This transcript is taken from a Stand in the Gap Today program originally aired on 2/23/24.  To listen to the program, please click HERE.

Sam Rohrer:                      Well, hello and welcome to the special Friday edition of Stand in the Gap today, and it’s our monthly culture and values update program with truly our honored guest, with us often, you all love him, Dr. George Barna, currently the Director of Research at the Cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University. For those who may not know, George is also a nationally-known speaker and author of a whole multitude of books. The latest one that he’s been doing a lot of discussion about is Raising Spiritual Champions. It’s a great book, and as anyone with any degree of objectivity and analysis agrees, our nation, I’m going to say, is in literal slow motion. Slow-motion economic, political, and moral collapse. It’s going not the right direction.

We’re going to get into the heart of today as to why, but the institutions of the family, civil government, and the Church as established by God are, well, I’m going to say generally dysfunctional, corrupt, and heretical in that order. Now, in Psalm 11:3, the psalmist there raises a question, I think made really for the moment. It says, “If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” There’s a lot of ways you could take that verse, a lot of sermons on it from different angles, but let me paraphrase that question in a literal sense by substituting some accurate Hebrew equivalent-type synonyms of the keywords. It’d be kind of like this.

If or when the political and moral supports upholding the institutions, the foundations of civil government, the Church and the family within society are attacked, broken down and destroyed, where can the righteous, the moral and the law-abiding citizens go for help and redress in order to live justly? Something like that. It’s a real dilemma for those who would seek to live according to God’s rules. Yet if you listen to most politicians, they would reject this analysis as being too much about nothing and that would be quick just to, from their perspective, well, just throw more money at the symptoms.

Our more visible politicians today perhaps may describe themselves as saviors. Many of them like to think themselves that with describing themselves often as the only person standing between national collapse and greatness and the only person with the intellect and capacity to overcome the evils of the other party or the other candidate. Most pastors won’t even preach about the conditions or the causes leading to the dysfunction of the family, the corrupt nature of government, or the heretical and paralyzed nature of the Church. Most people influenced by strategic I’m going to say AI-generated social media propaganda are shaped by content designed to paralyze or to encourage retreat into the surrealist of willing ignorance or some form of drug or sexual addiction.

Now, that being my description of our day and time, Dr. Isaac Crockett and I will engage Dr. George Barna now on the contents of his latest research. The title for today’s program is this, The Research Is In: America’s Teetering On The Edge Of Christian Invisibility. With that, I welcome George. Thanks for being with us today.

George Barna:                  Oh, great to be back with you again. Thanks so much.

Sam Rohrer:                      George, in the report you say that our nation is at a point of crisis that you describe as the words “Christian invisibility,” an interesting phrase, and you describe as being on the precipice. Would you define what you mean by a crisis of Christian invisibility? What do you mean by that?

George Barna:                  Well, essentially what’s happening is that we’re going from a history of the prominence of the Christian body in America to an era of our history where you’d be hard-pressed to find Christians, to point out Christians in this culture. We’re shifting away from God to self. We’re shifting from truth to deception. We’re shifting from sacrifice and service to comfort. We’re moving from a pursuit of God’s joy to personal happiness. All of this comes back to, I believe, our shift away in our worldview from a Biblical worldview to the dominant worldview in America today, which is syncretism.

You’ve got two out of three people claiming they’re Christians, but really when you look at how Jesus defined Christian or disciples and you measure those particular criteria, you find that only about 3, maybe 4% of our adult population are genuine disciples of Jesus. That’s based on those six criteria that Jesus gives us in Scripture. Even if you look in the pastorate, you find that a majority of pastors don’t have a Biblical worldview. It’s very rare and exceedingly difficult to be a disciple of Jesus because what does it mean to be a disciple? You’re imitating the life of Christ. You’re behaving like Him, but we know that you do what you believe, so if your beliefs are off, your behaviors going to be off. Your behavior’s off, you’re not going to be a disciple.

