Discipling for Cultural Engagement

September 22, 2022

God’s WORLD News helps young learners to live out the gospel in all areas of life as they become better equipped to engage with, pray for, and serve others with confidence and hope. These children’s publications were born in 1981, when The Presbyterian Journal—originally founded as The Southern Presbyterian Journal by L. Nelson Bell—took a new direction. Faithful parents across several Christian denominations voiced a need: They felt called to raise up their children to discern truth in world events and issues, to honor God in their lives and even in their opinions, and to learn and live to impact the world as disciples in Christ’s kingdom.

Making that calling difficult was a news media slant that was growing in America. Mainstream news was following—and at times leading—a cultural drift toward a “post-Christian” culture.

Discipleship is a lifelong journey, beginning for many believers in early childhood. God created people to operate in a world full of life and activity, and news literacy—a well-rounded awareness of world events and trends—is critical to developing and applying a growing faith as followers of Jesus. Was it possible to provide a news resource that sought to understand world events through a scriptural lens?  

So under the guidance of publisher Joel Belz, a newspaper for young people was launched under the name It’s God’s World. It challenged kids to explore global events and see God at work in His world, using His people for His kingdom purposes, opposing evil and dealing out mercy.

Forty-one years later, the challenges parents face are multiplied. In this social media and information age, the volume of voices, perspectives, and sources—reliable and otherwise—can feel like a hopelessly overwhelming firehose of content. Parents and teachers expressed to us a need for a calming, relatable voice to help sort the many options and normalize talking directly with the young people in their care about challenging content.

You asked. We listened. In addition to continuing our regular children’s publications—now in three editions covering preschool through middle school, and our daily 10-minute video news program WORLD Watch—we at God’s WORLD News are delighted to introduce our new News Coach.

Kelsey Reed brings to our news family her combined experiences as a parent, teacher, wife, writer, apologist, public speaker, seminarian, world traveler, and, most importantly, a disciple of Christ. Kelsey comes alongside parents, teachers, grandparents, mentors, and ministry workers who are called to engage with children, kids, and teens. She communicates foundational principles for opening a dialogue with young people about the spiritually and culturally challenging situations presented in the news today. Kelsey helps equip other adults with trustworthy factual content and context, sound biblical perspective and application, and ice-breaking and space-creating tips to engage young believers in God-honoring discussion of the news and God’s hand at work in it.

This spring and summer, Kelsey is immersed in traveling to conferences to meet many of our readers in person and present valuable training workshops geared to help turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the hearts of the children to their parents. In her workshop, participants learn how to create space, time, and the right environment in their homes and classrooms for deep, meaningful, and secure discussion. Ongoing weekly newsletter contributions from our News Coach break down best practices for engagement and intersperse that wisdom with alternately gentle and robust encouragement for adults seeking to disciple the children they love.

In her study at Covenant Theological Seminary, Kelsey developed an “affirm and challenge” methodology which she eagerly shares. This method asks, “Where do we see the Father’s hand, elements of truth, a reflection of His Story in the story being told (or ‘what can we affirm’)? Where does the story we are observing depart from or oppose the redemptive narrative (‘what can we challenge’), and how can we shape culture for God’s glory, speaking into it with truth in love?”

Kelsey says, “This foundation empowers the believer to engage the world with confidence: It is our Father’s world.”

You can follow compilations of Kelsey’s writings on her News Coach blog at https://gwnews.com/teachers-lounge/. Let us come alongside you who are leading your little ones to godly growth and development as they discover, explore, and discern God’s WORLD.

                        —Rebecca Cochrane, Managing Editor, God’s WORLD News

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