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  • Dr. Cy Smith

Convictional Leadership

How and what to teach the next generation of Christian leaders to truly impact the culture for Christ

It is no secret that a new secular worldview, without God, is trying to reframe reality for most of this country.  It’s becoming most apparent in our younger generation, those between 18 and 29 years old.  Why them?  Why now? What can we do about it?


In the latest episode of the Clearly Christian podcast, I talk with Dr. Thomas White, President of Cedarville University.   Dr. White is making a difference by taking a stand and setting an example at Cedarville.  He’s unabashedly setting the expectation that the Bible is where the lessons are found to develop Christian leaders for our future.

As always, we lay out the Chalkboard Points for those of you taking notes. This episode revolves around the following points:


Chalkboard Point #1:   We must give attention to the intentional training of the next generation of Christian leaders.

To truly impact the culture for Christ, these kids are going to need an education that includes a meaningful discipleship experience, strong biblical worldview training, and the ability to clearly connect their faith and their work.


Chalkboard Point #2:   The leadership that matters most is deeply convictional.


Authentic leaders are driven by beliefs that lead to action. And these beliefs define us because we know that they're grounded in the truth. This is the kind of conviction that makes all the difference when it comes to training that will be impactful in the right way, for the right reasons. 


Here’s the problem:  A typical Christian child spends about 15 minutes a day (or 41 hours a year) in face-to-face conversation with their Dad.  That same child might spend 47 hours a year in church.  But then, that same child goes to a K-12 Public School five days a week and is likely to spend seven hours a day with media in some form.  It’s a vast difference between purposeful training and instruction that has likely removed the Bible or a biblical worldview from its presence.


These young people are left to their own feelings and opinions about faith and where it belongs in their personal and professional lives.  The bottom line is that they don’t see a connection between their work their faith and what they do for a living.


We want to create the next generation of Christian Leaders, and we must take a stand now in our convictional and Christian training.


Dr. Thomas White and I understand the challenges here.  “There's no real purpose”, says Dr. White.  “Then your job is just to get more money so you can have more fun. And it just doesn't connect. People don't know why they're here, and so I think the crossroads is a crossroad of truth.”


Our younger generations spend so much time with social media and away from purposeful, convictional training. According to Dr. White, it’s left them feeling purposeless.  “This generation in particular, they don't know who they are. They have mental health issues, they have depression, they have anxiety, they're on social media way too much, they're staring at phones, and they're not building relationships with people.


In a key moment of our show, I give a real-life example of how this plays out, even in a Christian school environment.  “I’ll ask the students, ‘Hey, what do you want me to talk about in chapel? And they'll say ‘Anxiety, identity, uncertainty, ambiguity, grit. We know we lack motivation sometimes.’   There are some good answers…and we can dig in and find them.  But you're not going to get those things unless you intentionally go after some of those answers.”


Of course, one of the issues society seems to be leaving up to our young people to make up their own minds about is sexuality. You can listen to the podcast here for more.


“So if my grandfather had gone to a doctor and said, ‘I feel like I'm a woman', the doctor would have treated his mind because he's crazy,” says Dr. White.   “If a student today goes to a doctor and tells a doctor, ‘I feel like a woman’, they start treating his biology.”  Somewhere along the line, inner feelings became more important than external, ultimate truth.”

“I think we've got to get back to the Bible,” continues Dr. White.  “We've got to get back to understanding who we are, what our purpose is, and so I think that's the crossroads. What are we going to do with our culture?


Then we discuss public schools vs Christian schools and the question of indoctrination.  Who is indoctrinating whom?  I’ve been saying for a long time, and so have many of my past podcast guests, that public schools have a clear agenda, and it does not include God or the Bible.  They are teaching their own truth, society’s truth. 


Dr. White agrees.  “They're the ones that are only presenting secular humanism and an evolutionary view”, he says about public government-run schools.   “And they are just cramming it down the student’s throat.  There is no truth.”


“Whereas we're saying at Cedarville University, ‘Here's what the world's going to tell you. Here's what the Bible tells you.’ Our students get to make an educated, informed decision about what they believe.”


Now you know more so that you can say “No More” if and when you must.  Convictional, Christian leadership is needed more than ever, not to tell our young people what to think, but to give them the tools they need to make up their own minds, even against everything society is throwing at them today. 

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If you’d like to join the movement with partnership, funding resources, or ways to impact your own region's Christian Education opportunities, contact Dr. Smith today at 419-756-5651, ext. 218     

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