Isaac Crockett:                  This is really truly the crisis that you’re talking about that you’re not going to be a true disciple, and it’s going to affect the mission that we’re called to, the great commission that Christians are called to. As people look at this, I think some people might say, “Oh, wow, when did this happen?” It just kind of happened overnight they might assume, but can you talk to this designation of crisis that you’ve given it that brings it to the point that it’s really a problem? Also, talk to us about did this just happen overnight or has this been in the process for awhile? Is it just now becoming a process or have we been seeing this for a while?

George Barna:                  Yeah, in the opening comments, Sam alluded to this notion that it’s a slow motion collapse, and I think that’s a very apt description of what’s been going on. I mean, this started decades ago. Probably a good 50, maybe 60 years ago was when all of this started to collapse and it’s been slow. My first best-selling book was called The Frog in the Kettle, and it’s that situation where you’re like the frog in the water, you boil the water slowly. Frog doesn’t know the temperature’s changing because it keeps adapting to those changes that are actually harmful to its existence. That’s exactly what’s going on in our culture today, so it didn’t happen overnight, but the implication of that, Isaac, is that we can’t turn it around overnight either. If we want to turn it around, if it matters to us, if we care, then we better get busy now because it’s going to take decades for us to turn this around.

We need to start with our children because they’re the ones whose worldview can still be shaped and formed. We can begin making a difference through their lives, but we’ve got to get to it right now. We’re a nation that claims to be Christian, but there’s very little evidence to support that claim in terms of commitment and practice in terms of our determination to be disciples of Jesus, When we ask people in our research, “Who do you think you are? Who do you want to be? What are you doing to get there?”, this notion of becoming a lifelong disciple of Jesus is absent in that conversation.

Sam Rohrer:                      All right, and ladies and gentlemen, and that’s where it is. We’re going to get into more of that research and details, recent research, and we’re going to actually begin looking at five core beliefs that George has researched that comes to light to help frame and substantiate what we’re talking about.



Sam Rohrer:                      If you’re just joining Isaac and I today here in Stand in the Gap today, our special guest, Dr. George Barna, our monthly culture and values update-focused program and website, which you can find details about this specific report we’re now going to be going into, as well as George’s new book, Raising Spiritual Champions, you can find I believe, on the site Anyways, we’ll just leave that at this point. Let’s go into it a little bit. When it comes to what makes a professing Christian, and if you listened to the first segment, we’re talking about Christians, and then reference was made to only 3 to 4% of the two-thirds of Americans, George said, that professed to be Christians would exhibit a Biblical worldview and, therefore, true Christianity.

When it comes to what makes a professing Christian, a true and possessing Christian, that kind that performs as we’re supposed to be salt and light in this evil world. The kind that causes the world to say, as they said of the early Christians, that they turned the world upside down. The kind that when they stand before The Lord will hear The Lord say, “Come on in, good and faithful servant.” Not the kind that will hear Jesus proclaim, “Depart from me, you worker of inequity.” Well, when it comes to that genuine Christian, that genuine believer, there are these genuine entities are marked by certain core beliefs which uniquely describe true Biblical Christianity demonstrated by not only what people say, but actually how they live it out. That’s the point here.

Now, it’s published in an official summary by Dr. George Barna, Director of Cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University. The report is Release #4, so if you go to that website, you’ll find it, Release #4. It says this, “Eight-to-12-year-olds are on track to abandon Biblical Christianity in record numbers, and their rejection of spiritual truth represent an urgent call to action for Christian parents, educators, and churches.” To that I say amen. It’s these core beliefs of Scriptural truth that can be known and can be measured, and so that’s what we’re going to talk to.

George, all right, in your research, you identified, as I mentioned earlier, five core beliefs that our preteens our abandoning, in your words, in record numbers. All right, let’s start here. Would you share your findings and the consequence that it produces about the first belief that you identify as the review of simply the Bible?

