About 360 in 180:
What it was:
360 in 180 was a DIY solo mission trip I took to backpack 360° around the world in 180 days (September 2018 – March 2019) documenting Christian students’ experiences at secular universities across cultures.
Why I went:
It’s no secret that at least two thirds of Christian-raised kids leave the church by young adulthood, an exodus which research has linked to the reality that most youth grow up absorbing counter-biblical messages in secular education without learning how to defend their faith.1 So, I wanted to find out how to help Christian youth keep their biblical worldview during secular university, first by becoming one of those students myself. But my university experiences could only tell one student’s story in a world where countless kids across cultures are being taught to deny their Creator. So, I traveled to find out how other Christian students keep their faith at secular universities worldwide.
How it happened:
At first, the thought of traveling around the whole planet seemed so ridiculous it never bothered crossing my mind. I mainly hoped to go to Europe, given that the Parlimentary Assembly of the Council of Europe had passed Resolution 1580, The Dangers of Creationism in Education,2 imploring that European students only learn to view facts through a naturalistic (atheistic) lens. I also wanted a firsthand glimpse of Eastern spirituality in an Asian country or two, given how prevalent Eastern practices are becoming in Western secular education. Still, to help narrow down exactly where to go, I printed a world map and shaded red all the nations which have pledged to teach their students that evolutionary human origins are the indisputable truth.3 The red band wrapped all the way around the planet!
Obviously, I reasoned, I can’t travel THAT far!
But the longer I thought about it, researched and prayerfully knocked on doors, the clearer the idea became. So, I bought a one-way ticket to Australia and traveled back in time from there, interviewing students, campus ministers, pastors, university chaplains and former professors in 17 countries altogether (including Canada). I traveled on savings, living on a prayer, with no team, no fundraising, and no plan except to talk to strangers for 6 months, just me and God and my massive green backpack (MGB). And did God ever lead in some cool directions!
What I learned: Excitingly, the key take-home lesson from 360 in 180 is that while the problems Christian students face often vary by culture, the solutions are largely the same. So, if parents, churches and ministry strategically focus on these solutions to help develop students’ spiritual, intellectual and interpersonal foundations, that could make a different for the future of the church across cultures! You can find a summary of these solutions, along with the interview questions I asked students, in Top Nine Tips for Christian Students Going Into Secular Universities.
PS – While my original posts from 360 in 180 are listed below, you can find more articles about the trip, including stories documenting some of God’s amazing provision along the way, on my blog for Answers in Genesis.
Posts from 360 in 180:
United Arab Emirates:
- Evolution and Life’s Origins: A Conversation on a Bus in France (en-route to Germany)
- 360 in 180 interview themes summary: Top Nine Tips for Christian Students Going Into Secular University
Notes and References:
- Ham, K., & Beemer, B. (2009). Already gone: Why your kids will quit church and what you can do to stop it. New Leaf Publishing Group.
- “The dangers of creationism in education”. Committee on Culture, Science and Education (Resolution). Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. October 4, 2007. Resolution 1580. http://assembly.coe.int/nw/xml/XRef/Xref-XML2HTML-EN.asp?fileid=17592&lang=en
- 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