Sonlight students are different. We are not content to merely join a "safe" sub-culture and sit on the proverbial bench. We want more. One Sonlight mom put it this way:
The Sonlight graduates that I know all have the same desire to be in the world but not of the world, as in IN THE WORLD. My daughter wants to be a musician who impacts the world for Christ, but not a "Christian Musician". I know another young lady who is a newly published author who wants to be a "writer who writes fiction that can have an impact on the world for Christ" but not a "Christian Writer". They are young people who don't want to be part of a sub-culture, they want to change the culture.
What motivates that? What builds this kind of focus in us and our children? How do we inspire our kids to want to change the world?
1. Emphasize sharing Christ with the world. Sonlight's curriculum has a strong international, missions focus. We encounter, through literature and stories, people all over the world who need Christ or who have been transformed by Him. After experiencing this reality again and again, it's no wonder we want to reach others with the good news of His grace and redemption!
2. Give godly heroes. Church history--not to mention Scripture--is packed with ordinary men and women who did amazing things while following God. We take time to learn from this great cloud of witnesses. Building off the desire to introduce people to Jesus, we discover that God can use us to do just that.
3. Don't shrink back from the need. As we mature, we discover just how desperately wicked the heart of man can be. But God's redemptive power is even greater than this! We wrestle with difficult questions, encounter difficult situations, and are introduced to difficult ideas. We don't isolate ourselves in solely "Christian" contexts. Instead, as we study Scripture and history, we learn of the great need and the even greater opportunity in following God's call.
4. Follow Christ's example. Just as Jesus is the embodiment of "God with us"--where He came in human likeness even while we were still sinners--so we should meet people where they are. Hudson Taylor, as one example, did this with tremendous impact. Now we can find ways to transform our culture from within as well.
Read more about the ideas behind these four ways to inspire kids.
Sonlight encourages us to look outside our bubble. As we mature and are trained by our parents, we feel no compulsion to stay isolated in a Christian community. Indeed, how could we? The world needs Jesus, and we are His body.
What does this look like? Let me share a bit of my story with you:
I discovered I had a love for film as a kid. I dreamed of transforming movies like Star Wars from focusing on the Force to speaking of the Lord. I didn't have any knowledge of copyright laws at the time. Nor did I understand the cheesiness of cheap knockoffs. I just knew I wanted to be a "Christian film guy." But as I slowly discovered the artistic wasteland of the "Christian film" sub-culture, I realized I wanted nothing to do with that. It is bland, weak, and misses reality in its pursuit of spiritual messaging. I also wasn't interested in Hollywood, with its culture of lies and abuse and inefficiencies. Instead, I want to make films that point people to Christ.
Have I arrived yet? No.
But I have discovered an intense love for adapting Scripture for a modern audience (be they pre- or post-Christian, agnostic, or ignorant). So I've made one short film telling a well-known Bible story in a way that, I believe, makes the ideas accessible to someone who does not--at this time--accept Scripture. I've got another I hope to shoot this summer.
I love how Sonlight helps inspire us to change the world.
Have your kids shown a desire to shape culture? What ways are they seeking to share Christ?
Filmmaker, Writer, Empty Nester