George Barna:                  Well, yeah. I mean, obviously, if you want to be a follower of Christ, you’ve got to embrace the Bible as the source of truth that God has given to us. God Himself is the embodiment of truth. He’s the source of the truth, but He then codified it into words for us in this book that we call the Bible. It’s true, it’s relevant, it’s reliable, but when we look at children, those eight to 12-years-old that we interviewed in a national survey of eight-to-12-year-olds, what we found is that only six out of every 10 have ever read any part of the Bible. Only about half of them believe that it contains information about how a person can live a good life. They believe that it contains stories, it contains information, but is it the kind of useful information that will put you on a pathway toward leading a good life? Only half of them believe that, 50%.

Then, we found that only about one out of four of them say that they personally consult the Bible when they’re trying to figure out the difference between what’s right and what’s wrong. Even fewer of them say that they believe that turning to the Bible is the best way to distinguish right from wrong. Partly that’s because only one out of four of them believe that the Bible contains the true words of God and provides value that will guide your life. Those numbers are shockingly small. Again, if we were to go back and look at historical research, we’d see the numbers were bigger in the past. More children were raised to believe that the Bible was trustworthy and that it was reliable, it was helpful. More of them were raised in homes where their parents were reading the Bible.

More of them, frankly, were raised in churches that actually taught the content of the Bible. The Bible tells us in Galatians, you reap what you sow. We’re reaping what we’ve sewn. It’s not a pretty picture. When we look at, “Well, what difference does it matter?” Well, when we then look at the lifestyle of our children, when we look at the goals that they’re establishing, it promotes selfishness. It promotes kind of an arrogance. It’s like, “Well, I know what’s best for my life.” We become our own truth because we don’t recognize God as the ultimate source of all truth and knowledge, and we don’t recognize that. He loved us so much He gave us this guidebook to help us in our lives, the Bible, and it’s helpful to us because it is consistently and reliably true.

Isaac Crockett:                  The research that you have done has been helpful to me both as a parent. I have two of my children are preteens in that eight-to-12-year-old category. That’s why we use the BJU Press in homeschooling them and things to give them a Biblical worldview. As a pastor, and I’ve had conversations just in the last two months with I can’t even remember how many pastors similar to this about our children and young people, and several pastors are trying to start homeschool groups and Christian schools and things to help in this need.

Knowing what the need is, as shocking as it is, as hard as it is to go through your report and to read it and to see these things, I needed it. It’s a wake-up call as a pastor. George, the second one of these five, similar to the first one, could you share that, what your findings were about that, defining it, and then telling us what you just mentioned, you reap what you sow? What are the consequences that come to our culture as a result of it?

George Barna:                  Well, Isaac, it has to do with the notion of absolute truth. Does absolute truth or absolute moral truth, does that exist? What we find is that on the one hand, today’s young kids, the eight-to-12-year-olds, believe there is a difference between right and wrong, and yet, only one out of five of them, just 21%, believe that absolute moral truth exists. What they’re doing is they’re coming to the conclusion, “Well, yeah, there’s truth, but I’m the one who determines it. I’m the only one who can really figure out what truth is for my life in any given situation. I have to assess the situation and my feelings and my opportunities in this situation. Based on all of that, I’ll figure out what the truth is for me in that situation.”

That’s kind of scary because it means the truth is always changing. There’s no reliability, no predictability in life, but it also means that when even children believe that they don’t have to study anything, they don’t have to learn anything about truth, they can feel their way through life. What you get is a completely different basis of, and substance of a moral code for that individual. In this particular case, for instance, we know from our research with these kids that therefore because they are their own truth source, lying is situational. It’s not always morally wrong to lie. Most children in America now today would say, “Well, I mean, if I lie in certain situations, it’s in my best interest, and therefore it’s not wrong.”

There’s no reliability, no predictability in life. But it also means that when even children believe they don’t have to study anything, they don’t have to learn anything about truth, they can feel their way through life. What you get is a completely different basis of and substance of a moral code for that individual. And so in this particular case, for instance, we know from our research with these kids that therefore because they are their own truth source lying is situational. It’s not always morally wrong to lie. I assessed the situation and I realized, “I’m going to be better off if I lie here.” They can morally justify it. It’s deemed right in their eyes because they believe it works better for them. Stealing-same kind of thing.

