This is a bit nuts, but I’ve already staked a one-way ticket to Australia on the idea.
And if God’s behind it, it’ll work.
What in the world am I talking about?
It’s a grand experiment I’m calling 360 in 180. The goal is to travel 360 degrees around the world within 180 days, barring some calamity, for a three-fold purpose:
To find Christian students in non-Christian education systems, to encourage them, and to tell their stories.
This mission is important because intensely secular worldviews entrench public education systems worldwide, carrying vast consequences for society and the church on a global scale.
Naturally, however, there’s no convenient “Secular Education Quotient” test for slapping scores on different nations to see which ones have the most secularized education systems. But remember that according to the Humanist Manifesto III, a central tenet of Secular Humanism (and secular worldviews in general) is the idea that humans resulted from unguided evolution.1 As it turns out, 68 international and national academies—state-supported organizations which oversee official education standards—have pledged to teach evolutionary human origins by signing a declaration called the Interacademy Partnership Statement on the Teaching of Evolution.2
If you were to map out the nations who have signed this statement, it would look something like this:
Certainly, not all these nations are predominantly secular. But I suspect that Christian students living in regions where other religions dominate have a lot they could teach Westerners about following Christ in education systems where Christianity is the minority. Some of these places, especially where Eastern Spirituality prevails, are even more relevant to Christian students in the secular West because Eastern Spirituality is becoming such an integral part of Western education. (See also What Every Christian Needs to Know About Humanist Education.)
So in less than two weeks, God willing, I’m strapping my earthly belongings to my back and setting out on a DIY scouting trip in search of Christian students everywhere. Starting in Western Canada and chasing the sunset from there, I’ll be tracking down students and campus ministries to document:
- Challenges Christian students are facing in different regions
- Opportunities Christian students are seeing as God works on their campuses
- Practical ways the local and global family of God can get involved in praying for and supporting these students.
Where exactly this journey will take me is anybody’s guess. But I know Who’s writing this story.
And considering the kind of endings He authors, I can’t wait to see what happens.
Update: Mission accomplished!
While I still have more weekly blog posts to write for 360 in 180 countries, As of March 16, 2019, I safely arrived back at my starting point, completing the mission. Excitingly, the big take-home lesson I’ve learned is that while the problems and opportunities Christian students face in different countries are different, the solutions are largely the same. If parents and churches strategically use these solutions—discipleship, Bible training, and other foundation-builders—to proactively support students, that could make a different for the future of the church across cultures. That’s why I’m now finding speaking opportunities to share this information with youth, college students, parents, pastors, seniors—any Christian who will listen. To find out more, please feel free to get in touch through my contact page or join my newsletter to follow this ministry’s next steps!
Posts so far from 360 in 180
United Arab Emirates:
- 360 in 180 interview themes summary: Top Nine Tips for Christian Students Going Into Secular University
Notes and References:
- The Humanist Manifesto III is available at https://americanhumanist.org/what-is-humanism/manifesto3/
- You can read the statement and see the list of undersigned national and international academies at http://www.interacademies.org/6159/IAPs-Statement-on-the-Teaching-of-Evolution