distinctives of young adults and teens today?
JEFF MYERS: Recently I asked my three teenage children to add some songs to my playlist for when I go running. They included all kinds of things—the good, the bad, and the ugly. When I was growing up, most songs were “coded” messages about having sex. There are still a lot of songs about sex, but there are even more about living with stress, wanting to feel empowered, and feeling regret. This is a searching generation—wondering whether anyone really loves them and whether anyone would even miss them if they disappeared.
MCDOWELL: What is the most common misunderstanding people often have about this younger generation?
JEFF MYERS: The most common misunderstanding is that young adults don’t care about anything besides themselves. I think they do care. Look at the difference of how today’s young adults engage the culture. It’s different from when I was growing up. In my day, popular culture was an escape from reality. A lot of it now is about finding expression—finding songs and movies that help them explain their thoughts and feelings to the world.
MCDOWELL: I have often heard people say that apologetics and worldview training is not critical today? Your thoughts?
MYERS: I think it’s a huge, huge mistake when people say that…
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