If a friend loans me money, do I need to give it back? Well, not if he’s got a lot of money and he has NASPR back and he doesn’t really need it. I’m really scratching around for coin. I mean, it’s not a big deal. It’s not morally wrong for me to keep that. It’s in my best interests, and therefore, their truth in that situation dictates that they will live a life that’s contrary to the same moral values that are given to us in God’s Word.

Sam Rohrer:                      Well, George, unfortunately, the children who look around at our culture today see a lot of glorified theft and glorified distortion of truth, don’t they? Anyways, third point gets into Bible truth leads to salvation, the view of salvation by the preteens. That’s skewed according to what you’re finding as well, isn’t it?

George Barna:                  Yeah, and what we’re finding is with each succeeding generation, and now going down to our eight-to-12-year olds, looking at them as part of a larger generation, each succeeding generation has less and less likelihood of believing that the God of Israel or the God of the Bible exists. Less likely to believe that there’s anything that happens after we die. More likely to believe in reincarnation. We’re at a point now where only about a third of our young kids believe that there can be any kind of eternal salvation and that has anything to do with Jesus Christ.

If we were to look at our teenagers today, we’d see that that number tends to drop between the youngest children and then when they become teenagers. There’s a lot of peer pressure, a lot of medium messaging that takes place that moves them farther in Jesus. This is a real challenge, too, is to get people to understand how salvation works from a Biblical point of view. Our kids are not getting it.

Sam Rohrer:                      Ladies and gentlemen, think about it. What’s the most valuable thing? It’s the soul of a person. This is the consequence of moving away from the Bible, from the truth, from salvation. Stakes are high. That’s why we’re talking about there is a crisis indeed. When we come back, we’ll continue with the balance of these core values as identified in George’s survey report before.


Sam Rohrer:                      Well, throughout Scripture, the pattern of knowing the truth, and we’re just talking about absolute truth, that was the second point in Dr. George Barna’s surveys, identifying core beliefs, being quickly abandoned by our preteen youth, which spells predictable of where this generation is going to be rejecting truth of the Bible, absolute truth. That part, throughout Scripture, the pattern of knowing the truth and then walking away from it, which obviously has been the case in this country because it didn’t always used to be this way, it started in the Garden of Eden. We talk about it a lot.

Eve believed the lie of Satan, who questioned truth, and Adam then followed her deception, abandoning the truth of God, Who had just created them. We know how this problem… when it started, and we know through history how it has developed, and it’s had a trend. It’s had a way of tracking it. The Israelites who had seen the miraculous delivery of God and His mighty provision on their behalf experienced God’s blessing in one generation only to be immediately be followed by another generation who rose up and rejected all of the truth that they knew, and then experienced the disciplining hand of God upon them. As the Old Testament recounts in so many places, and then another generation arose who knew not the God of their fathers, well, if that sounds like America today, you’d be right.

The abandoning of God is beyond serious. The implications are just enormous, and the research as we’re talking about today confirms it. As we look at the next two of these five core surveys, we’ll wind up talking at the end about what can be done. George’s already said we’d better wake up. We should have wakened up yesterday, but George, okay, there’s a fourth belief that your research identified, which clearly arises in some kind of almost like a sequence out of the first three. You identified this as life purpose, and that’s interesting. Would you share your findings about this one? Define this, what it mean, life purpose, and then some of the consequences that it produces in our culture when our young people don’t have a life purpose.

George Barna:                  Yeah. It’s interesting, Sam, because as we have studied worldview for decades now, one of the things that I know is that young people are shaping that worldview because they have to answer core questions for their life. “Who am I? Why am I here? How did I get here? What’s my purpose? Who do I want to be? How am I going to get from where I am now to that person that I want to be? How’s the world likely to respond to me and how will I push back?” All of these are the kinds of questions that young kids are constantly wrestling with as they’re trying to figure out how life works, what it’s all about, what it means, et cetera. Of course, one of the key things in there, as I allude to, is understanding the purpose of life. Why are you here? What’s it all about?

