Last year Hillcrest hosted a live-stream teaching session with David Kinnaman. The Barna Group is a research and resource company providing training and research for churches and non-profits. David Kinnaman is the President of the Barna Group, and spoke of a new book he was working on titled, "You Lost Me: Why Young Christians are Leaving Church...And Rethinking Faith."
The book was reintroduced to Hillcrest at a recent round-table education seminar. The seminar, hosted by Summit Ministries, was a review session for Summit Ministries, the publisher of the Understanding the Times and Lightbearers curriculum. The review time was an invitation to schools Summit believes are teaching worldview in impactful and innovative ways.
In the review session, Sean McDowell from Capistrano Christian in California referenced You Lost Me. He quoted statistics showing 60% of college freshman, who say they're Christian, will deny their faith by the end of their Junior year. Sean McDowell has a great overview of You Lost Me here.
As HLA administration have been processing You Lost Me, they've been encouraged by Kinnaman's quote, "Disciples are handmade, one relationship at a time." Hillcrest's unique student discipleship, and adult-to-student ratio, make it a unique place to be trained and equipped.
Kinnaman outlined a finding from their research that pointed out,
...assumptions on which we have built our work with young people are rooted in modern, mechanistic, and mass production paradigms. Some (though not all) ministries have taken cues from the assembly line, doing everything possible to streamline the manufacture of shiny new Jesus-followers, fresh from the factory floor. But disciples cannot be mass-produced.
A common theme at Hillcrest this year underscores that Hillcrest exists to make disciples of Christ. We are finding that students come to us with a deep longing to have meaningful relationships with their teachers, understanding truths not only from their classes, but also from the faculty's personal life. It is evident that students are finding discipleship and mentoring at Hillcrest, in addition to a college-prepratory education.
Furthermore, Eric Metaxes underscores the danger of misguiding discipleship. Metaxes, in his book Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy, found that the German populace was looking for discipleship and leadership, and was led astray:
The First War and the subsequent depression and turmoil had brought about a crisis in which the younger generation, especially, had lost all confidence in traditional authority and the church. The German notion of the Fuhrer arose out of this generation and its search for meaning and guidance out of its troubles.
Kinnaman's comments include Metaxes, commenting:
Our research at Barna Group leads me to believe that the next generation of Christians has a similar crisis of confidence in institutions, including government, the workplace, education, and marriage, as well as the church...Where institutions failed the next generation, he (Deitrich Bonhoeffer) stepped in as a mentor, confidant, and friend. Where culture demanded mindless conformity in exchange for a sense of belonging, he created a deep, kingdom-centered, alternative community. Where the church accomodated Nazism's ungodly beliefs and practices, he spoke sternly and prophetically to its leaders and adherents, challenging them to repent and reform.
Bonhoeffer had a firm dedication to mentorship. His passion to equip the church to oppose the Nazi regime is legendary. Students today feel a similar need to belong. However, unless they're educated to find community in Biblical principles, we are in danger of another Nazi regime uprising.
A Biblical framework for education is essential to raise up leaders who will stand for justice, truth and beauty. More important than the organization is the discipleship. Fortunately, students at Hillcrest are engaging this framework, not only in their classrooms, but also in the mentorship they receive from the faculty and staff at Hillcrest Academy.