The good news with today’s children, the eight-to-12-year-olds in America at least, is that nine out of 10 of them do believe that they have an important reason for living. That’s good. You want to have a reason to get out of bed in the morning. Otherwise, what’s the alternative? You take the nihilist solution, that worldview, which says life isn’t worth living. It’s not even real. You’re just fooling yourself if you think it has value or meaning or purpose or anything. You might as well just end it, and might have tipped in a way to the nihilist because of all the worldview groups we study, they have the highest suicide rate. Well, they should given their worldview.

The problem is their worldview is wrong, and so that’s why we’re going through all of this is to try to help to figure out, how can we get children to get the right worldview? Okay, well, the good news is nine out of 10 of them think they have an important reason for living. The bad news is only one out of four of them say that it’s to know, love, and serve God with all your heart, mind, strength, and soul while you’re here on Earth. What is it that they think life is about? What is this purpose that’s getting them out of bed in the morning?

Well, for a large share of them it’s becoming happy, doing whatever it takes to be happy. That’s their purpose. For others, it’s to try to make the world a better place. For some of them, it’s to try to make other people happy, their parents, their grandparents, their teachers, their friends, but they’re missing the boat on this. No, it’s to know, love, and serve God. It’s to really bring joy to His heart. That’s why He created us. We’re created for His purposes, and it’s through that that we get our purpose, but most children in America don’t get that. Why? Most adults in America don’t get that, and so it’s not taught and it’s not modeled for them.

Isaac Crockett:                  All of these are just so important, and this last one of the five that you point out, again, as a parent and as a pastor, I pray that The Lord helps me to model this correctly for my children because as a pastor, I have seen so many cases where young people seem to go astray. I’m thinking to myself, “How is this possible?” They said all the right things at church, but what you find out in talking to them more is that at home they said one thing, but they acted another way. That’s kind of what this fifth one is that you say that Americans are known for the relentless pursuit of success.

The catch is how success is defined, and so unfortunately somebody can say, “Yeah, kid, you ought to go to church,” but then they see mom and dad really pour themselves much more into being “successful” at something other than that maybe. How do these preteens, what are they defining success as compared to what Biblical Christianity defines it as? Maybe you could illustrate some of the consequences when it goes that way in our culture.

George Barna:                  Yeah, so basically, again, what kids are doing is they’re learning from their parents. They’re observing what they do, they’re listening to what they say they know. Often there’s a difference between the two, but then they watch movies and television shows and videos and play video games, listen to pop music. All of these things are sending worldview messages, and what we know is in America today, most adults define success in terms of their personal happiness and freedom in terms of being a “good person,” in terms of leading a healthy and productive life without any kind of economic depression. Those kinds of things are three times more likely to be described by adults as determining one’s success in life.

It’s depressing, but it’s not surprising that as we interview children across the country, only 17% of preteens said that consistent obedience is true success, which of course is the way the Bible teaches it, that if you want to be a success in life, it’s not about all the goodies that you can accumulate. It’s not about your feelings, feeling happy, feeling appreciated, feeling respected, feeling all these things. No, it’s about knowing what God expects of you, why He puts you here, and consistently living out His principles.

One out of every six preteens, what difference does it make? Well, it makes you a very competitive person. It makes you a very selfish person. It makes you the kind of person who wants to be served by others, but not have much interest in serving others or sacrificing for the good of others. These are the kinds of things that we see happening and coming out of this misunderstanding of why they’re here on Earth and what this life is all about.

Sam Rohrer:                      Okay, George, I got a followup here. I have a couple questions and you’re not going to be able to get to them all, but here’s one. When you did the survey with these children, eight to 12, did you find that if they were off mark, had a distorted… they had a wrong Biblical worldview perspective of one of them, that they were off on all of them? That would be one. Do they all go together? Or could they be off on one and not off of another? If there was one of these that you identified that was singularly most important in determining that overall view of that child, what would that be?

George Barna:                  Well, first of all, no. We see a lot of people where whether they’re eight-to-twelve-year-olds, teenagers, adults, where they have one or two of these beliefs that are Biblical and they believe those things. They live according to those, but not the others. It’s not an all-or-nothing proposition. In most cases, people believe at least one of… There are actually seven beliefs. We call them Seven Cornerstones of Biblical Worldview. Most people believe at least one of those, but very few people believe all seven of those. What we did find in relation to your second question is if you believe all seven of these, not just believe, I mean, you really own them, you try to live them out, then what happens is you have an 83% probability of developing a complete Biblical worldview. If you reject even one of the Seven Cornerstones, and those include these five beliefs we’ve talked about here so far, well, if you reject even one of those, then the probability of you developing a full Biblical worldview drops to just 2%.

Having a mishmash of beliefs, syncretism, that’s what defines Americans. That’s the dominant, prevalent worldview in our country. That’s common, but that’s why we’re talking about these things because we’ve got to understand, what are the important beliefs for us to really own? Where do we start? Seven Cornerstones are a great foundation, and you can build on that then and create for yourself a true, genuine, holistic, complete Biblical worldview. It’s going to take time, it’s going to take effort. It’s not going to be easy. You’re going to be persecuted as you do it. Get over it. This is what it is to be a follower of Christ.

Sam Rohrer:                      Yeah.

George Barna:                  He promised us. [inaudible 00:30:30]

Sam Rohrer:                      Absolutely, and that’s what The Lord says, ladies and gentlemen. Did Jesus not tell His disciples, “Okay, if you’re going to follow me, you’ll find that the world does to you what it does to me, and it doesn’t accept you.” Therein is also power because the power of the Gospel changes hearts and lives, and that’s what we’re talking about. It needs to be, and when we come back, we’re going to conclude with what differences it make. We’ll follow up with that question, but I’m also going to ask George the major influencers in these children’s lives in particular. Who are they? Where can correction come?


Sam Rohrer:                      Well, we’re going to enter into our final segment here now. We’ve covered a lot of ground. A lot of this information when you do research of the type that Dr. George Barna does and has done for a long time, the goal obviously to do research is honest research is done to uncover truth. For the believer, it’s that you can know the truth and that truth can set you free, but you have to respond to it. The unbelieving world will use research most of the time deceptively to try to prove a point that’s not true, and that’s not what we’re talking about now. We’re talking about the truth, so as we conclude and try to bring some corrective action response to what we’re talking about today, the idea is here. The research is in the title we’ve used today’s program, America’s Teetering On The Edge Of Christian Invisibility.

That we’ve talked about earlier, so if you did not catch the entire program, please go back and listen to this from the beginning,, you can get it or off of our app, Stand in the Gap. Listen to it again carefully, a lot of information here, and then take and share it with someone else who you think has ears to hear and fears God. Now, we’ve heard the details today, at least some of them. Not unlike Israel of old who redefined in their day success as coming from their own hands. They redefined truth from what God said was the truth to what they felt good about. Where salvation only by faith in God, fear God and keep my commandments is what God said, they discarded in favor of living it up in the moment. Forget the eternal and literally abandon every one of the five beliefs that we identified today.

Now, America today is truly in crisis and we’ve talking about it. Slow-motion collapse, but for a very clear reason. We’ve walked away from the truth, and it’s being manifested in laws and policies and actions and being mirrored and being able to identify in the attitudes and core values of our people and the folks of today, children, eight to 12. Now, as I read Scripture, the attitude of our adults today and those who ought to know better seems to mirror exactly the description of Jesus about our end days, and referred to the Laodicean Church in Revelation 3 where there Jesus, I think, said it best.

He said, “You say to this church at this time,” which I think is the day in which we live, “you say you’re rich, you say you have many goods, you say you have need of nothing,” but Jesus says, “I’m telling you, you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked.” Them, He said, “He who hath an ear to hear let them hear.” Now, with that being said, George, before we ask you to talk to those who have ears to hear, would you remind us, our listeners right now, about the greatest influencers in a child’s life?

You talk about it in your report. Those who by strength of their position or their persuasiveness have the greatest ability to mold the minds and the perceptions of literally the consciences of our young people. Who are they? Is it perhaps those very same people who have an answer to our predicament perhaps are also the ones who have not been doing such a good job and need to change?

George Barna:                  Well, yeah. I mean, very simply, the greatest influence of all on the development of children’s worldview in America is the media, but other significant influences are parents and family, that can include grandparents and peers. They all have an impact, as well as schools, because schools are constantly trying to teach children what is right, what’s wrong, what they should believe, should believe, and so forth. When we want to figure out who can turn these things around, those are the chief players right there.

Really, when we look at the Scriptures, the Scriptures say yes, but it’s the parents’ job. That’s what’s supposed to happen within the family. It’s gatherings, the structure, the events that they share together, the conversations. That’s what family’s all about. Sadly, what we see is the influence of parents decreasing, the influence of media increasing, and so we’ve got a lot to turn around. It helps to be able to say, “Okay, if it’s the parents’ responsibility, let’s start investing in supporting parents to do this job well and to do it right.

Isaac Crockett:                  George, those who are listening to us right now, there are certainly parents and grandparents, pastors, church leaders, folks who influence the parents that are listening. Maybe even some preteenagers listening, but a lot of those influences or those who have the greatest influence on the preteens as you were describing. Could you speak to them in regard to what they need to do, at the very least being faithful to God, but how they can take steps in the right direction to help mold this upcoming generation, especially those who are preteens?

George Barna:                  Sure. There’s a truism, disciples make disciples. It’s important to understand that. It’s not just an old saying, it’s a truth. You reproduce who you are, what you are. You can only give what you have, and so it’s disciples who make disciples. The question for any of us who know, love, and serve Jesus and try to do it with all our heart, mind, strength, and soul, first question to us is, who are you discipling? Then, the second question might be, how are you discipling them? What does it mean to disciple a person? In that book, Raising Spiritual Champions, I try to encourage parents if you’re going to do this, and you should because it’s your top priority in life, do it well because you’re doing it as a service to The Lord. As Galatians 3 says, “Do it with excellence.”

What does that mean? Well, it means, number one, you got to have a plan. Number two, you have to think through what beliefs are important for me to communicate to my children. Number three, how am I going to show them how to translate those beliefs into action? Number four, how can I hold them accountable? All of that raises the question of, but in what context does this happen? Well, that’s what discipleship is all about. What kind of discipleship practices work these days? Interestingly enough, the same ones that work back in Jesus’ days. The same ones that are shown to us in God’s Word. What are we talking about> Number one, have a true, genuine, intimate, spiritual relationship with your children where they trust you and they want to know what you’re thinking, what you’re trying to accomplish in your life.

Secondly, then, what do you need to communicate to them in that relationship? I’m trying to do things by the book. By the book, I mean God’s book, the book that He gave to us, the Bible. That’s got to be the focal point of my discipling of my child. How do I do that? I do that by telling them stories, stories from the Bible, stories from my life, stories from when they were younger and mistakes that they made and how they needed to be corrected and how now they’re old enough to understand the differences. By having an engaging Socratic dialogue with your child on an ongoing basis where you’re not always telling them what to believe, you’re asking them what they believe, why they believe it, how they came to that conclusion, what would happen if they were to consider a different belief, i.e., the Biblical belief.

It’s those kinds of conversations that enable the child to own Biblical truth as their own truth. It transitions from being my truth to their truth, and that’s what you want. Then, you got to show them what it looks like by modeling it through your lifestyle and holding them accountable, but asking them to hold you accountable as well. Discipleship, again, is a relationship, and so we want to have this shared experience with them where they have the opportunity to not only see it, but to live it, to talk about it. This is what Deuteronomy 6 tells us to do every day. When you wake up until you go to bed, put these things on your foreheads, put them on your side clothes, be talking about them as you walk down the road. All of this stuff, that’s what a Godly parent does, and you want to be a Godly-

Sam Rohrer:                      George-

George Barna:                  … parent you-

Sam Rohrer:                      … George, we’re out of time. Ladies and gentlemen, again, go back and listen to the program and what George is talking about, knowing Scripture, embracing it, living it out, demonstrating it to your children. It starts with you. It’s modeled to them. Do that. God will bless that effort.